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Physics Notes Section A

# Physics Notes Section A

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07/12/2013

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CHRIST CHURCH FOUNDATION SCHOOLPHYSICS NOTES
CXC SYLLABUSSECTION APHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS AND UNITSW.GILL

SECTION A: PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS AND UNITS
What is Physics?
Physics is concerned with matter in relation to energy. The study of physics may be grouped under suchheadings as mechanics, optics, wave motion, magnetism, electricity and nuclear physics.
Fundamental Quantities and Units
Why do we need units?We need units to provide a standard when taking measurements. (Compare measuring the length of ataking using standard units (eg metre) as oppose to using non-standard measurements (eg hand size)Fundamental Basic QuantitiesThe value of a physical quantity is expressed as a number of units in the International System of Units (SISystem).
QuantityUnitNameSymbolNameSymbol
MassmkilogramkgLengthlmetremTimetsecondsElectric CurrentIAmpereAAbsolute TemperatureTKelvinTemperatureθDegree Celsius
o
CAmount of substancemolemolPrefixes
MultipleNameSymbolMeaningExample
teraT10
12
terametre (Tm)gigaG10
9
gigawatt (GW)megaM10
6
megajoule (MJ)kiloK10
3
kilogram (kg)
Submultiple
decid10
-1
decibel (dB)centic10
-2
centimeter (cm)millim10
-3
milliampere (mA)microµ10
-6
microcoulomb µCnanan10
-9
nanosecond (ns) picop10-
12
picometre (pm)2

SECTION A: PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS AND UNITS
Derived UnitsThese are units which are formed by multiplying or dividing one or more of the basic units.QuantityUnit NameUnit SymbolDerivationPowerWattWJoule per second (J/s) or Js
-1
(index Format)PressurepascalPaNewton per metre squared (Nm
-2
)ForcenewtonNkgms
-2
Significant FiguresThe first significant figure in a number is the first digit from the left other than 0, e.g in the number 0.00578 the first significant figure is 5.The number of S.F is the number of digits counting from the left from the first significant figure, e.g inthe number 0.00578 there are 3 S.F but in the number 280000 there are 2. The zeroes in front of thedecimal point are important to the size of the number but are not significant.Examples:301.6 4 S.F(zero between two non zero digits is significant0.032 2 S.F(1
st
S.F is 3)423000 3 S.F(zeroes in front of the decimal point relate to the size of the number) NB-When performing calculations the result should be expressed using the quantity with the leastnumber of S.F.-The number of S>F used in recording a measurement depends on the precision of the instrument.For example, a metre rule can give 6.5 cm but not 6.52 cm.Scientific Notation or Standard FormThe decimal point appears after the first significant figure. The exponent determines the number of timesthe number is multiplied by or divided by 10. Standard form is often used to represent very small or verylarge numbers.Example 1:30000may be represented as 3.0 x 10
4
Example 2:0.0003 may be represented as 3.0 x 10
-4
Measurement
ScalesTypes:-Linear Scale: A scale in which the divisions are evenly spaced, e.g ruler.-Non-linear Scale: A scale in which the divisions are not evenly spaced, e.g conical flask.-Analogue Scale: A scale which varies continuously with the quantity being measured.-Digital Scale: A scale which represents the quantity being measured with distinct objects or digits.3