00405 - Physics

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Life on land

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student is expected to know the fundamental principles of rigid body mechanics, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, in order to describe and interpret the physical phenomena involved in the main agricultural processes.

Course contents

The fundamental role of conservation principles will be highlighted.

The course will deal with the following branches of Physics: Mechanics of the material point and of the rigid body, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics. Detailed program:

MEASURES AND UNITS OF MEASURE: physical quantities, symbols and units of measure; measuring instruments, systems of units of measure: SI system, c.g.s. system, fundamental and derived units.

VECTORS: vectors and scalars; vector algebra: sum, product of a scalar and a vector, scalar product, vector product.

KINEMATICS: material point kinematics, position, displacement, mean and instantaneous velocity, mean and instantaneous acceleration; uniform rectilinear motion, uniform circular motion, uniformly accelerated motion (in brief).

DYNAMICS: mass and force; examples of forces: gravitational force, elastic. Centre of mass, linear momentum. Newton’s Laws. Second cardinal equation of dynamics in brief: case of a rigid body rotating about a fixed axis; moment of inertia (in brief). Mechanical equilibrium and stability (in brief). Examples: mathematical pendulum, inclined plane. Friction. mechanical work and potential energy; kinetic energy; conservation law for mechanical energy. Examples: work done by the gravitational force and by an elastic force.

FLUID MECHANICS: Eulerian and Lagrangian description (in brief). Density and pressure. Fluid Statics laws, pressure measurement, Pascal’s law, Archimedes’ law. Examples: hydraulic ram, floating bodies. Fluid Dynamics: continuity equation, Bernoulli’s equation.

TERMODYNAMICS: temperature e and heat. Thermodynamics laws. heat capacity, specific heat, latent heat. Examples of thermodynamic processes: adiabatic, isochoric, isobaric, isothermal, cyclic processes, free expansion. Entropy and its relevance; reversible and irreversible processes; the arrow of time. Ideal gas law. Heat transfer: conduction, convection, radiation. Machines Carnot’s cycle, efficiency; refrigeration cycle and its efficiency.

EXERCISES: after each unit, exercises at different degree of difficulty will be solved in class.


  • Lecture notes.
  • Halliday D., Resnick R., Walker J., Fondamenti di Fisica. Meccanica, Termologia. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.
  • Ageno M., Elementi di Fisica. Bollati Boringhieri.

Teaching methods

The course is divided into two parts:

  • Theory classes: the main theoretical topics will be treated.
  • Exercises: exercises will be solved in class to help the student familiarise with the theoretical aspects of the subject and to develop basic calculation and problem-solving skills.

Assessment methods

Written exam, duration 1 hour. The exam is composed of exercises on: material point and rigid body mechanics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics.

Teaching tools

Laboratory tools and instruments will occasionally be brought in class.

Office hours

See the website of Mirko Maraldi

See the website of Sergio Lo Meo