27996 - General Physics T-1 (L-Z)

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student has a good knowledge of classical mechanics (kinematics and dynamics, including systems of particles and rigid bodies) as well as of thermodynamics. He/she is able to apply this knowledge to the solution of exercises and problems of mechanics and thermodynamics of intermediate to advanced level.

Course contents


The meaning of the measures. Physical quantities. The experimental method. The construction of theories. Units of measurement and systems of units. Measurement errors and significant figures. Dimensional analysis.


Vectors and scalars. Versors. Sum, difference and decomposition of vectors. Multiplication of vectors. Cartesian representation of vectors. Scalar and vector fields.


Space, times and reference systems. Trajectory and equation of motion.

Kinematics in one dimension: displacement, velocity and acceleration. Uniform and uniformly accelerated rectilinear motion.

Kinematics in two dimensions: generality, uniform and varied circular motion, connection with harmonic motion. Osculator circle. Motion of a bullet. Relative motions.


Operational definition of force. First law of dynamics and inertial systems. Second principle of dynamics and inertial mass. Third principle of dynamics; applications of the second and third principles of dynamics.

Contact forces: constraints and friction. Outline of viscous forces in fluids. Friction in the air. Centripetal force.

Law of universal gravitation. Measurement of G. Variations of g on earth. Kepler's laws. Gravitational field.

Apparent forces in systems with accelerated translational motion. Transformations between reference systems with generic roto-translational motion. Coriolis force.


Work of a constant force (3D) and work of a variable force (1D). Hooke's law and work of an elastic force. Work of a variable force and line integrals. Theorem of kinetic energy.

Conservative force fields. Potential energy. Mechanical energy conservation. Circulation of a conservative force field. Gravitational potential energy. Escape velocity. Potential energy curves: equilibrium and inversion points.

Gradient and rotor: applications to fields of forces and potential energy. Work of non-conservative forces and mechanical energy variations. Principle of conservation of energy.


Harmonic oscillator. Harmonic motion: energy, pendulum, small oscillations. Damped harmonic motion.


Center of mass. Motion of the center of mass. Momentum. Principle of conservation of momentum. Impulse of a force. Elastic and inelastic collisions in one dimension and hints of collisions in two or three dimensions.

Rigid body: angular variables for rotations around a fixed axis. Rotational kinetic energy and moment of inertia. Parallel axis theorem. Koenig's theorem. Rolling. Outline of rolling friction. Moment of a force around an axis and angular acceleration. Correspondence between angular and linear variables.

Angular momentum around a fixed center. Cardinal equations of mechanics. Reformulation of the third principle of dynamics. Principle of conservation of angular momentum. Conservation of angular momentum for central forces.

Correspondence between polar moments and axial moments in motion around a fixed axis. Static equilibrium conditions with examples.


-Thermodynamic systems: thermodynamic coordinates; thermal equilibrium; zero and temperature principle; the perfect gas thermometer; thermodynamic transformations; equations of state of gases.

-The first law of thermodynamics: thermodynamic work; adiabatic work and internal energy of systems; heat and the first law of thermodynamics; thermal capacity and specific heats; properties of ideal gases.

-The second law of thermodynamics: thermal machines; Kelvin-Plank statement of the second principle; refrigeration machines and Clausius's statement of the second principle; equivalence of the two statements; reversible machines, cycle and Carnot machine; the absolute thermodynamic temperature; Clausius theorem; entropy; entropy and thermal efficiency; the principle of increasing entropy; the degradation of energy; entropy and probability; entropy and disorder; the arrow of time.


Main textbook:

GIANNI VANNINI, Gettys-Fisica1, Meccanica-Termodinamica, Ed. McGraw-Hill.

Other suggested textbooks

- L. DUO', P. TARONI, Fisica - Meccanica e Termodinamica, EdiSES Università

- S. FOCARDI, I.MASSA, A. UGUZZONI, M. VILLA, Fisica Generale, Meccanica e Termodinamica , Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.

- P.MAZZOLDI, M. NIGRO e C.VOCI, Elementi di Fisica - Meccanica e Termodinamica, EdiSES Università.

- C. MENCUCCINI, V. SILVESTRINI, Fisica - Meccanica e Termodinamica, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.


Teaching methods

Lectures at the blackboard (traditional or electronic)

Assessment methods

The assessment methods are described in detail in a specific file that students can find in the course's teaching material available on virtuale.unibo.it.

Teaching tools

All teaching support material is available on the website virtuale.unibo.it

Office hours

See the website of Pierbiagio Pieri

See the website of Carlo Battilana