00405 - Physics

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student is expected to know the fundamental principles of point & rigid body Mechanics, fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, in order to describe and interpret the physical phenomena involved in the main processes in agriculture and agro-forestry.

Course contents

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:

MEASUREMENT 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.

DYNAMICS: mass and force; examples of forces: gravitational force, weight force, elastic force. Centre of mass. 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.

THERMODYNAMICS: temperature and heat. The Laws of Thermodynamics. 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 degrees of difficulty will be solved in class.


  • Lecture notes
  • Mazzoldi P., Nigro M., Voci C., Elementi di Fisica - Meccanica e Termodinamica. EdiSES
  • Halliday D., Resnick R., Walker J., Fondamenti di Fisica. Meccanica, Termologia. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
  • Ageno M., Elementi di Fisica. Bollati Boringhieri
  • further references will be discussed during the classes

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 and a half.

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