A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The aim of the course is to provide the necessary basis for the understanding of the main physical phenomena of general interest, with particular focus on subjects linked to other Degree courses.
Expected learning outcomes
The student acquires basic knowledge necessary for the understanding and interpretation of main physical phenomena, in particular in the field mechanics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and light-matter interaction.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The course program, shown here, is available on the teacher's Ariel website, updated after each lesson.

- Presentation of the teacher and the course (course program, bibliography, examination methods, written, oral and homework ...). Objectives of Physics. The language of physics and the scientific method. Fundamental and derived quantities, units of measurement. The International System of Units. How the result of a measurement or the value of a quantity is presented (value- (error-) u.d.m and scientific notation. Calculation and dimensional control. Examples.
- Reference systems and Cartesian axes. Review of angles and vectors. Vector position and vector displacement.
- Examples and exercises on vectors. Kinematics. Hourly law and trajectory. Average speed and instantaneous vector speed.
- Kinematics. Average speed and hourly law of uniform rectilinear motion. The inverse problem in the case of uniform rectilinear motion. The generalized inverse problem: geometric and physical meaning of the integral and the derivative.
- The average and instantaneous acceleration. The motion uniformly accelerated. Hourly law of motion u.a. Exercises on uniform and uniform motions accelerated, motions compositions.
- The fall of the bodies and the ballistic motion. Ballistic motion as a composition of moti r.u. and r.u.a. Characteristic quantities of ballistic motion: range, flight time, maximum altitude. Examples and exercises. Ballistic motion exercises. Parabolic trajectory.
- Ballistic motion: examples and exercises. The uniform circular motion. Tangential velocity, angular velocity, vector velocity and centripetal acceleration.
- The uniform circular motion in Cartesian coordinates. Harmonic motion, periodicity of the m.a. and other characteristic quantities. The m.c.u. as a composition of harmonic motions. Examples and kinematics exercises. Examples and kinematics exercises. Dynamic. Newton's principle, mass and inertia. Operational definition of mass. Forces: operational definition of force: Newton's equation F = ma.
- Examples of forces: gravitational force, weight force and acceleration of gravity. Examples and exercises. Examples and exercises on gravitational force. The principle of action and reaction. Constraint reactions and connecting elements. Examples of constraint reactions.
- Again on constraint reactions: cases of interest (ideal ropes and connections: transferring forces with ropes, balance of suspended bodies, various circular motion of the pendulum) and connection with the kinematics. Methodology for solving dynamics problems (force diagram, vector eq. -> scalar eq ...). Examples and exercises on the inclined plane.
- Inclined and non-inclined plane, balance of forces, chains of accelerated masses, amplification of foze, pulleys. The force of the spring (Hook's law).
- Spring force and Newton's equation in differential form. Harmonic motion. Examples and dynamics exercises: vertical and inclined dynamometer, mass measurement and spring calibration. Outline of the experimental data fit procedure (linear regression) and errors in experimental measurements. Frictional forces. Friction as a constraining reaction. Microscopic origin of friction. Static friction laws.
- Static and dynamic friction. Examples and exercises. Inclined plane rough. Uniform circular motion and friction.
- Exercises on friction. Work: definition, properties, examples. Additivity and line integral. Mechanical power.
- Power and relationship with strength and speed. The kinetic energy theorem. Work-energy relationship. Energy as an ability to do work. Examples and exercises. The work of the remarkable forces: the weight force.
- The work of considerable forces: the force of the spring and the friction force. Work and trajectory addiction. Conservative forces: potential energy and conservation of mechanical energy. Conservation of generalized energy in the presence of non-conservative and various forces.
- Examples and exercises on work and energy. The energy way. General methodology.
- Exercises in dynamics. Conservation of energy with and without dissipative forces.
- Introduction to Fluid Physics. The phases of matter and the approximation of the continuum. Sizes per unit of area and volume. Introduction to fluid statics: pressure and its characteristics. Stevin's law. Principle of communicating vessels. Introduction to interfacial phenomena (adhesion-cohesion competition, surface tension, capillarity, wettability, rise (descent) of liquids in capillary tubes and apparent violation of the principle of communicating vessels).
- Archimedes' principle: the buoyancy thrust. Examples and exercises of fluid statics (Torricelli's barometer, immiscible fluids in communicating vessels, the hydraulic jack).
- Fluid dynamics. The ideal fluids and the description of the fluids in steady state. Mass flow rate and mass conservation: steady-state continuity equation for incompressible and non-incompressible fluids. Preservation of mechanical energy in stationary fluids: Bernoulli principle in the absence and presence of friction (pressure and work / energy per unit of volume). Various examples.
- Examples and applications of Bernoulli's theorem: liquid leaking from a small hole, the Venturi tube, the Pitot tube, lift in airplanes, roof uncovering, opening of doors and windows.
- Examples and exercises with Bernoulli: water aspirator. Exercises with generalized Bernoulli: mechanical power of a pump, pressure drops.
- Viscous friction. Viscosity and pressure drops. Calorimetry and temperature. Thermal phenomena. Temperature and thermometers: thermal expansion, the centigrade temperature scale and the perfect gas scale. Heat is movement: the relationship between absolute temperature and average kinetic energy of atoms in a perfect gas. Temperature changes and microscopic work (kinetic energy theorem). Calorimetry. Thermal equilibrium (principle 0 of thermodynamics) and quantity of heat. Notes on the different ways of transferring heat (conduction, convection, radiation). Heat transfer between bodies in thermal contact: the microscopic and macroscopic points of view. The fundamental equation of calorimetry and the thermal-energy balance in an isolated system. Specific heat, heat capacity.
- Heat exchanges between bodies. thermostats. The final equilibrium temperature as the weighted average of the initial temperatures. Calorimetry examples and exercises. State changes and latent heats. Calorimetry examples and exercises.
- Calorimetry exercises with latent heats. Thermodynamics. Thermodynamic systems: physical quantities (P, V, T, N), equilibrium, equation of state. Transformations in a thermodynamic system. The different transformations: quasi-static, frictions and reversibility.
- Work of pressure forces in a thermodynamic system. Introduction to perfect gases (equation of state). Work and warmth in cyclical transformations. Heat-work equivalence. Notes on the limits imposed by the II principle. First law of thermodynamics for arbitrary transformations between states of equilibrium. Conservation of energy in a system in which heat exchange takes place: internal energy and the first principle.
- Parallel to the mechanical case. Direct and inverse thermal machines: diagram of heat and work flows. Yields of direct and reverse machines. Statement of the second principle of thermodynamics: Kelvin and Clausius. Consequences of the II principle on the efficiency of thermal machines.
- Clausius inequality. Again on the yields of thermal machines: the fundamental inequality of yields (reversible and real machines). Universal properties of reversible machines and absolute thermodynamic temperature scale. Real refrigeration machines and comparison with the ideal refrigerator.
- Electrostatics. Electric charge, Coulomb force. Comparison between electrostatic force and gravitational force. Electric field and field lines. Additivity of forces and electric fields.
- Work of the electrostatic force. Electrostatic potential energy and electrostatic potential. Acceleration of charges in the electric field: the cathode ray tube and the mass spectrometer; electric discharges (lightning and dielectric strength of materials). Electric current: the electrical resistance of the material and the first Ohm's law. Microscopic mechanisms related to electronic currents in materials. The microscopic origin of the electrical resistance. Ohm's second law. The power dissipated in a conductor: Joule effect. Series and parallel resistors.
- Exercise Again on lightning, shocks, heating by means of a coil. Introduction to Magnetostatics. Phenomenology of magnetism. The atomic currents hypothesis.
- Exercise. Forces on wires crossed by currents. Application examples: the electric motor - operating principle. The dynamo: the power generator. Electromagnetic radiation. Variable fields over time. Electromagnetic waves in vacuum: spatial and temporal periodicity, the triad E, B, k. The electromagnetic spectrum, the window of the visible. Light and photons. Photon energy and frequency / wavelength. Different frequencies excite different degrees of freedom in matter: IR, Vis, UV.
- Electromagnetic waves. Electromagnetic radiation spectrum: IR, Vis, UV. Absorption of radiation in matter: absorbance and absorption coefficient. Absorption spectroscopy in UV-Visible. Chlorophyll photosynthesis.
Prerequisites for admission
Elementary algebra; trigonometry; logarithms; functions and their properties; derivative and definite integral (their geometric interpretation).
It is strongly recommended to have followed the Mathematics course.
Teaching methods
Frontal lectures in the classroom during which theoretical concepts are explained and exercises are carried out.
The teacher uses a writing system that allows you to project what you would write on the blackboard while it is being written.
Teaching Resources
Course website:
The material published on the website (trace of the lessons, detailed program, exam tests) and the course notes represent only a guide for the student, who must however study, starting from theory, on a good text of General Physics. The study of theory is fundamental for the preparation of the written test, as well as the oral one.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam includes a written test (also containing more theoretical exercises) and an oral test on the course contents. There are also two in itinere tests; passing these tests allows direct access to the oral test on the first ordinary exam session available.
Evaluation criteria: correctness, clarity and consistency of the oral presentation; methodological setting of the written test; ability to establish connections between the different topics covered in the course; ability to frame an exercise in the right theoretical context; correct use of scientific and technical terminology and units of measurement.
FIS/07 - APPLIED PHYSICS - University credits: 6
Practicals: 32 hours
Lessons: 32 hours
by appointment
Teacher's office, at the Dept. of Physics, via Celoria 16, 20133 Milano