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AS Level Physics definitions

Scalar quantity: Magnitude only

Vector quantity:Magnitude and direction
Systematic error
Constant error (in all readings)
Cannot be eliminated by averaging
Error in measuring instrument
Readings scattered (equally) about true value
Error due to observer
Can be eliminated by averaging
Differences between the quantities distance and displacement
Displacement is a vector, distance is a scalar
Displacement is straight line between two points / distance is sum of lengths
Velocity:Rate of change of displacement
Acceleration:Rate of change of velocity
Measure of bodys resistance/inertia to changes in velocity/motion
Effect of gravitational field on mass or force of gravity
Linear momentum: Product of mass and velocity
Newtons first law of motion:A body continues at constant velocity unless acted on by a
resultant (external) force
Newtons second law: (resultant) force = rate of change of momentum
Newtons third law of motion
Force on body A is equal in magnitude to force on body B (from A)
Forces are in opposite directions
Forces are of the same kind
Force: Rate of change of momentum
Elastic Collision:Total kinetic energy is conserved, Inelastic: loss of kinetic energy
Principle of conservation of momentum
Total/sum momentum before = total/sum momentum after
In any closed system
Force perpendicular distance
Of force from pivot / axis / point
Principle of moments
The sum of the clockwise moments about a point equals the sum of the
Anticlockwise moments (about the same point)
Conditions necessary for a body to be in equilibrium
No resultant force (in any direction)
No resultant moment (about any point)
Centre of gravity
Point at which (whole) weight (of body)
Appears / seems to act
Product of one of the forces and the distance between forces
The perpendicular distance between the forces
Couple: (Magnitude of) one force perpendicular distance between the two forces
Work done
Product of force and distance moved
(By force) in the direction of the force
Potential energy:
Stored energy available to do work
Gravitational: Due to height/position of mass OR distance from mass OR moving mass from
one point to another
Elastic: Due to deformation/stretching/compressing
Electrical: Charge moved due to work done in electric field
Internal energy
Sum of (random) kinetic and potential energies
Of the atoms/molecules of the substance
Power: Work done per unit time / energy transferred per unit time / rate of work done
Density: Mass/Volume
Pressure: Force / area
Brownian motion
Haphazard / random / erratic / zigzag movement
Of (smoke) particles
Similarities between the processes of evaporation and boiling
(Phase) change from liquid to gas / vapour
Thermal energy required to maintain constant temperature
Differences between the processes of evaporation and boiling
Evaporation takes place at surface
Boiling takes place in body of the liquid
Evaporation occurs at all temperatures
Boiling occurs at one temperature
Atoms / ions / particles in a regular arrangement / lattice
Long range order / orderly pattern
(Lattice) repeats itself
Long chain molecules / chains of monomers
Some cross-linking between chains / tangled chains
Disordered arrangement of molecules / atoms / particles
Any ordering is short-range
Assumptions of the simple kinetic model of a gas
Large number of molecules / atoms / particles
Molecules in random motion
No intermolecular forces
Elastic collisions
Time of collisions much less than time between collisions
Volume of molecules much less than volume of containing vessel
Difference in densities in solids, liquids and gases
Density in solids and liquids similar
Spacing in solids and liquids about the same
Density in gases much less as spacing in gases much greater
Hookes law:Extension is proportional to force / load
Elastic limit:Point beyond which material does not return to the original length / shape / size
When the load / force is removed
Elastic deformation
Change of shape / size / length / dimension
When (deforming) force is removed, returns to original shape / size
Plastic deformation:When the load is removed then the wire / body object does not return to its
original shape / Length
Stress: Force / (cross-sectional) area
Strain: Extension / original length or change in length / original length
Young modulus: Stress / strain
Ultimate tensile stress
Maximum force / original cross-sectional area
Wire is able to support / before it breaks
Transverse waves have vibrations that are perpendicular / normal
To the direction of energy travel
Longitudinal waves have vibrations that are parallel
To the direction of energy travel
Vibrations are in a single direction
Applies to transverse waves
Normal to direction of wave energy travel
Normal to direction of wave propagation
Distance moved by wave energy / wavefront during one cycle of the source
Or minimum distance between two points with the same phase or between adjacent crests or
Frequency of a progressive wave: Number of oscillations per unit time of the source / of a
point on the wave
Speed of a progressive wave: Speed at which energy is transferred / speed of wavefront
Principle of superposition
(When the waves meet) the resultant displacement is the sum of the
Displacements of each wave
Diffractionof a wave
When a wave passes through a slit / by an edge
The wave spreads out / changes direction
When two (or more) waves meet (at a point)
There is a change in overall intensity / displacement
Distinct features of waves that are common to all regions of the electromagnetic spectrum
All same speed in a vacuum /all travel in a vacuum
Transverse/can be polarised
Undergo diffraction/interference/superposition
Can be reflected/refracted
Show properties of particles
Oscillating electric and magnetic fields
Transfer energy/progressive
Not affected by electric and magnetic fields
Coherent: Constant phase difference (between waves)
Conditions that must be satisfied in order that two waves interfere
Both transverse/longitudinal/same type
Meet at a point
Same direction of polarization
Diffraction of a wave
When a wave (front) is incident on an edge
Or an obstacle/slit/gap
Wave bends into the geometrical
Shadow/changes direction/spreads
Node: Position (along wave) where amplitude of vibration is a minimum
Antinode:Position (along wave) where amplitude of vibration is a maximum
Features of a stationary wave that distinguish it from a progressive wave
No energy transfer
Amplitude varies along its length/nodes and antinodes
Neighbouring points (in inter-nodal loop) vibrate in phase
Principle of superposition to explain the formation of a stationary wave
Two waves travelling (along the same line) in opposite directions overlap/meet
Same frequency / wavelength
Resultant displacement is the sum of displacements of each wave /
Produces nodes and antinodes
Electric field strength: Force per unit positive charge (acting on a stationary charge)
Electric field:Region/area where a charge experiences a force
Electric charge: Current time
Coulomb: Charge flowing per second pass a point at which the current is one ampere.
Electric current: Movement/flow of charged particles
Electric potential difference: Work done per unit charge (transferred)
Electromotive force (e.m.f.):Energy converted from chemical to electrical when charge flows
through cell or round complete circuit
Volt: Potential difference between two points in a circuit in which one joule of energy is
converted from electrical to non-electrical energy when one coulomb passes from one point to
the other.
Electromotive force (e.m.f.) of a cell and the potential difference
Both measure (energy / work) / charge
For e.m.f., transfer of chemical energy to electrical energy
For p.d., transfer of electrical energy to thermal energy / other forms
Electrical resistance: Potential difference / current
Internal resistance: (resistance of the cell) causing loss of voltage or energy loss in cell
Ohm: Volt / ampere
Ohms Law: The potential difference across a component is proportional to the current in it
providing physical conditions stay constant
Kirchhoffs first law: Sum of currents into a junction = sum of currents out of junctionLinked
to conservation of charge
Kirchhoffs second law:Sum of e.m.f.s = sum of p.d.s around a loop/circuitLinked to
conservation of energy
Radioactive decay
Nucleus emits -particles or -particles and/or -radiation
To form a different / more stable nucleus
Spontaneous radioactive decay
Thehalf-life / count rate / rate of decay / activity is the same no matter what
External factors / environmental factors or two named factors such as
Temperature and pressure changes are applied
Randomradioactive decay
The observations of the count rate / count rate / rate of decay / activity / radioactivity during
decay shows variations / fluctuations
Different forms of same element
Nuclei have same number of protons
Different numbers of neutrons (in the nucleus)
Quantities that are conserved in a nuclear reaction
Proton number
Nucleon number
Deduction from the fact that most -particles were deviated through angles of less than 10
Nucleus is small
In comparison to size of atom
Deduction from the fact that a very small proportion of the -particles was deviated
through angles greater than 90
Nucleus is massive/heavy/dense
And charged
-particle and a -particle
-particle: helium nucleus or contains 2 protons + 2 neutrons
-particle: electron
speed < speed
discrete values of speed/energy, continuous spectrum
Either ionising power >> ionizing power
Or range << range
positive, negative
mass > mass
Properties of -particles
Range is a few cm in air/sheet of thin paper
Speed up to 0.1 c
Causes dense ionisation in air
Positively charged 2e
Mass 4u
Constant energy
Absorbed by thin paper or few cm of air (3 cm 8 cm)
Highly ionizing
Deflected in electric/magnetic fields
Properties of -particles
Can be deflected by electric and magnetic fields or negatively charged /
Absorbed by few (1 4) mm of aluminum / 0.5 to 2 m or metres for range in air /
Speed up to 0.99c / range of speeds / energies
Ahmed Aqdam Tariq