Curriculum Guideline

Mechanics and Heat

Effective Date:
Course Code
PHYS 1110
Mechanics and Heat
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hours lecture / 3 hours laboratory per week
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Classroom time will be divided between the presentation and discussion of concepts on the one hand and the application of these concepts in problem solving on the other. The laboratory program will involve weekly, three hour sessions during which students will perform a set number of experiments. Some group work will be required.

Course Description
This is a calculus-based course in mechanics and heat intended for students pursuing a career in Engineering or Physics. Topics include vectors; particle kinematics and dynamics; momentum; work and energy; motion of systems; rotational motion; statics; oscillatory motion; wave motion; sound; temperature, thermal properties of matter, and elements of thermodynamics.
Course Content


  1. Kinematics of a particle - one dimension:
  • Velocity and acceleration
  • Rectilinear motion with constant acceleration
  • Vectors:
    • Vector versus scalar
    • Vector addition
    • Unit vector notation
    • Multiplication of vectors
  • Kinematics of a particle - two dimensions:
    • Projectile motion
    • Uniform circular motion
    • Relative velocity
  • Dynamics of a particle:
    • Newton’s laws of motion
    • Friction
    • Centripetal force
  • Work and energy:
    • Work done by constant and variable forces
    • Kinetic energy
    • Gravitational potential energy
    • Elastic potential energy
    • Conservative and non-conservative forces
    • Power
    • Work-energy theorem
    • Conservation of energy
    • Relative mass and energy
  • System of Particles:
    • Centre of mass determination
    • Centre of mass motion
    • Conservation of linear momentum
    • Impulse
    • Collisions
  • Rotational motion:
    • Kinematics of pure rotation
    • Torque and moment of inertia
    • Dynamics of pure rotation
    • Angular momentum
  • Statics:
    • Conditions for equilibrium
    • Equilibrium of a rigid body
  • Oscillatory Motion:
    • Simple harmonic motion
    • Pendulum motion
  • Gravitation:
    • Law of gravitation
  • Wave motion:
    • Mechanical waves
    • Wave speed
    • Harmonic waves
    • Superposition principle
    • Interference of waves
    • Standing waves
    • Resonance in air columns
    • Doppler effect


    1. Thermometry
    2. Thermal expansion of solids and liquids
    3. Specific heat
    4. Heat of transformation
    5. Calorimetry
    6. First Law of Thermodynamics


    Laboratory Experiments:

    • Simple Pendulum
    • Graphing Straight Line Motion
    • One-dimensional Motion
    • Projectile Motion
    • Friction Coefficients
    • Orbital Motion and Centripetal Force
    • Conservation of Energy
    • Collisions
    • Rotational Dynamics and Moment of Inertia 
    • Hooke's Law and Simple Harmonic Motion
    • Standing waves on a String
    • Thermal Linear Expansion
    • Calorimetry
    Learning Outcomes

    The student will be able to:

    1. Identify the following quantities and their appropriate units and dimensions; displacement; velocity; acceleration; force; mass; work; kinetic energy; potential energy; power; linear momentum; impulse; angular displacement, velocity and acceleration; moment of inertia; rotational kinetic energy; angular momentum; torque; amplitude, period and frequency of motion; wavelength; wave intensity; intensity level; temperature; pressure; heat.

    2. Demonstrate an understanding of the following concepts, procedures and principles of mechanics and heat through the solution of problems: vector algebra via components and unit vector notation; average velocity and instantaneous velocity; average acceleration and instantaneous acceleration; uniformly accelerated motion; free-fall motion; Newton’s laws of motion; friction and coefficient of friction; conditions for equilibrium; work-energy theorem; conservation of mechanical energy; conservation of energy; centre of mass motion; conservation of linear momentum; centripetal acceleration and force; universal law of gravitation; rotational motion; rolling motion; conservation of angular momentum; statics; Hooke’s law; simple harmonic motion; wave parameters; superposition principle; standing waves, resonance; intensity level versus intensity of sound; Doppler effect; thermal expansion of solids and liquids; calorimetry; First Law of Thermodynamics.

    3. Perform laboratory experiments and analyze the data obtained using appropriate graphing techniques, scientific notation, significant figures and experimental uncertainty consideration.

    4. Write a laboratory report in a conventional format required of submissions to scientific journals.

    Means of Assessment

    The final grade in the course will be determined based on the following:

    • final Exam - minimum of 30% / maximum of 40%;
    • at least one midterm test - minimum of 20% / maximum of 30%;
    • laboratory experiments - 20%;
    • quizzes and/or assighments (possibly online) - minimum of10% maximum of 20%.
    Textbook Materials

    Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students

    Halliday, D., R. Resnick, & Walker, G. Fundamentals of Physics, Wiley.

    Douglas College, Physics 1110 Laboratory Experiments.


    BC Physics 12 (C or higher) or PHYS1107 or PHYS1108 and BC Pre-Calculus 12 (B or higher) or MATH1110.

    Which Prerequisite