PHYS 1401
General College Physics

Western Texas College

  1. Basic Course Information:
    1. Course Description: Fundamental principles of physics, using algebra and trigonometry; the principles and applications of classical mechanics and thermodynamics, including harmonic motion, mechanical waves and sound, physical systems, Newton’s Laws of Motion, and gravitation and other fundamental forces; with emphasis on problem solving.  Laboratory activities will reinforce fundamental principles of physics, using algebra and trigonometry; the principles and applications of classical mechanics and thermodynamics, including harmonic motion, mechanical waves and sound, physical systems, Newton’s Laws of Motion, and gravitation and other fundamental forces; emphasis will be on problem solving.
    2. Prerequisites: Math 1314 College Algebra and Math 1316 Plane Trigonometry or Math 2312/2412 Pre-Calculus.
    3. Online course content is administered through the college’s learning management system (LMS), Moodle, also called eCampus.  A link to eCampus can be found on and to Moodle (the big M with a graduation cap) on the college’s home page,
  2. Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)
    1. Determine the components of linear motion (displacement, velocity, and acceleration), and especially motion under conditions of constant acceleration.
    2. Apply Newton’s laws to physical problems including gravity.
    3. Solve problems using principles of energy.
    4. Use principles of impulse and linear momentum to solve problems.
    5. Solve problems in rotational kinematics and dynamics, including the determination of the location of the center of mass and center of rotation for rigid bodies in motion.
    6. Solve problems involving rotational and linear motion.
    7. Describe the components of a wave and relate those components to mechanical vibrations, sound, and decibel level.
    8. Demonstrate an understanding of equilibrium, including the different types of equilibrium.
    9. Discuss simple harmonic motion and its application to quantitative problems or qualitative questions.
    10. Solve problems using the principles of heat and thermodynamics.
    11. Solve basic fluid mechanics problems.
    12. Demonstrate techniques to set up and perform experiments, collect data from those experiments, and formulate conclusions from an experiment.
    13. Record experimental work completely and accurately in laboratory notebooks, and communicate experimental results clearly in written reports.
  3. Testing Requirements
    1. The midterm and the final exam must be proctored by an approved testing organization.  (Ask your instructor for more details).
    2. Students are NOT allowed to use their book or notes of any kind while taking their midterm and final exam.
    3. Students are allowed to use the formula sheet provided for the midterm and final exam.
  4. Major Course Requirements
    1. Major Requirements 1 – There will be 6 unit tests
    2. Major Requirements 2 – There will be 6 unit lab write-ups.  Students are not allowed to take the final exam until at least 4 unit lab write-ups are completed.
    3. Major Requirements 3 – There will be a midterm and final exam.
    4. Unit tests, midterm, and final are all timed.
  5. Grading System
    1. See the First Day Handout for the percentages of the average in this course and the letter grade breakdown for the final grade.
  6. Information on Books and Other Course Materials
    1. Online access required:  MasteringPhysics contains College Physics (e-book) with Master Access, 10th edition, Young,  Adams, and Chastain ISBN 9780133858006.   Additional textbook is optional.  ISBN 9780321902566.
    2. Lab kits required:  Contact the  WTC Bookstore for PHYS 1401 (only): eScience Lab Kit #2539 Or for PHYS 1401 and 1402 combined:  eScience Lab Kit #2541
  7. Other Policies: Please refer to the WTC Course Catalog for the following:
    1. Campus Calendar
    2. Final Exam schedule
    3. How to drop a class
    4. Withdrawal information
    5. Student Conduct/Academic Integrity
    6. Class Attendance
    7. Students with Disabilities
  8. Course Organization and Schedule





1. Models, Measurements, and Vectors

1.1 Introduction
1.2 Idealized Models
1.3 Standards and Units
1.4 Dimensional Consistency and Unit Conversions
1.5 Precision and Significant Figures
1.6 Estimates and Orders of Magnitude
1.7 Vectors and Vector Addition
1.8 Components of Vectors


2. Motion Along a Straight Line

2.1 Displacement and Average Velocity
2.2 Instantaneous Velocity
2.3 Average and Instantaneous
2.4 Motion with Constant Acceleration
2.5 Proportional Reasoning
2.6 Freely Falling Objectives
2.7 Relative Velocity Along a Straight Line


3. Motion in a Plane

3.1 Velocity in a Plane
3.2 Acceleration in a Plane
3.3 Projectile Motion
3.4 Uniform Circular Motion
3.5 Relative Velocity in a Plane


4. Newton’s Laws of Motion

4.1 Force
4.2 Newton’s First Law
4.3 Mass and Newton’s Second Law
4.4 Mass and Weight
4.5 Newton’s Third Law
4.6 Free-Body Diagrams


5. Applications of Newton’s Laws

5.1 Equilibrium of a Particle
5.2 Applications of Newton’s Second Law
5.3 Contact Forces and Friction
5.4 Elastic Forces
5.5 Forces in Nature


6. Circular Motion and Gravitation

6.1 Force in Circular Motion
6.2 Motion in a Vertical Circle
6.3 Newton’s Law of Gravitation
6.4 Weight
6.5 Satellite Motion


7. Work and Energy

7.1 An Overview of Energy
7.2 Work
7.3 Work and Kinetic Energy
7.4 Work Done by a Varying Force
7.5 Potential Energy
7.6 Conservation of Energy
7.7 Conservative and Non-Conserved Forces
7.8 Power


8. Momentum

8.1  Momentum
8.2 Conservation of Momentum
8.3 Inelastic Collisions
8.4 Elastic Collisions
8.5 Impulse
8.6 Center of Mass
8.7 Motion of the Center of Mass
8.8 Rocket Propulsion


9. Rotational Motion

9.1 Angular Velocity and Angular Acceleration
9.2 Rotation with Constant Angular Acceleration
9.3 Relationship Between Linear and Angular Quantities
9.4 Kinetic Energy of Rotation and Moment of Inertia
9.5 Rotation About a Moving Axis


10. Dynamics of Rotational Motion

10.1 Torque
10.2 Torque and Angular Acceleration
10.3 Work and Power in Rotational Motion
10.4 Angular Momentum
10.5 Conservation of Angular Momentum
10.6 Equilibrium of a Rigid Body
10.7 Vector Nature of Angular Quantities

Periodic Motion, Waves, and Fluids

11. Elasticity and Periodic Motion

11.1 Stress, Strain, and Elastic Deformations
11.2 Periodic Motion
11.3 Energy in Simple Harmonic Motion
11.4 Equations of Simple Harmonic Motion
11.5 The Simple Pendulum
11.6 Damped and Forced Oscillations


12. Mechanical Waves and Sound

12.1 Mechanical Waves
12.2 Periodic Mechanical Waves
12.3 Wave Speeds
12.4 Mathematical Description of a Wave
12.5 Reflections and Superposition
12.6 Standing Waves and Normal Modes
12.7 Longitudinal Standing Waves
12.8 Interference
12.9 Sound and Hearing
12.10 Sound Intensity
12.11 Beats
12.12 The Doppler Effect
12.13 Applications of Acoustics
12.14 Musical Tones


13. Fluid Mechanics

13.1 Density
13.2 Pressure in a Fluid
13.3 Archimedes’ Principle: Buoyancy
13.4 Surface Tension and Capillarity
13.5 Fluid Flow
13.6 Bernoulli’s Equation
13.7 Applications of Bernoulli’s Equation
13.8 Real Fluids: Viscosity and Turbulence


14. Temperature and Heat

14.1 Temperature and Thermal Equilibrium
14.2 Temperature Scales
14.3 Thermal Expansion
14.4 Heat Energy
14.5 Phase Changes
14.6 Calorimetry
14.7 Heat Transfer
14.8 Solar Energy and Resource Conservation


15. Thermal Properties of Matter

15.1 The Mole and Avogadro’s Number
15.2 Equations of State
15.3 Kinetic Theory of an Ideal Gas
15.4 Heat Capacities
15.5 The First Law of Thermodynamics
15.6 Thermodynamics Processes
15.7 Properties of an Ideal Gas


16. The Second Law of Thermodynamics

16.1 Directions of Thermodynamics Processes
16.2 Heat Engines
16.3 Internal Combustion Engines
16.4 Refrigerators
16.5 The Second Law of Thermodynamics
16.6 The Carnot Engine: The Most Efficient Heat Engine
16.7 Entropy
16.8 The Kelvin Temperature Scale
16.9 Energy Resources: A Case Study in Thermodynamics

Disclaimer:  Schedule and content is subject to change at the instructor’s discretion.




Last Modified: May 29, 2018