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PH10051: Electricity & magnetism [WL]

[Page last updated: 21 April 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/3
Owning Department/School: Department of Physics
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: EX 85%, PR 15%
Assessment Detail:
  • Examination (EX 85%)
  • Practical (PR 15%)
Supplementary Assessment:
PH10051B - OT reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: Before or while taking this module you must take PH10007 OR take MA10230
You must have A-level Physics (or equivalent) and A-level Mathematics (or equivalent) to take this unit.
Learning Outcomes: After taking this unit the student should be able to:
* state the basic laws of electricity and magnetism;
* define scalar and vector fields and represent them graphically;
* determine the forces due to electric and magnetic fields acting on charges and currents;
* determine electric fields, potentials and energies due to simple, static charge distributions;
* determine magnetic fields and energies due to simple, steady current distributions;
* determine electric fields, e.m.f.s and induced currents due to varying magnetic fields;
* demonstrate the correct use of common laboratory equipment, maintain a scientific logbook, perform basic error analysis and produce a scientific report.

Aims: The aims of this unit are to introduce the fundamental laws of electricity and magnetism and to develop techniques used in the solution of simple field problems, both vector and scalar.

Skills: Written Communication T/F A, Numeracy T/F A, Data Acquisition, Handling, and Analysis T/F A, Information Technology T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A, Working as part of a group T/F, Practical laboratory skills T/F A.

Content: Introduction to scalar and vector fields (1 hour).
Electrostatics (9 hours): Electric charge, Coulomb's Law, superposition of forces, electric charge distribution, the electric field, electric flux, Gauss's Law, examples of field distributions, electric dipoles. Line integral of the electric field, potential difference, calculation of fields from potentials, examples of potential distributions, energy associated with electric field. Electric field around conductors, capacitors and their capacitance, energy stored.
Magnetism (7 hours): Lorentz force law, force on a current-carrying wire, force between current-carrying wires, torque on a current loop, magnetic dipoles. Biot-Savart Law, Ampere's Law, magnetic flux, Gauss's Law in magnetism, examples of field distributions.
Electromagnetic induction (5 hours): Induced e.m.f. and examples, Faraday's Law, Lenz's Law, energy stored in a magnetic field, self and mutual inductance, energy stored in an inductor.
Laboratory: Performance of experiments designed to develop practical skills and support lecture material.

Programme availability:

PH10051 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Physics
  • USXX-AFB03 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 1)
  • USXX-AAB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 1)
  • USXX-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • USXX-AFM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics (Year 1)
  • USXX-AAM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Study year abroad (Year 1)
  • USXX-AKM01 : MSci(Hons) Mathematics and Physics with Year long work placement (Year 1)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.