The University of Southampton

GENG0019 Fundamentals of Science & Engineering

Module Overview

This module offers an introduction to science and engineering to students entering the Foundation Year with SPM or equivalent qualifications.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Develop the basic skills and ideas needed later in the Foundation Year The emphasis is on understanding the fundamental concepts found in engineering and how to express them in English. You will also solve simple quantitative problems. The concepts in this module: mechanical science, electrical science and engineering principles, will be developed in more detail in the following semester. In addition to the above, there will be practical laboratory work where you will reinforce theoretical concepts, learn how to carry out experiments and present your findings. You will gain plenty of feedback through short tests and other forms of coursework.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Newton's laws of motion and their application to simple systems in equilibrium, and to rigid bodies moving under the action of simple systems of forces
  • concept of a vector and how vectors can be used to solve simple problems in mechanics
  • concepts of work, energy and power in mechanical and electrical systems
  • components of and laws governing dc circuit theory;
  • concept of simple electric and magnetic fields;
  • propagation of energy by wave motion, including light waves and sound waves;
  • application of the principle of refraction in simple lens systems;
  • conservation of energy applied to simple examples of heat transfer;
  • ideal gas laws.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Manage your own learning;
  • Apply mathematical methods to solve problems;
  • Communicate scientific ideas and concepts.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • State and explain basic scientific laws and concepts covered in the module;
  • Apply theoretical knowledge to solve simple engineering problems;
  • Apply the concept of conservation of energy to mechanical, electrical and thermal systems.


MECHANICAL SCIENCE MOTION: Define displacement, average speed, velocity and acceleration. o Notes: o Use appropriate SI quantities and units. Define scalar vector quantities Graphical methods to represent displacement, speed, velocity and Acceleration. o Notes: o Determine velocity from the gradient of a displacement against time graph. o Determine displacement from the area under a velocity against time graph. o Determine acceleration from the gradient of a velocity against time graph. Select and use the equations of motion for constant acceleration in a straight line: v = u +at , s = ½(u + v)t , s = ut + ½at2 , v2 = u2 + 2as o Notes: o Apply the equations for constant acceleration in a straight line, including the motion of bodies falling in the Earth’s uniform gravitational field without air resistance. FORCES: Define the Newton. Solve problems using the relationship: net force = mass × acceleration (F = ma). Draw and use a triangle / polygon of forces to represent the equilibrium of forces acting at a point in an object. o Notes: o Solve problems by use of graphical and numerical methods Define and apply the moment of force. Define and apply the torque of a couple. o Notes: o Apply the principle of moments to solve problems. Define pressure and use the equation for pressure: p = F/A , where F is the force normal to the area A. o Notes: o SI unit of pressure WORK AND ENERGY: Define work done by a force. Define the joule. Calculate the work done by a force using: W = Fx and W = Fx cos? The principle of conservation of energy. Describe examples of energy in different forms, its conversion and conservation, o Notes: o Apply the principle of energy conservation to simple examples Kinetic energy Ek = ½mv2 Change in gravitational potential energy near the Earth’s surface Ep = mgh o Notes: o Analyse problems where there is an exchange between gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy. Apply the principle of conservation of energy. Define power as the rate of expending energy. Define the watt o Notes: o Calculate power when solving problems. Apply the relationship for efficiency. Efficiency = useful output energy / total input energy. MATERIALS Tensile and compressive stresses and strains, Hooke’s law, Young’s modulus, plastic deformation, elastic strain energy, yield stress, ultimate tensile stress, work done in stretching o Notes: o Simple calculations. Determine area under a force against extension (or compression) graph to find the work done by the force. ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING ELECTRIC CURRENT E.m.f. , Pd, Power and Resistance Electric current as movement of electrical charges. The Coulomb Conventional current and electron flow. (I = ?Q /?t ). The volt (V = W/Q), P.d., E.m.f. Electrical Resistance & the Ohm. Electrical Power (P =V?Q/?t) o Notes: o Definitions and simple calculations DC CIRCUITS Circuits with on EMF - Kirchhoff’s 1st & 2nd laws, conservation of charge, resistors in series and parallel, potential dividers, internal resistance of batteries. o Notes: o Simple calculations ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC FIELDS Electric fields around isolated and between electric charges. Describe how electric field lines represent an electric field. Define electric field strength. Coulomb’s law [F = Qq/(4peor2)] Electric field strength of a point charge [E = Q/(4peor2)] Uniform electric field strength between charged parallel plates (E = V/d o Notes: o Mostly descriptive with some simple calculations. o Pictorial representations of electric fields Magnetic field patterns of a long straight current-carrying conductor & a long solenoid. Fleming’s left-hand rule to determine the force on current carrying conducto (F = BIL and F = BILsin?) Magnetic flux density and the Tesla o Notes: o Mostly descriptive with some simple calculations. o Pictorial representations of magnetic fields ENGINEERING PRINCIPLES WAVES Properties of longitudinal and transverse waves. Define: displacement, amplitude, wavelength, period, phase difference, frequency and speed of a wave. Derive and use the wave equation v = f?. Electromagnetic waves, spectrum, refraction of light waves. Simple converging & diverging lens systems. o Notes: o Definitions & simple calculations. Use of ray diagrams. INTERFERENCE Principle of superposition of waves. Explain the terms interference, coherence, path difference, phase difference, constructive interference and destructive interference. Young double slit experiment o Notes: o Apply graphical methods to illustrate the principle of superposition. THERMAL ENERGY Temperature scales oC and thermodynamic scale. Thermal energy transfer requires temperature difference. Methods of thermal energy transfer o Notes: o Descriptive treatment Heat Capacity (C) & Specific heat capacity (Q = mc?T ) latent heat of fusion and latent heat of vaporisation (Q = ml) . Heat capacity. o Notes: o Apply conservation of energy. o Be able to describe experiment to determine s.h.c. Simple calculations. Solids, liquids and gases. Simple kinetic model for solids, liquids and gases. Pressure and use the kinetic model to explain the pressure exerted by gases. o Notes: o Descriptive treatment IDEAL GASES Define an ideal gas. Equation of state (pv = nRT) Boyles law, Charles law and combined gas law. o Notes: o Simple calculations and graphical representations. RESEARCH A TOPIC Students will work in small groups to produce a short presentation on any of the physics topics or themes developed in this module o Notes: Students may give presentations of practical applications of topics taught, or may develop the themes of energy transfer and conversion or conservation of energy

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Learning activities include • individual work on exercises, supported by tutorial/workshop sessions with tutors; • laboratory sessions; • group presentation. Teaching methods include • lectures, supported by exercises; • tutorials/workshops; • printed notes will be available through Blackboard and/or through your module lecturer.

Independent Study63
Total study time175

Resources & Reading list

Hackett, R. (2008). OCR AS Physics Student Book. 


Assessment Strategy

There is no pass/fail assessment in this semester. You will be expected to complete all assessment elements. You will be given extensive feedback on your performance to prepare you for the following semesters.


MethodPercentage contribution
Weekly exercises / tests and assignments 100%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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