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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[70/72]  CIVIL ENGINEERING [72/00 - Ord. 2013]  PERCORSO COMUNE 8 80
[70/77]  CHEMICAL ENGINEERING [77/00 - Ord. 2020]  PERCORSO COMUNE 8 80


This course of Physics 1 is a basic introduction to:
i) Elementary concepts of classical mechanics and thermodynamics;
ii) Conceptual schemes and tools to analyze physical phenomena (“problem solving”)
The course aims to provide the student with the physical knowledge and skills required to pursue the educational objectives for graduate studies in Engineering. More specifically, the expected learning outcomes are:
1) (Knowledge and understanding). Knowledge of the basic foundations of kinematics, dynamics, mechanical waves and thermodynamics and understanding of the related physical phenomena, with particular emphasis to those typical of Engineering.
2) (Applying knowledge and understanding). Capability of applying the acquired knowledge for solving elementary problems of kinematics and dynamics of the material point in one and two dimensions; kinematics and dynamics of the rigid body; equilibrium of the rigid body; mechanical waves (wave in a string and sound waves); thermodynamics (heat transmission, thermal and refrigerating machines, transformation of an ideal gas).
3) (Making judgments). Capability of selecting relevant information of a problem and of introducing suitable simplifications.
4) (Communication skills). Capability of describing physical phenomena of mechanics and thermodynamics through the use of a correct scientific terminology. Communication skills should allow the student to discuss with both expert and not experts in the field.
5) (Learning skills). Physical/mathematical conceptual skills necessary to deal with more advanced courses of Applied Physics and Engineering with a good degree of autonomy.


Prerequisite skills and knowledge are those foreseen for the access test to the first year. More advanced mathematical tools will be provided by the course of mathematical analysis during the first semester.


1 - Basic notions (3h)
Physical quantities. International system of units (SI). Length, time, mass. Dimensional analysis
2 - Kinematics (8h+3h)
Motion. Position and displacement. Average velocity and average speed. Instantaneous velocity. Acceleration. Motion with constant acceleration. Free-fall acceleration. Bidimensional motion. Projectile motion. Uniform circular motion: angular velocity, centripetal acceleration. Relative motion in two dimensions.
3 - Dynamics (15h+5h)
Newton’s first law. Force. Mass. Newton’s second law. Some particular forces. Newton’s third law. Friction. Properties of friction. The drag force and terminal speed. Dynamics of uniform circular motion. Kinetics energy. Work. Work and kinetic energy. Work done by the gravitational force. Work done by a general variable force. Work done by a spring force. Power. Conservative forces and potential energy. Conservation of mechanical energy. Potential energy curves. Energy conservation. Centre of mass. Newton’s second law for a system of particles. Linear momentum. Linear momentum of a system of particles. Conservation of linear momentum. Systems with varying mass. Collision, impulse and linear momentum. Momentum and kinetic energy in collisions. Inelastic and elastic collisions.
4 - Rotational dynamics (6h+2h)
Rotational variables and vectors. Rotation with constant angular acceleration. Kinetic energy of rotation. Rotational inertia. Newton’s second law for rotation. Work and rotational kinetic energy. Rolling. Angular momentum. Newton’s second law in angular form. Angular momentum of a system of particles. Angular momentum of a rigid body rotating about a fixed axis. Conservation of angular momentum. Requirements of equilibrium. Centre of gravity.
5 – Oscillations (6h+2h)
Oscillations. Simple harmonic motion. Energetics of harmonic motions. Simple pendulum. Physical pendulum. Damped simple harmonic motion. Forced oscillations and resonance.
6 - Waves (9h+3h)
Transverse and longitudinal waves. Wavelength and frequency. Speed of a traveling wave. Wave speed on a stretched string. Energy and power of a wave traveling along a string. Principle of superposition for waves. Standing waves. Standing waves and resonance. Sound waves. Speed of sound. Interference. Intensity and sound level. Beats. Basic notions on complex waves.Doppler effect.
7 - Thermodynamics (13h+5h)
Zeroth law of thermodynamics. Measuring temperature. Thermometric scales. Thermal expansion. Temperature and heat. Absorption of heat by solids and liquids. Heat and work. First law of thermodynamics. Some special cases of the first law of thermodynamics. Heat transfer mechanisms. Ideal gases. Pressure, temperature, and RMS speed. Molar specific heats of an ideal gas. Degrees of freedom and molar specific heats. Adiabatic expansion of an ideal gas. Carnot’s cycle. Irreversible and reversible processes. Entropy and second law of thermodynamics. Engines and refrigerators

Teaching Methods

The course structure is based on lectures and exercises.
-Interactive lectures: "peer instruction". For each topic of the course, quizzes will be available in the digital moodle platform via any multimedia device. Moodle allows the students to get an on-line feedback on the correctness of the proposed solutions. In addition, the professor of the course has the possibility to achieve a prompt evaluation of the understanding level of all students.
- Additional help to students can be provided during the office hours, namely two hours a weak during the lecture semester and by appointment otherwise.
- Every weak, student must solve specific exercises concerning the topics addressed during the class lectures. Exercises can be solved at home by using the digital moodle platform. Further information can be exchanged also via the web site of the course (http://people.unica.it/giovannibongiovanni/) or via email.
The course is organized as follows:
Lectures: 60 hours
Recitations: 20 hours

Verification of learning

In compliance with the restrictions imposed by the health emergency, the examination of Physics 1 is structured in the manner described below. All tests will be held on web-platforms such as E-Learning, MS Teams, Adobe connect.

Ongoing tests
- Quizzes. These tests contribute with a maximum score of 5/30 and are aimed at assessing the qualitative understanding of physical phenomena studied in the course
- 2 partial tests, one in the middle of the course and one at the end. These two exams contribute with a maximum score of 10/30 each for a total of 20/30 and are aimed at evaluating the student's ability to solve problems in a quantitative way.
- Oral test (on request). This test contributes a maximum score of 10/30 and is functional to assess the student's ability to describe the physical phenomena studied during the course using a correct scientific terminology and the ability to set and solve more complex problems

Tests scheduled in the 4 exam sessions of June, July and September
- Quiz. This cross-check test contributes a maximum score of 5/30 and is functional to assess the qualitative understanding of the physical phenomena studied in the course
- 2 partials. These two tests contribute with a maximum score of 10/30 each for a total of 20/30 and are functional to evaluate the student's ability to solve problems in a quantitative way.
- Oral (on request). This test contributes with a maximum score of 10/30 and is functional to assess the student's ability to describe the physical phenomena studied during the course using a correct scientific terminology and the ability to set and solve more complex problems

At each exam session, the student may reserve the subtests they wish to take. Each of the two partials must be passed with at least a score of 4/10. The quizzes with 2/5.

Honors will be awarded to those who have accumulated a score of 31/30 or higher.


Main text:
1. Halliday, Resnick, Walker: Fondamenti di Fisica (Vol. Meccanica-Termologia oppure Volume unico), Ambrosiana.
Further auxiliary texts:
2. P.Mazzoldi, M.Nigro, C.Voci: Elementi di Fisica, ( Vol. Meccanica-Termodinamica e Vol. Onde), Edises.
3. J. Serway, Fisica Volume 1, Edises.
4. H.D. Young, R.A. Freedom, A. L. Ford: Principi di Fisica (vol. 1 Meccanica, Onde e Termodinamica) Pearson Italia

More Information

Illustrative experiments of kinematics, dynamics, oscillations, waves, thermodynamics; exam texts (http://people.unica.it/giovannibongiovanni/).

Useful information on Specific Impediments to Learning are available at http://corsi.unica.it/fisica/info-dsa/

Questionnaire and social

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