APPLIED PHYSISCS I
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The module of "Applied Physics I" is part of the Integrated Course
"Physical and Experimental Sciences". The module has been
designed to convey knowledge and understanding of basic physics
principles, providing an introductory basis for other disciplines including
Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biology, Physiology, etc., that rely on the
physical phenomenology on make frequent use of it.
The course will also provide the conceptual basis for understanding a
number of major technologies that are used with increasing frequency. In
this sense, the module also aims to develop the students' attitude
towards independent study and continuing education on the application
of physical techniques to several fields.
As its final, but perhaps most important, goal, the course has been
designed to stimulate students to become more familiar with certain
common concepts, that are not always sufficiently explained in previous
studies, such as: mechanical action between bodies in contact, exertion
and energy in action, dynamic aspects resulting from elastic force and
impact, friction and thermal and thermodynamic aspects, static and
dynamic properties of gaseous and liquid fluids.
Course contents summary
The first part of the module of "Applied Physics I" will deal with the
definition of physical quantities and measure systems and units.
The module will then tackle the fundamental principles of kinematics,
dynamics, thermology and thermodynamics.
Applications and consequences on human body physiology and medicine
will be stressed. In particular, deeper insights will be provided into
biomechanics, blood circulation, and body temperature control.
Physical quantitites and their measurement: Measurement of a physical
quantity - Dimensions and units – Errors - Mean value - Standard
deviation and sampling approximation -Vector quantities.
Fundamentals of dynamics: Principles of dynamics - Energy, work and power - Weight force - Theorem of the kinetic energy - Conservative force
fields - Potential energy - Conservation of mechanical energy - Center of
mass and its properties -Conservation of the quantity of motion - Moment
of force - Overview of rigid body motion - Levers and the human body –
Balance - Elastic phenomena, Hooke’s law and elasticity modules -
Flexure and torsion - Elasticity of blood vessels and bones.
Waves and acoustics: Wave motion, wave equation and characteristic
parameters - Interference and beats - Stationary waves - Resonance -
Diffraction and Huygens principle - Sound and its characteristics -
Intensity, sensation, Weber-Fechner law - Doppler effect - Ultrasound and
its application in the biomedical field.
Hydrostatics and hydrodynamics: Pressure - Laws of Stevin, Pascal and
Archimedes - Atmospheric pressure and Torricelli’s barometer - Arterial
pressure and its measurement - Surface tension and Laplace’s formula -
Capillarity and Jurin’s law - Gaseous embolism - Pipe flow capacity - Ideal
liquid and Bernouilli’s theorem -Implications for blood flow - Real liquids
and viscosity - Laminar motion and Poiseuille’s theorem - Hydraulic
resistance - Stokes’ equation and sedimentation speed - Turbulent
regime and Reynolds number - Overview of cardiac work.
Thermology and thermodynamics: Thermal dilation -Temperature and
heat - Laws of gas and absolute temperature - Equation of state of ideal
gases and approximation for real gases - Overview of the kinetic theory
of gases - Specific heats –Change of state and latent heat - Heat
propagation mechanisms -First and second principle of thermodynamics -
Thermal machines and efficiency - Entropy and disorder.
Bersani, Bettati, Biagi, Capozzi, Feroci, Lepore, Mita, Ortalli, Roberti,
Viglino, Vitturi: Elementi di Fisica, Ed. Piccin Nuova Libraria (Padova).
Scannicchio: Fisica Biomedica, Ed. EdiSES (Napoli).
Celasco: Lineamenti di Fisica Medica, Ed. E.C.I.G. (Genova).
During classroom lectures, the topics contained in the program of the
module will be illustrated and commented. Emphasis will be posed on the
applications to biology and medicine of basic physics principles, with
examples of how such principles can lead to quantitative predictions on
physiological and pathological phenomena.
In selected cases, the demonstration of basic physics principles will be
illustrated, with the aim to introduce the students to the practice of
logical thinking and experimental approach.
Assessment methods and criteria
The achievement of the objectives of the modules "Applied Physics I" and
"Applied Physics II" will be assessed through a written exam, mainly
consisting in open questions on the topics of the course. This will allow to
ascertain the knowledge and the understanding of both the theoretical
bases and their practical consequences.
The written exam will include the resolution of problems, to assess the
achievement of the ability to apply the acquired knowledge to a
simulated, though realistic situation.
All parts of the written exam will be equally weighted in the final