The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


Classical Physics 1 deals with the application of physics to the motion of large scale systems and, as such is fundamental to the engineering and technology of structures, machines and devices.

At its core Classical Physics 1 studies the motion of particles, fluids and energy using the concepts of Newtonian Mechanics. This course provides an intermediate level calculus-based treatment of Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics.

Blended problem-based conceptual learning (lectorials) will be used to gain an understanding of key developments, ideas and theories covered in Classical Physics 1. Blended problem-based hands-on learning (laboratory workshops) will be used to gain an understanding of key experiments, models and analysis covered in Classical Physics 1.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): PHYS2250. Students who have successfully completed PHYS2250 are not eligible to enrol in PHYS2111.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe how the basic concepts of classical mechanics, fluid mechanics and thermal physics are used to develop models of motion and energy transfer.

2. Solve qualitative and quantitative problems, using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques.

3. Perform experiments which involve making correct and appropriate use of a range of scientific equipment, keeping an accurate record of experimental work and analysing results and reaching non-trivial conclusions from them.

4. Communicate the results of both theoretical and experimental work in various forms including written reports, oral presentations and poster presentations.

5. Contribute to team and group work for scientific investigations and for the process of learning.


The topics to be covered include:

  • Classical Mechanics: motion in a uniform force field; motion in a central force field, gravitation and Kepler's laws; rigid body motion and moments of  inertia; rotating coordinates and non-inertial reference frames; Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation.
  • Fluid mechanics: incompressible, non-viscous moving fluids; the continuity equation; Bernoulli's and Poiseuille's Laws; compressible, viscous moving fluids with sources and sinks using vector calculus; Navier-Stokes equation.
  • Thermal Physics: definition of thermodynamics; Zeroth Law; state variables; reversibility and adiabatic processes; First, Second and Third Law of thermodynamics; enthalpy, entropy and Maxwell; Helmholtz and Gibbs equations; heat engines.


Students must have successfully completed PHYS1210 and PHYS1220, and at least one of MATH1120, MATH1210 or MATH1220 to enrol in this course. Students cannot enrol in this course if they have previously successfully completed PHYS2250

Assessment items

Quiz: Quiz

In Term Test: In Term Test

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial/ Laboratory Exercises

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks starting in week 1


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term starting in week 1

Lectorials will use a combination of online and face-to-face content.