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CODE 57193
  • 14 cfu during the 2nd year of 8765 SCIENZA DEI MATERIALI (L-30) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • MODULES This unit is composed by:


    The course deals with the study of electromagnetism in vacuum and in materials. It is divided into two modules. The first module is focused to the study of electromagnetism in vacuum and to a first introduction to electromagnetic waves. The second module presents electromagnetism in materials and completes the study of electromagnetic waves.



    Understanding of the basic concepts of electromagnetism in vacuum and in materials. Increased learning and synthesis skills.


    Knowledge of the main physics concepts of the first year (dimensional analysis, vectors, laws of dynamics, energy conservation)


    Traditional lectures; exercises solved by the lecturer with the student participation; laboratory experiments performed by the students in the presence of the teacher, with experiment tracks provided in advance. Laboratory activities will comprise two credits.

    Expected hours of individual study: 220
    Classroom hours: 136
    Hours employed in laboratory experiments or other activities: 10


    The course is divided into two modules (8 + 6 CFUs)

    3rd MODULE


    Electric charge and electric field                                                                                                  

    Electric charge. Conductors and insulators. Coulomb’s law. The electric field. Gauss’ law. Electric potential. Capacitance and capacitors. Energy stored in a charged capacitor.

    Electric current                                                                                                                                                    Current density. Resistance and resistivity. Ohm’s law. Electric circuits. Kirchhoff's laws. Power in electric circuits.

    Magnetic field                                                                                                                                                     Lorentz force. Magnetic force on a current-carrying wire. Biot-Savart law. Force between two parallel currents. Ampère’s law. Magnetic flux. Faraday-Neumann-Lenz’s law. Induced electric field. Inductance. Self-induction. RL circuits. Energy stored in a magnetic field.

    Maxwell equations and electromagnetic waves                                                                                                   Ampère-Maxwell’s law. Displacement current. Maxwell’s equations in integral and differential form. Electromagnetic wave equation. Electromagnetic plane waves.

    Laboratory experiments:

    DC circuits (Series and parallel connection of resistors; measurement of ohmic and non-ohmic I-V characteristics)                                                                                                                                                           RC circuits, measurement of the time constant.


    4th MODULE

    Electric oscillations. Alternating current
    AC current. RLC series circuit. Transformer

    Electrical field in insulators
    Dielectric materials and constant dielectric. Potential and field generated by an electric dipole. Electric dipole approximation and field generated by a system of charges. Dielectric properties of insulators; Polarizability for orientation and deformation. Vector polarization and dielectric constant. Electrostatic equations in the presence of dielectrics: electric shift vector. Boundary conditions in the presence of dielectrics. The Clausius–Mossotti relation. Brief remarks on ferroelectric compounds.

    Magnetism in materials
    Magnetic moment and microscopic currents. Diamagnetism and paramagnetism. Magnetization, Curie Law. Magnetic material: magnetization current and magnetic field in matter. General equations of magnetostatics in the presence of magnetized materials. Boundary conditions in the presence of magnetic materials. Ferromagnetic materials; Magnetic circuits and Hopkinson's law. Hysteresis loop of a iron. Soft and hard magnetic materials: main applications.

    Electromagnetic waves
    EM wave energy, wave intensity and Pointing vector. Electromagnetic radiation generated by an oscillating dipole and spherical wave. EM wave polarization. Maxwell equations in transparent media and refractive index. dSnell's Law: Reflection and Refraction of the Light. The intensity of reflexed and refracted waves (Fresnel's laws). Absorbing materials: absorption coefficient and complex refractive index.

    Laboratory Experiment:
    Measurement of the magnetic field inside a coil and in the presence of an iron core


    D. Halliday, R. Resnick, J. Walker - Fundamentals of Physics, 10th edition, vol.2 - Wiley

    Slides of lessons uploaded in Aulaweb


    Exam Board

    ANNALISA RELINI (President)


    MARINA PUTTI (President Substitute)


    Class schedule




    The exam includes a written test and an oral test.
    The written test consists of two partial tests related to the topics of each module or a final test on the overall program.
    The partial written tests related to the individual modules consist in solving exercises on the topics covered in the modules. The total written test consists in solving exercises related to both modules.

    Students who have received a grade of at least 15/30 in each of the partial tests or in the final written exam are admitted to the oral exam.

    The oral exam consists in the discussion of the written test (s) plus two questions on the topics of the course, one for each module. In case that more in-depth analysis is required, the number of questions may be increased, either to achieve an excellent mark, or to reach the level required to pass the exam.


    The written test will evaluate the following abilities: i) to interpret the text of the proposed exercise and to outline the problem; ii) to identify the physical laws involved and the related equations to be applied; iii) to quantitatively solve the exercise; iv) to assess whether the numerical result obtained makes sense.
    To evaluate the written test, the following parameters will be taken into account: the correct setting of the solution of the exercise, the correctness of the literal solution obtained, the congruence of the numerical solution obtained.

    The oral exam will ascertain the following abilities: i) to present the requested topic with language properties; ii) to describe simple applications of the physical laws under consideration.
    To evaluate the oral exam, the following parameters will be taken into account: the level of understanding of the topic, the quality of the presentation, the correct use of technical terminology, the capacity for critical reasoning.

    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes