ACM20050 Classical Mechanics

Academic Year 2023/2024

This course starts by developing the principles of Newtonian Mechanics for particles, systems of particles and rigid bodies. It focuses on applications of Newton's laws with an emphasis on problem solving. Interesting aspects ranging from variational principles to dynamical systems will be considered.

[Newton’s laws of motion] Revision of Newton's laws of motion and the concept of kinetic and potential energy. Conservative force fields and conservation of energy. Equilibrium of a particle and stability of equilibrium.

[Central forces and planetary and satellite motion] Motion in a plane is discussed with a focus on central forces. Newton’s law of gravitation. Determination of the orbit from the central force. Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and the motion of satellites.

[Moving coordinate systems] Non-inertial coordinate systems. Rotating coordinate systems. Velocity and acceleration in a moving frame. Coriolis and centripetal acceleration.

[Systems of Particles] Centre of mass. Momentum of a system of particles. Motion of the centre of mass. Angular momentum of a system of particles. Total external moment acting on a system and its relation to the angular momentum.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to

1. Analyse the stability of equilibrium positions of a particle.

2. Solve orbit problems in mathematical terms.

3. Explain the concepts of planetary and satellite orbits including Kepler's laws.

4. Derive expressions for the velocity and acceleration in a rotating frame.

5. Explain the concepts of angular velocity, angular momentum for a system of particles.

6. Understand the relation between the angular momentum and total external moment acting on a system.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning








Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Live lectures, selected pre-recorded lectures, and tutorials 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Recommended first modules in Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: Combination of midterm exams, take-home assignments, and quizzes Varies over the Trimester n/a Other No


Examination: End-of-Trimester Exam (Closed Book) 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Other No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Anthony Cronin Tutor
Giulio Taiocchi Tutor