IF1601 Physics part 1, Thermodynamics and Wave Physics 6.0 credits

Fysik del 1, termodynamik och vågrörelselära

Covers the basic physics in wave physics and thermodynamics for an electric engineering student.

Offering and execution

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters

Course information

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents *

Wave equation, harmonic and spherical waves, wave propagation. Mechanical waves, intensity, reflection, standing waves. Electomagnetic waves, polarisation, interferens, diffraction, lasers, fiber optics, geometrical optics. Gas laws, kinetci gas theory. The first and second law of thermodynamics, energy and entropy. Thermodynamic processes, Carnot process, thermal efficiency, coefficient of performance. Heat transfer (radiation, convection, heat conduction). Introduction to statistical physics, Bose-Einstein, Fermi-Dirac and Maxwell-Boltzmann distributions

Intended learning outcomes *

The aim of the course is to give the students basic knowledge and know-how in wave physics and thermodynamics so that they can apply this on realistic problems.

After the course, the students should be able to

- identify a wave equation and know its solutions

- relate a real harmonic or spherical wave to its mathematical description

- apply basic concepts such as interference, beats, diffraction, Doppler effect, standing waves and polarisation

- apply idealised thermodynamic processes (isobaric, isovolumetric, isothermal and adiabatic process) both individually and when combined for describing an engine

- maitrise the first and second law of thermodynamics and being able to use this for calculations of energies and entropies

- relate the energy flow in a thermodynamic process to the thermal efficiency for engines and to the coefficient of performance for heat and cooling machines to allow for calculations

- make calculations on heat transfer problems (radiation, convection, heat conduction)

- describe statistical distributions of particles and being able to use them for simple calculations

- apply all above in order to create calculable models of realistic, real problems

- for higher grades, the student should in addtion be able to apply all above in various areas of wave physics and thermodynamics including applications not discussed in the course

- perform and criticially analyse the results of some physics experiments and report the results in a well written and concise report

Course Disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites *

No information inserted

Recommended prerequisites

Basic course in calculus in one and several variables.


No information inserted


O. Beckman, G. Grimvall, B. Kjöllerström och T. Sundström, Energilära, Liber AB (2005), ISBN 91-47-05218-X
G. Jönsson och E. Nilsson, Våglära och optik, Teach Support (2008), Lund, ISBN 978-91-972499-6-3
Lab instructions supplied by the course coordinator.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale *

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Examination *

  • LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 1.5 credits, Grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 4.5 credits, Grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade *

Written exam (TEN1, 4.5 hp), grade A/B/C/D/E/Fx/F
Laboratory work (LAB1, 1.5 hp), grade Pass/Fail
Additional points on the exam from home excercises are only valid until the next years course starts.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Magnus Andersson

Ethical approach *

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web IF1601

Offered by

SCI/Applied Physics

Main field of study *

Physics, Technology

Education cycle *

First cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted

Supplementary information

The course is evaluated and devleoped according to the KTH policy for course analysis.

The course is replaced by SK1106 as from autumn term 2017.