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Physics for Building Management/Construction

This is an introduction to electricity and strength of materials.

Course Content


Greek alphabet


The SI Unit System

Lecture 1

• Electric Charge, Current and Potential Difference
• Microscopic picture of current in a wire
• Conductors, Conductance and Conductivity
• Resistors, Resistance and Resistivity
• Conductors, Insulators and Semiconductors
• Temperature coefficient of resistivity
• Heating effect of current

Current,Potential and Resistance

Lecture 2

• Circuit Elements and Electric Circuits
• Electromotive force
• Resistors connected in series
• Resistors connected in parallel
• Series/parallel substitution of resistors in circuits
• Internal Resistance of an electric cell
• Maximum power transfer theorem


Lecture 3

• Simple circuits are reduced to a single equivalent resistor by series and parallel substitution,
• Kirchhoff's rules for finding currents and potential differences in networks are demonstrated


Lecture 4

• the capacitance of two conducting surfaces
• the effect of dielectrics (insulators) between the capacitor plates
• the series and parallel combination of capacitors
• the energy stored in a capacitor


Lecture 5

• Skin Resistance
• Hazardous currents
• The Australian Electrical Supply
• The Cleaning Lady and the Dog (A cautionary tale)
• Circuit Breakers and Fuses
• Switches
• Competent Persons
• Domestic Sockets and Plugs

Electrical Safety

Lecture 6

•Negative Potential Energy
•Potential Energy and Force
•The Lenard-Jones Potential Energy Function
•Equilibrium Separation
•Maximum Binding Energy
•The Electron Volt

Interatomic Potential Function

Lecture 7

• The Classification of Chemical Bonds
• The Periodic Table with Electron Configurations
• Ionic Bonds
• Covalent Bonds
• Metallic Bonds
• Electric Dipoles
• Hydrogen Bonds
•Van der Waals Bonds

Chemical Bonds

Lecture 8

• Crystal Structures
• Body Centred Cubic Unit Cell
• Face Centred Cubic Unit Cell
• Hexagonal Close Packed Unit Cell
• Diamond structure Unit Cell
• Simple Cubic structure
• Packing Density in the Unit Cell (FCC and BCC)
• Ionic, Covalent and Metallic Crystals
• Intermediate Bond types
• Amorphous Solids
• Polymers


Lecture 9

• Point defects (Vacancies, Interstitials, Impurities),
• Line defects (Edge and Screw Dislocations),
• Planar defects (Grain, Tilt & Twin boundaries, Microcracks), and
• Volume defects (Voids).

Microscopic defects

Lecture 10

• Normal Stress, Shear Stress and Bulk Stress
• Normal Strain, Shear Strain and Bulk Strain
• Young's Modulus, Shear/Rigidity Modulus and Bulk Modulus
• Poisson's ratio
• Young’s Modulus and the Atomic Spring Constant


Lecture 11

• Brittle solids and the critical distance for breaking a bond are introduced,
• the homogeneous separation & microcrack models of brittle failure,
• Plastic solids,
• the homogeneous shear & dislocation models of plastic failure are compared.

Brittle and Plastic

Lecture 12

• Solids, Fluids, Plastics & Plasmas
• Two techniques of calculation with fluids
• Four concepts of fluid flow
• Streamlines
• Equation of continuity
• Bernoulli's equation
• Fluid statics

Fluids: Flowing and Static

Lecture 13

• Archimedes' achievements & death
• Hiero's crown
• Archimedes' principle


Lecture 14

• Planar Laminar flow
• Laminar flow of a fluid in a tube
• Newton's law of Viscosity
• Viscosity at the Atomic Level
• Viscosity and Temperature
• Viscosity and Time
• Terminal Velocity
• Stokes' Law and Terminal Speeds
• Poiseuille's Law and Laminar flow in a tube
• Reynold's number and Turbulent flow


Poiseuille's equation



A few exam papers &/or tutorial questions with full worked solutions may be obtained for a small fee. Please email if you require assistance with this.

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