PHY 206: General Physics VI (Energy and Environment)



Learning Outcomes
On completion, the students should be able to:
1. explain the origin and sources of energy and power;
2. describe the inter relation and transformation of energy sources and types;
3. illustrate and explain the principles of generation of power;
4. outline the concept of energy demand and supply;
5. explain the economics, politics and problems associated with energy demand and supply;
6. identify and assess categories of environmental pollutants;
7. describe effect of carbon emission on global warming;
8. describe the environmental effect of energy generation, supply, and consumption; and
9. identify and evaluate the merits and demerits of power generation from different sources.

Course Contents

Energy sources and climate impacts. Energy requirements and consumption. Energy processing
and conversion. Energy units and pricing. The greenhouse effect. Biological forms of energy (fossil
fuels and biofuels). Basic nuclear physics. The atom, radioactivity and decay laws. Interaction of
radiation with matter. Nuclear fission principles and energetics. Chain reaction and dynamics.
Reactor types and control. Current status of nuclear fission as a power source. Nuclear fusion
principles and energetics. (Examples in stars and on earth). Thermonuclear fusion. Nuclear fuels.
Ignition and the Lawson criterion. Magnetic and inertial confinement. Current status of nuclear
fusion as a power source. Stellar fusion. Proton-proton chain and CNO cycle. Solar power
technologies. Solar thermal. Solar photovoltaic. Wind energy. Nature of wind. Wind power and
wind turbines. Betz criterion. Energy from waves and tides. Principles of water waves, energy,
and power. Wave power extraction. Origin and properties of tides. Tidal stream power and tidal
range power. Power from fluids. Hydro power. Energy transportation and storage. Thermal
pollution. Energy costs, capacity, reserves, and efficiency. Emerging environmental effects of
energy processing.