Properties of Matter - PH026

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 3 15 (7.5) DR G Roch checkmark-circle


(i) Simple model of nuclear atom. Atomic number and mass. The periodic table. The mole and Avogadro’s number. Solids, liquids and gases. Interatomic forces. Excitation and ionization. The electron volt.
(ii) Spectra and energy levels. E = hf. Relation of spectra to transitions between energy levels. Bohr atom quantitatively. Photoelectric effect. Crystalline lattices. Amorphous materials. X-ray diffraction. Polymers and plastics.
(iii) Gases, liquids and solids. Pressure. Archimedes principle. Hydrostatics. Heat and temperature scales. Thermometers. Latent heat. Thermal expansion. Perfect gas laws.
(iv) Thermal equilibrium and temperature. Thermal conduction. Radiation laws. Kinetic theory of gases.
(v) Introduction to radioactivity.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

24 lectures.


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

30% coursework including class tests and homework; 70% final exam.

Indicative reading

Core texts:

  • New Understanding Physics for Advanced Level 4th edition, by J. Breithaupt. (Copies of the 4th edition are in the library, + copies of earlier editions).

    Background text:
  • Physics by J. Breithaupt (Copies of 2003 edition in the library).

    See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

    Learning outcomes

    Knowledge and understanding of:

  • Physical laws and principles, and their application to diverse areas of physics (this will include laws of motion, electromagnetism, wave phenomena and the properties of matter), with modules covering the necessary mathematics.

    Intellectual skills:
  • An ability to identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems, and to make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
  • An ability to solve problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools.
  • An ability to use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour.

    Subject-specific skills:
  • An ability to present and interpret information graphically.
  • An ability to make use of appropriate texts, or other learning resources as part of managing their own learning.

    Transferable skills:
  • Problem-solving skills, an ability to formulate problems in precise terms and to identify key issues, and the confidence to try different approaches in order to make progress on challenging problems. Numeracy is subsumed within this area.
  • Analytical skills – associated with the need to pay attention to detail and to develop an ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, to construct logical arguments and to use technical language correctly.
  • Personal skills – the ability to work independently, to use initiative, to organise oneself to meet deadlines and to interact constructively with other people.


    1. Credit level 3. Foundation level module taken in preparation for a degree.
    2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
    3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
    Back to top

    University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.