PC132 -- Thermodynamics and Waves Laboratory

Lab Tools and Learning Materials

All of the information for these labs and all of the available electronic resources are on the lab website. I've tried to make it as complete as possible, so that you only have to look in one place for anything relevant to the labs. If you find any other resources that are particularly useful, let me know.

Course Description: Calculus-based course, which introduces basic principles of physics. Detailed topics covered: elasticity, fluids, waves and sound, temperature and heat, the laws of thermodynamics, entropy, and an introduction to electricity.
Prerequisites: PC131
Lab Instructor: Terry Sturtevant
Office: N2092A
Ext: 2049
Office Hours: by appointment
Enrollment: no more than 20 per lab section  
Learning Objectives: By the end of this course, you should be able to:
  • Identify linear relationships between variables in an equation
  • Graph data with error bars
  • Perform least squares fits on linear data
  • Determine uncertainties in the slope and y-intercept of linear graphs, based on whether the scatter of points is large or small
  • Suggest improvements to an experiment, based on graphical analysis
  • Write a professional lab report, incorporating x-y graphs and graphical analysis
Lab Overview and Approach/Framework: In the lab component of a course most of your learning will happen through your hands-on experiences in the lab. The videos and other on-line documents have been chosen to give you the background you will need to prepare you for the labs.

The labs are the hands-on portion of the course. When leaving the laboratory ensure that your work area is left tidy and clean.

Students will work with partners. If you would prefer to work on your own, this is permissible if there are enough laboratory stations. The lab instructor should be informed of any reason for absence, such as illness, as soon as possible. Marks will be taken off for absence with no reasons.

For safety and hygiene reasons, absolutely no food or drinks are allowed in the lab. The lab should be kept tidy at all times.

The Lab Instructor will make alternate arrangements in case of equipment failure, holidays, illness, etc.

Lab work builds upon previous work: if you fall behind, you stay behind, so keep on top of things. If you are taking too much time to do your work, then you didn't understand something, you didn't remember something, or you don't know how to handle a tool. Get help immediately!

Labs start the first week of classes

Attendance is taken at all lab sessions.


At the end of this course you will get a detailed, anonymous evaluation to fill out, where you can indicate your opinion on many aspects of the labs. This is one of the most important resources to help me improve the labs each time I teach them.
Web Page: http://denethor.wlu.ca/pc132/
Student Evaluation: There are different types of assessment that will happen in this course;
  • online quizzes to review important concepts from the labs
  • exercises that introduce you to lab skills and techniques
  • a lab report that brings all of your knowledge together in order to answer a real world question (or questions)
  • lab test which summarizes all of the important concepts from the labs


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