Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Applications of classical mechanics to the motion of large-scale systems are fundamental to the engineering and technology of structures, machines, and devices, from rocket launching to satellite orbiting. This course will also help to understand the flow of liquids and gases, from weather systems to swimming plankton; and why a cup of tea left on a counter always cools down and never heats up.

At its core Classical Physics 1 studies the motion of particles, fluids and energy using the concepts of Newtonian mechanics. This course requires an intermediate level of calculus to analyse systems in 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. Students will complete written reports, oral presentations, and a poster presentation related to the laboratories.

Availability2021 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2021

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 calculus and Matlab.

3. Perform experiments, in laboratory and in computer models, 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.


  • 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, First, Second and Third Law of thermodynamics
    • Entropy and irreversibility, temperature
    • Ideal gases, two-state systems
    • 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: Quizzes

In Term Test: In Term Tests

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.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.