cod. 1002191

Academic year 2017/18
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Fisica sperimentale (FIS/01)
Fisica e chimica
Type of training activity
63 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding:
At the end of the course students will have acquired an organic knowledge of the fundamental laws of classical mechanics (elementary dynamics and rigid bodies, short account of fluids), mechanical waves and the main principles of thermodynamics.

Applying knowledge and understanding:
The student will be able to understand and discuss the fundamental aspects of the covered topics and must acquire the ability to set up and solve simple problems on their own.

Making judgments:
The student will have the tools to critically evaluate the results obtained in carrying out the problems, showing ability to check for errors (eg. across the dimensional calculation, the reasonableness of the result, analytical testing).

Communication skills:
The student must possess the ability to expose the concepts acquired in a clear and comprehensive.


The knowledge of the elementary mathematics and of the differential and integral calculation is recommended, therefore the courses of "Mathematical Analysis 1" and "Geometry" should be previously attended.

Course unit content

The course is composed by theoretical lessons, divided in two parts (MODULUS A and MODULUS B), and by tutorials on all topics of the course.
The topics covered are the following:


Physical quantities:
Dimensions and dimensional analysis; units and systems of units; fundamental and derived physical quantities.

Scalar quantities and vector quantities; vector operations.

Elementary kinematics:
Coordinate systems; relative position, velocity and acceleration; mono- and bi-dimensional motions with constant or non constant acceleration; radial and tangential accelerations; motion of projectiles, circular motions, etc.; reference frames.

Elementary dynamics:
Newton’s laws of motion; contact forces and field forces; the free body diagram; dynamics of the linear and the circular motion; inertial and accelerated reference frames; fictitious forces.

Work and energy:
Kinetic energy; work performed by a force; conservative forces and potential energy; conservation of mechanical energy; the mechanical power.

Definition of momentum and impulse; conservation of linear momentum.

Discrete and continue mass distribution:
The centre of mass. Velocity and acceleration of the centre of mass.

Rigid bodies:
Kinematics of rotational motion (angular coordinates, angular velocity and angular acceleration); relations between linear and angular kinematic quantities.

Rigid body dynamics:
Torque; centre of gravity; angular momentum; moment of inertia; the parallel axis theorem; kinetic energy and work for the rotational motion; equations of motion; Koenig theorems; conservation of the angular momentum; the pure rolling motion.

Gravitational law:
Gravitational force and Keplero laws.

Impulsive forces and collisions between two bodies (monodimensional central collisions, collisions with free or bound rigid bodies).

Conditions for the static equilibrium of a rigid body.

Harmonic oscillators:
Kinematics, dynamics and energetic aspects in the motion of the harmonic oscillator and examples.


Mechanical waves:
Wave motion, superposition and interference, linear wave equation, waves on strings, sound waves, standing waves.

Solids and fluids:
Deformation of solids; fundamental quantities and laws of fluids: Stevino’s and Archimedes’ laws, continuity equation and Bernoulli’s law.

Introduction to thermodynamics:
Thermodynamic variables and basic concepts.

Zeroth principle of thermodynamics; thermodynamic equilibrium; temperature, thermometers and temperature scales (Kelvin and Celsius); the constant volume gas thermometer; the thermal expansion.

Ideal gases:
State equation of ideal gases; kinetic theory of gases; equipartition law; thermodynamic transformations for the ideal gas; reversible and irreversible transformations; p-V diagram; Van der Vaals equation for the real gas.

Heat exchange: thermal capacity and specific heat; latent heat; heat transfer mechanisms.<br />

Thermodynamic work:
Heat and work in the thermodynamic transformations for the ideal gas.

First principle of thermodynamics:
Internal energy in the thermodynamic transformations; Meyer’s relationship between specific heats.

Second principle of thermodynamics:
Heat engines and efficiency; the Carnot’s engine; the absolute scale of temperatures; entropy; short accounts of entropy, disorder and probability.

Full programme



Basical texts:

W.E. Gettys, “Fisica 1: Meccanica - Termodinamica”, vol. 1 (Ed. McGraw-Hill).
D. Halliday, R. Resnick, K.S. Krane, “Fisica”, vol. 1 (Ed. Ambrosiana).
P.A. Tipler, G. Mosca, "Corso di fisica", vol. 1-Meccanica Onde termodinamica (Ed. Zanichelli).

Advanced texts:

S. Focardi, I. Massa, A. Uguzzoni, “Fisica Generale, Meccanica e Termodinamica” (Ed. Ambrosiana).
P. Mazzoldi, M. Nigro, C. Voci, “Fisica” vol. 1, or “Elementi di Fisica” in several volumes, (Ed. ediSES).
R.G.M. Caciuffo, S. Melone, “Fisica Generale - Meccanica e termodinamica” (Ed. Masson S.p.A.).

Teaching methods

For each topic were held lectures, by making use of the blackboard and contemporary projection of summary diagrams on the screen. The summary diagrams are preliminarily made available to students via a website, specifically for the course. At the end of each topic, the theoretical lessons are followed by hours spent on exercises, during which problems are solved in an assisted mode. The texts of these exercises are made available to the students in advance through the website of the course, so as to allow students, who wish, to carry out the problems before the tutorials.
During the tutorials, for each proposed problem, students have the time to solve it on their own, with the possibility of support on demand; therefore the problem is solved on the blackboard for all, so as to provide a guide to solving the problem and even to the preparation of the written tests. The sequence of hours of lessons and exercises follows a calendar communicated to students at the beginning of the course.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam consists of a written exam (even in form of in-course written tests) and an oral examination. All the examinations require the development/discussion of some simple problems, the exposure of theoretical concepts and/or the presentation of simple demonstrations. Evaluation criteria: correctness of the problem [40%], completeness of the preparation [30%], critical sense and propriety of language [30%].

Other information

It 'strongly advised to attend the lectures of the course