PHY1024 
Properties of Matter 
201718 

Dr C.D.H. Williams 


Delivery Weeks: 
T2:0111 

Level: 
4 (NQF) 

Credits: 
15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS 

Enrolment: 
152 students (approx) 

Description
Understanding properties of matter is both a basic aspect of physics and very important in view of its increasing technological
importance. The coverage of condensed matter within the degree programmes is spread over a number of modules, this being the
first. The aim of this module is to develop a sound understanding of the basic concepts of properties of matter. This is done at
two levels. Topics such as elastic properties and hydrostatic properties are explained using experimental observations and
macroscopic (largescale) theories. Surface tension in liquids is explained using a molecularlevel theory. This is followed by
the a microscopic treatment of interatomic interactions, the groundstate electronic structure of atoms, and rotational and
vibrational energy levels in molecules. The structure of liquid crystals is discussed in terms of different molecular
arrangements. Finally, atomic structure and bonding in crystals with diamond structures and sodium chloride structures is
described.
Module Aims
This module predates the current template; refer to the description above and the following ILO sections.
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Module Specific Skills and Knowledge:
 describe the molecular model of a gas,
 describe the kinetic theory of gases and use it to solve problems
 describe some of the properties of matter, and solve related problems,
using simple physical concepts and models;
 use the concepts of the lattice, basis and the reciprocal lattice to describe
crystal structures and solve problems involving elastic scattering;

Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge:
 describe the concept of temperature and explain how it is measured,
 use physical ideas to explain some properties of condensed matter;
 manipulate mathematical forms of interatomic forces and potentials;
 use symbols that represent the numerical value and units of the physical quantities,
and manipulate/evaluate expressions involving such symbols in a precise and consistent manner;

Personal and Key Transferable / Employment Skills and Knowledge:
 undertake guided selfstudy successfully;
 develop appropriate timemanagement strategies and meet deadlines for completion of work.
Syllabus Plan

Introduction
Brief historical survey.

Temperature and Related Topics
Thermometric systems and properties;
Constantvolume gas thermometer;
Triple point of water;
The idealgas temperature;
Temperature scales;
Equations of state;
State variables;
p/V isotherms;
Van der Waals equation of state;
Thermal expansion;
Quantity of heat;
Heat Capacity and latent heat;
Phase changes;
Mechanisms of heat transfer: Conduction, convection and radiation.

The Ideal Monatomic Gas
Pressure;
Microscopic interpretation of temperature;
Internal energy of an ideal gas;
Equipartition of energy;
Polyatomic gases;
Distribution functions;
The onecomponent Maxwell velocity distribution;
The Maxwell speed distribution;
The mean speed, mean square speed and 'most probable' speed;
The mean free path and thermal conductivity;
Equipartition of energy.

Elasticity
 Elastic behaviour
 Types of stress and strain: tensile, shear,
bulk; Young's modulus, shear modulus, bulk modulus,
Poisson ratio
 Plastic behaviour
 Isotropic materials
 Elastic energy

Hydrostatics
 Pressure in liquids
 Variation of pressure with height
 Pressure transmission: Pascal's law and its
applications
 Buoyancy: Archimedes' principle and its applications

Surface Tension
 Definition
 Measurement of surface tension
 Molecular theory
 Surface energy
 Pressure inside a soap bubble and a liquid drop
 Capillarity
 Negative pressure and the cohesion of water

Microscopic Considerations for the Study of Properties of Matter
 Rough calculation of molecular size and interatomic
distance
 Forces holding atoms in condensed matter
 Shortrange and longrange interatomic forces
 Interatomic potential
 in inert gas solids  the LennardJones form
 in ionic solids  the BornMeyer form
 General features of the interatomic potentialenergy
curve: energy depth; equilibrium interatomic
distance; slope of the repulsive part of the curve;
shape of the curve near its minimum; bulk
modulus and the harmonic part of the curve; atomic
vibrations and the harmonic part; speed of sound
and the harmonic part; anharmonic part of the curve
 thermal expansion and thermal conduction
 Heatcapacity
 Thermal expansion: coefficients of linear and volume
expansion
 Thermal Conductivity
 Thermal stress
 Grüneisen's constant

Atomic and Molecular Structure
 Periodic table of the elements
 Ground state electronic configuration
 Structure of molecules: monatomic, diatomic, triatomic
 Shapes of molecules: linear, planar, threedimensional
 Molecular spectra: rotational and vibrational energy
levels

Structure of Solids
 Atoms in gases, liquids, and solids
 Interatomic forces in simple liquids
 Liquid crystals: nematic and smectic

Structure of Amorphous Solids
 Lack of longrange forces
 Radial distribution function
 Glasses

Structure of (Single) Crystals
 Lattice: cubic lattice system and Bravais lattices (sc, fcc, bcc)
 Crystal structure = lattice & basis
 Rocksalt and diamond structures

Broad Classification of Solids
 Metals and nonmetals
 Metallic, ionic, covalent, molecular, and hydrogenbonded crystals

XRay Diffraction and the Reciprocal Lattice
 Examples of Xray diffractometers
 Bragg scattering
 Miller indices
 Reciprocal lattice
 Laue conditions for diffraction
 Bragg scattering (kspace)
 Ewald sphere
Learning and Teaching
Learning Activities and Teaching Methods
Description 
Study time 
KIS type 
22×1hour lectures 
22 hours

SLT 
5×6hour selfstudy packages 
30 hours

GIS 
7×2hour problems sets 
14 hours

GIS 
Problems class support 
9 hours

SLT 
Tutorial support 
3 hours

SLT 
Reading, private study and revision 
72 hours

GIS 
Assessment
Weight 
Form 
Size 
When 
ILOS assessed 
Feedback 
0% 
Exercises set by tutor 
3×1hour sets (typical) 
Scheduled by tutor 
18 
Discussion in tutorials

0% 
Guided selfstudy 
5×6hour packages 
Fortnightly 
18 
Discussion in tutorials

10% 
7 × Problems Sets 
2 hours per set 
Weekly 
18 
Marked in problems class, then discussed in tutorials

15% 
Midterm Test 1 
30 minutes 
Weeks T2:04 
18 
Marked, then discussed in tutorials

15% 
Midterm Test 2 
30 minutes 
Weeks T2:08 
18 
Marked, then discussed in tutorials

60% 
Final Examination 
120 minutes 
May/June assessment period 
18 
Mark via MyExeter, collective feedback via ELE and solutions. 
Resources
The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that
students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).
Core text:
Supplementary texts:
ELE:
Further Information
Prior Knowledge Requirements
Prerequisite Modules 
Vector Mechanics (PHY1021) and Mathematics Skills (PHY1025) 
Corequisite Modules 
none 
Reassessment
Reassessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.
Original form of assessment 
Form of reassessment 
ILOs reassessed 
Time scale for reassessment 
Whole module 
Written examination (100%) 
18 
August/September assessment period 
Notes: See Physics Assessment Conventions.
KIS Data Summary
Learning activities and teaching methods 
SLT  scheduled learning & teaching activities 
34 hrs 
GIS  guided independent study 
116 hrs 
PLS  placement/study abroad 
0 hrs 
Total 
150 hrs 


Summative assessment 
Coursework 
10% 
Written exams 
90% 
Practical exams 
0% 
Total 
100% 

Miscellaneous
IoP Accreditation Checklist 
 SM01 Kinetic theory of gases and the gas laws to the level of Van der Waals equation.
 SS01 Mechanical properties of matter to include elasticity and thermal expansion.
 SS02 Interatomic forces and bonding.
 SS04 Crystal structure and Bragg scattering. (See also PHY2024.)

Availability 
unrestricted 
Distance learning 
NO 
Keywords 
Physics; Crystals; Energy; Gas; Interatomic forces; Liquid; Matter; Pressure; Properties; Solid; Structures. 
Created 
01Oct10 
Revised 
N/A 