University of Technology Sydney

68037 Physical Modelling

6cp; 2hpw (laboratory), 2hpw (lectures, live online or recorded)
Anti-requisite(s): 68101 Foundations of Physics
Recommended studies:

It is recommended that students enrolled in this subject have either completed 35010 Foundation Mathematics or are enrolled in or have completed 33130 Mathematics 1.


This is a foundational calculus-based physics subject. It covers the fundamentals of mechanics (kinetics and dynamics), thermodynamics, electricity, fluid dynamics, waves and geometric optics. Students are introduced to the basic techniques of measurement, uncertainty analysis and technical communication.

This subject aims to develop the student's understanding of physical principles governing natural processes, and the practice of applying these principles to create predictive models of simple engineered systems. Students also appreciate the limits of validity of these models by testing and analysing the models they have created. This subject also emphasises the quantitative problem solving that is possible with correct physical models through the use of calculus and algebra. Thus, students develop a framework for understanding and modelling natural phenomena that is carried over into design and analysis in engineering.

Students see that physics both enables and restrains engineering. Designs that are inconsistent with the laws of physics cannot be realised while much engineering innovation demands new physical insight or innovative uses of existing physical and mathematical models.

The subject also seeks to give students insights into the processes and pleasures of physics itself as a professional discipline. This includes basic experiences with the analytical, problem solving, observational and technical as well as measurement skills needed to model natural processes. The technical communication and other generic skills developed in this subject are further developed in later subjects. Graduates and later stage students, whether using physics themselves, working with physicists in a research or design team, or using new products based on advanced physics concepts, need to function in a world of innovation in which physical understanding and new physics plays a key role. This subject initiates the insights and attitudes relevant to this goal.

Typical availability

Autumn session, City campus
Spring session, City campus

Detailed subject description.

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