Mechanics 1 Topics

Mechanics 1 has only 5 strands that you need to learn:

  • Forces as vectors
  • Equilibrium of particles
  • Kinematics
  • Newton’s laws of motion
  • Linear momentum

You are also expected to know the content of C1 and C2.

Forces as vectors

You should be able to represent forces using vector diagrams, understand and use the term resultant, use perpendicular components of forces to find the magnitude and direction of a resultant force.

Equilibrium of particles

You should know and use the fact that a particle or system will remain stationary or travelling at constant velocity unless an external force is acting upon it. You will be able to draw force diagrams to identify forces acting on a particle, knowing the relationship between mass and weight. Understand limiting friction / equilibrium, the relationship between the normal and the frictional forces and the concept and limitations of models as having smooth or rough surfaces.


Know and apply the ‘suvat’ equations to model motion in a straight line, independent of forces. Use graphs of displacement-time and velocity-time knowing the quantities that the gradients and areas on the graphs represent. Use differentiation and integration with respect to time to solve problems with displacement, velocity and acceleration.

Newton’s laws of motion

Use the laws of motion to model systems with constant forces acting or constant acceleration and systems that can be represented by two particles connected by a light, inextensible, taut, string.

Linear momentum

You should be able to use the definition of linear momentum, including its vector nature, in one dimension. You should also be able to use the principle of the conservation of linear momentum when particles collide and rebound or coalesce (combine).