2019 Fundamentals of Mechanics 2 I

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Basic science and technology courses
Tilma Todd 
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Course description and aims

Following Fundamentals of Mechanics 1, this course teaches the mechanics of systems of interacting particles and rigid bodies (defined as systems of particles in which the distances between particles is fixed) as well as particle motion observed in a coordinate system undergoing acceleration.

Mechanics is important for understanding nature, and is essential for the study of science, engineering, life sciences, and other specialized courses. Building on the mechanics of single particles, students will learn the mechanics of systems of interacting particles. From this, they will learn the motion and balance of rigid bodies. In addition, they will learn particle motion in coordinate systems undergoing accelerated motion as well as inertial forces. At the end of class, students will be able to solve general problems in mechanics.

Student learning outcomes

By completing this course, students will be able to:
1) Correctly understand the concepts of momentum, angular momentum, energy, etc. in systems of particles; the center of mass, moment of inertia, etc. in rigid bodies; and mathematically describe them.
2) Correctly understand motion and equilibrium of rigid bodies, and solve actual physical problems by applying the appropriate mathematical formulas.
3) Correctly understand the concept of inertial forces (Coliolis force and centrifugal force) and mathematically describe them.
4) Correctly understand the concept of oscillation and wave, and mathematically describe them.
5) Find mathematical solutions to problems in mechanics, expressed by the appropriate equations, and explain the physical meaning of said solutions.


relative coordinates, reduced mass, center of mass, momentum, angular momentum, energy, rigid bodies, equilibrium, moment of inertia, inertial force, Coriolis force, centrifugal force

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Two-thirds of each class is devoted to fundamentals and the rest to advanced content or application. To allow students to get a good grasp of the course contents and practice problem solving skills, problems related to the contents of this course are provided in Exercises in Physics I.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Motion of two interacting particles (relative coordinates, reduced mass) Understanding that the motion of two interacting particles is equivalent to the motion of a single particle.
Class 2 Momentum and angular momentum in a system of particles (center of mass, laws of conservation of momentum and angular momentum) Explain the laws of conservation of momentum and angular momentum for a system of particles.
Class 3 Equations of motion and equilibrium of a rigid body (torque, conditions for equilibirum) Explain the equations of motion for a rigid body and its equilibrium properties.
Class 4 Motion of a rigid body around a fixed axis (moment of inertia, angular momentum and energy of a rigid body, rigid body pendulum) Understanding the concept of moment of inertia and how it is used to define the angular momentum and kinetic energy of a rigid body.
Class 5 Calculation of moments of inertia (parallel axis theorem, perpendicular axis theorem) for varioius rigid bodies Find moments of inertia for various rigid body shapes.
Class 6 Planar motion of a rigid body (rotational motion) Explain rotational motion of a rigid body.
Class 7 Motion in an accelerated coordinate system Be able to compare and contrast the Coriolis force with the centrifugal force.


Principles of Physics: A Calculus-Based Text, 5th Edition
ISBN : 978-1133104261

Reference books, course materials, etc.

As needed, appropriate course materials and references will be made available before class via Moodle (https://tilma-labs.org/moodle) and Slack (https://las-physics.slack.com/).

Assessment criteria and methods

Learning achievement is evaluated by homework and a final exam.

Related courses

  • LAS.P105 : Exercises in Physics I

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites.

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