Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: Maria Grazia GRIMALDI

Expected Learning Outcomes

The training objective of the course is to provide an organic knowledge of classical mechanics and thermodynamics.

The training path to acquire this result is as follows:

● Study of the fundamental laws of classical mechanics of the material point and systems of points with particular regard to kinematics, Newton's laws and conservation principles.

● Study of the dynamics of the rigid body

● Study of universal gravitation

● Study of oscillatory and wave phenomena

● Study of fluid mechanics

● Study of elements of thermology

● Study of the laws of thermodynamics and applications to different physical systems.

The approach to the description of the systems and phenomena described above will be experimental like and the physical theories will be presented in terms of logical and mathematical structure and of experimental evidence. At the end of the course, the student will have acquired inductive and deductive reasoning skills, will be able to outline a phenomenon in terms of physical quantities and to set up a problem and solve it with analytical methods. The student will apply the scientific method to the study of natural phenomena and will be able to critically evaluate similarities and differences between physical systems and the methodologies to be applied. The student will be able to expose a topic of classical mechanics and / or thermodynamics with language properties, focusing on the inductive / deductive process which, from the starting hypotheses, allows one to reach conclusions.

Knowledge and understanding

Critical understanding of physics laws both in theoretical and laboratory aspects and their interconnections, also in interdisciplinary fields. Remarkable expertise with the scientific method, understanding of the nature and procedures of research in the field, mastery of the experimental and theoretical  aspect.

Applying knowledge and understanding
Ability to identify the essential elements in a phenomenon, in terms of orders of magnitude and approximation level, and being able to perform the required approximations

Ability to use analogy as a tool to apply known solutions to new problems (problem solving). Ability to develop experimental and theoretical procedures to solve new problems.

Making judgements

Ability to convey own interpretations of physical phenomena, when discussing within a research team.

Communication skills
Ability to discuss about physical concepts, both in Italian and in English..
Ability to present and discuss the procedure to solve problems.

Learning skills

Ability to acquire adequate tools for the continuous update of one's knowledge. Ability to use texts and bibliographic resources to improve one's knowledge.

Course Structure

frontal teaching with student involvement.

During the course, in addition to theory lessons and those dedicated to carrying out exercises, one or two hours of tutoring per week are provided, in which topics are debated or exercises reported by the students are discussed.

Required Prerequisites

It is fundamental for the student to have mastery of the subjects of elementary mathematics (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, analytical geometry) and knowledge of those of mathematical analysis (differential and integral calculus). In fact, for the presentation of the physical concepts included in the

course content, the following mathematical tools are used: equations and systems of 1st and 2nd degree equations, trigonometric functions and their properties, exponential functions and their properties, logarithmic functions and their properties, equations of loci in the plane and in space, derivatives and integrals of functions of one variable, constant coefficient linear differential equations. For the self-paced learning, and/or consolidation, of the required preliminary knowledge, the mathematics and basic calculus courses available on e-learning platforms such as, for example, Federica Web Learning and Coursera for Campus, to which students of the University have access, may be useful.

Attendance of Lessons

Mandatory, as stated in the Didactic Regulation

Detailed Course Content

Mechanics of material point: kinematics: motion in one, two, three dimensions; reference systems and relative motions; laws of dynamics; strength, work, kinetic energy; momentum; conservative forces, potential energy; conservation theorems; angular momentum; moment of a force/torque; central forces

Mechanics of systems of material points: center of mass, reduced mass; momentum conservation; angular momentum conservation; Konig theorems; kinetic energy theorem; elastic and inelastic collisions.

Dynamics of the rigid body: definition of a rigid body; rotations around a fixed axis; moment of inertia; Huygens-Steiner theorem; pure rolling motion; angular impulse and moment of impulse; ellipsoid of inertia; gyroscope; free rigid body; static.

Gravitation: Kepler's laws; law of universal gravitation; inertial and gravitational mass; gravitational field; gravitational potential energy; Gauss theorem; calculation of orbits.

Elastic properties of solids: traction and compression; scrolling; compressibility; torsion balance.

Oscillations and waves: harmonic oscillator; Damped harmonic oscillator; forced harmonic oscillator; resonance; longitudinal and transverse waves; Fourier analysis; physical nature of sound.

Mechanical properties of fluids: fluids statics: law of Stevino, Pascal, and Archimedes; fluids dynamics; steady regime and Bernoulli's theorem; viscosity; laminar and vortex motion.

Thermodynamics: temperature and thermometry; equation of state for gases; kinetic theory of gases; work and heat; first law of thermodynamics; second law of thermodynamics; entropy; thermodynamic transformations; thermodynamic potentials; phase changes; real gases; third law of thermodynamics.

Textbook Information

1) R. Mazzoldi, M. Nigro, C. Voci, Fisica – Vol. I , EdiSES - Napoli (Italia)

2) Focardi S., Massa I., Uguzzoni A., Villa M. - Fisica generale - MECCANICA E TERMODINAMICA, Casa editrice Ambrosiana 

3) Halliday, Resnick, Krane, Fisica 1, Casa editrice Ambrosiana 

4) Zemansky, Calore e Termodinamica, Zanichelli

5) Fermi, Termodinamica, Bollati Boringhieri

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Mechanics of material point: 14 hours
2Mechanics of systems of material points: 10 hours
3Dynamics of the rigid body: 10 hours
4Gravitation: 10 hours
5Elastic properties of solids: 4 hours
6Oscillations and waves: 14 hours
7Mechanical properties of fluids: 8 hours
8Thermodynamics: 21 hours

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

The exam consists of a written test and an oral interview. The written test consists of 3 (or 4) problems to be solved in a maximum time of 2 hours. To know the type of problems proposed, consult the website

The evaluation of the written test will take into account the problem solving approach, the correctness of the numerical calculations and significant values, the arguments supporting the procedure followed. The minimum mark for admission to the oral exam is 18/30.
The evaluation of the oral interview will take into account the student's ability to use orders of magnitude in the analysis of a phenomenon, the ability to critically evaluate similarities and differences between physical systems, the level of depth of the contents exposed and its properties of language and of exposure. 

The written test has limited validity, it is necessary to complete the exam by passing the oral exam in the same calendar year as the written test. If the student does not complete the exam within the calendar year, he must repeat the written test. 

In addition for attending students: 

the exam can be divided into two partial tests: one relating to mechanics
and gravitation (first partial test) and the second relating to thermodynamics, and fluid mechanics (second partial test). Passing both partial tests will determine the achievement of the exam. These partial tests are to be considered additional opportunities with respect to the exams and do not preclude participation in the ordinary exam sessions.
Both partial tests consist of a written test and an oral interview. The
written test consists of 3 problems to be solved in a maximum time of 2 hours ( The minimum mark for admission to the respective oral interviews is 15/30. 

The first test takes place at the end of the first teaching period, in the February exam session. Students who pass the written test will have access to the oral interview which will determine admission to the second partial test. 

The second partial test can be held in each of the ordinary sessions of the second and third session, according to the official calendar. The student who has passed the second written test will have access to the oral interview which will determine the final result of the exam.
The student who passes the second written test is allowed to take the
second oral interview even in a subsequent session, as long as it is within the calendar year of the written test. 

The two partial written tests can be replaced by ongoing tests to be scheduled in agreement between the teacher and students. 

Information fo students with disabilities and/or SLD 

In order to guarantee equal opportunities and in compliance with the laws in force, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and/or dispensatory measures, according to the educational objectives and specific needs. It is also possible to contact the CInAP (Centro l'Integrazione Attiva e Partecipata - Servizi per le Disabilità e/o DSA) contact-person of the Department, Prof. Catia Petta. 

Dates of the exams 

Check the following web pages 

and news on the course page on the Studium portal (
Exam booking through the Smart_Edu platform is mandatory. 


Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

The exam questions will relate to all the topics indicated in the program.