Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner


1 xf = xi + (vx )i ∆t + ax (∆t)2 (1.2) 2 vf = vi + a∆t (1.1) (vf )2 = (vi )2 + 2a∆x (1.3)


Projectile Motion
yf = yi + (vy )2 − 4.9(∆t)2 i (2.1)


Newton’s Second Law
m= F = ma (3.1) F a F a= m (3.2) (3.3)


fs = µs |n| fk = µk |n| (4.1) (4.2) Rolling 0.02 0.002 n/a n/a n/a n/a

On test, use rolling friction for wheels, etc. Static Kinetic Rubber on Concrete 1.00 0.80 0.60 Steel on Steel (dry) 0.80 Steel on Steel (lubricated) 0.10 0.05 Wood on Wood 0.50 0.20 Wood on Snow 0.12 0.06 Ice on Ice 0.10 0.03


Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner


Circular Motion

All regular motion equations can be expressed in terms of angular motion by replacing v with ω, x with θ, and ax with α. Common Variable Definitions Apparent Weight in Circular Motion ac = centripetal acceleration (Fnet )bottom = Fc = n − w at = tangential acceleration (5.10) α = angular acceleration a = centripetal + tangential acceleration (Fnet )top = Fc = n + w Fc = centripetal force (5.11) v = tangential velocity (wapparent )bottom = n = w + Fc ω = angular velocity (5.12) T = period (wapparent )top = n = Fc − w f = frequency (5.13) (5.14) 1 (5.1) Maximum Walking Speed, where r is f= T leg length, The average leg length is 2πrad ∆θ ω= = (5.2) 0.7 m. T ∆t √ (5.15) vmax = gr v = ωr (5.3) v2 = ω2 r r mv 2 Fc = r 2π rpm radians per second = 60 60 radians per second rpm = 2π at = αr ac = (5.4) (5.5) (5.6) (5.7) (5.8) (5.9)


Gravity and Orbits
Satellites and Orbits, where v is the tangential acceleration of the satellite, M is the mass of the larger object, and R is the radius of the object (r is total

F2on1 = F1on2 =

Gm1 m2 r2 w = mg Gmobject g= 2 robject

(6.1) (6.2) (6.3)


Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner

orbit radius, including R). FM onm = GM m mv2 = ma = 2 r r (6.4) v= GM r (6.5)


gR when in very low orbit. (6.6) T2 = ( 4π 2 3 )r GM (6.7)



Note that only force that is applied tangentially (that is, perpendicular to the axis) is applied as torque. The rest (that is, force parallel to the axis) is ignored in torque calculations, although it could move the object. τ = rF sin φ (7.1)


Rigid Bodies

When torque is exerted on a rigid body with moment of inertia I,

τnet = Iα The center of gravity is calculated as follows: xcm = x1 m1 + x2 m2 + x3 m3 . . . m1 + m2 + m3 . . .



The moment of inertia of an object is calculated by summing the moment of inertia of all the points inside the object: I= mr2 (7.4)


Misc. Torque

When an object is rolling, its velocity can be calculated by:

vcenter = ωR vedge = 2vcenter

(7.5) (7.6)


Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner



When an object is in equilibrium, the following equations have to be satisfied. Fx = (F1 )x + (F2 )x · · · = 0 Fy = (F1 )y + (F2 )y · · · = 0 Fnet = F1 + F2 · · · = 0 τ = τ1 τ2 · · · = 0 (8.1) (8.2) (8.3) (8.4)


Springs and Elastic Materials

Hooke’s Law states that a spring force fsp is proportional to the change ∆x, with the modifier being k, called the ”spring constant”. This equation breaks down when very large forces are applied. Eventually, an object will stretch a disproportionately large length and eventually break. The stress which causes the object to break is called it’s tensile strength. (Fsp )x = −k∆x (9.1)

Here are various transformation of elasticity equations, given length L, restoring force F , Young’s modulus Y (analogous to density for materials), change in length ∆L, and cross-sectional area A. ∆L F =Y A L YA F = ∆L L F/A Y = ∆L/L YA k= L F stress = A ∆L strain = L

(9.2) (9.3) (9.4) (9.5) (9.6) (9.7)

When an object is bending from force at one end while remaining stationary at the other end (such as a beam), the restoring force F is given by: Y wt3 )d (9.8) 4L3 where L is length, w is width, t is thickness, and d is deflection (the distance that the beam is bent). Note that the section in parenthesis is serving as a F =( 4

Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner

spring constant and that this equation is otherwise the same as Hooke’s Law (Eq. 9.1)


Impulse and Momentum

Definitions of Impulse and Momentum (Note that Impulse is the area under the impulse curve of Newtons vs. seconds.) Impulse J = Favg ∆t Momentum p = mv Impulse-Momentum Theorem and Transformations J = pf − pi = ∆p pf = pi + J (10.3) (10.4) (10.1) (10.2)

The following formula can be used to calculate average force (Note that this is a transformation of the definition of impulse, Eq. 10.1) This equation also only works when pf = 0, such as when catching a water balloon. Favg = − pi ∆t (10.5)


Conservation Laws

These laws are mostly used for identities; that is, you can use them to replace one expression in an equation with another that will better allow you to solve it. Another way of thinking about it is that these provide limitations for your equations’ variables. pf = pi mvf = mvi vf = vi if mass is constant. (10.6) (10.7) (10.8)

Note that in two dimensions, this must also be true for both the x and y components of momentum: (px )f = (px )i (Py )f = (Py )i (10.9) (10.10)

When your system is not closed (has external forces acting on it), the total momentum change in the system is given as: ∆p = Fnet ∆t (10.11) 5

Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner


Angular Momentum

Angular momentum L of an object with moment of inertia I and angular velocity ω is given as: L = Iω (10.12)

Also, there is an angular equivalent for Eq. 10.1, where ∆L, or the change in angular momentum L, is the angular equivalent of impulse J. τnet ∆t = ∆L (10.13)

Conservation of angular momentum can only be found if τnet = 0. Thus: Lf = Li If ωf = Ii ωi (10.14) (10.15)


Gravitational Potential U = mgy mv 2 1 Rotational Kinetic Krot = Iω 2 2 1 2 Elastic Potential Us = kx 2 Kinetic K = Thermal (see Eq. 13.3)Eth = N Kavg = 3 N kB T 2

(11.1) (11.2) (11.3) (11.4) (11.5)


Misc. Conservation and Energy

Velocity of perfectly elastic particles involved in a collision (only works when particle 2 is at rest): (v1x )f = m1 /m2 (v1x )i m1 + m2 2m1 (v2x )f = (v2x )i m1 + m2 (12.1) (12.2)

Work is defined as force times distance. It has a unit of joules J = one N/m W = F|| d = F d cos θ (12.3)

Power is defined as work (or change in energy) per second. It has a unit of watts (W = one J/s) ∆E W P = = (12.4) ∆t ∆t 6

Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner


kB = Boltzmann’s Constant = 1.38 ∗ 10−23 J/K T = temperature (K) N = Number of atoms Kavg = avg. kinetic energy W = work (J) Q = heat (K?)

Common Variables:

General-Use Definitions: e= what you get what you have to pay T = TC + 273 (13.1) (13.2)

Thermal Energy is the measure of the activity of atoms in an object, and is directly proportional to temperature. The thermal energy and the change (∆Eth ) of an ideal gas with N atoms and temperature T can be given as: Eth = N Kavg = ∆Eth = The temperature of an ideal gas: 2Kavg (13.5) 3kB First Law of Thermodynamics: Any change in a system’s total energy goes into either work W done by (or to, in the case of negative numbers?) the system, or the heat Q produced by the system. It is also given in its general form which includes all energy types. T = ∆Eth = Q + W ∆K + ∆Ug + ∆Us + ∆Eth · · · = Q + W (13.6) (13.7) 3 N kB T 2 (13.3) (13.4)

3 N kB ∆T 2


Atomic Models

Average kinetic energy of atoms in a material is given as 1 1 2 m(v 2 )avg = mvrms 2 2 3 = T kB by Eq. 13.3 2

Kavg = or Kavg

(13.8) (13.9)


Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner

The speed of a typical atom (it’s root mean square speed) is: vrms = or vrms = (v 2 )avg Kavg by Eq. 13.8 1 2m (13.10) (13.11)

Note that (v 2 )avg is the average of the squared velocity, not the square of the average velocity.


Heat Engine
Heat Engine Wout = QH − QC (13.12)

Output of a heat engine:

Efficiency of a heat engine: QH − QC Wout = QH QH Theoretical maximum efficiency of a heat engine: e= emax = 1 − Tc Th (13.13)



Heat Pump
Heat Pump QH = QC + Win (13.15) COP is Effectively what e is (see Eq. 13.1)

Output QH of a heat pump:

Coefficient of Performance (analogous to efficiency) of a heat pump: QC Win QH when heating: COP = Win Maximum Possible Coefficient of Performance: when cooling: COP = when cooling: COPmax = (13.16) (13.17)

TC (13.18) TH − TC TH when heating: COPmax = (13.19) TH − TC Entropy is the probability that a certain state of a system will occur. Ordered states have very low entropy, while random states have high entropy. Second Law of Thermodynamics: The entropy of an isolated system never decreases. The entropy either increases until the system reaches equilibrium, or, if the system is in equilibrium, remains constant. 8

see p.360 for more info

Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner



The restoring force of a spring or spring-like object can be found with Hooke’s Law, Eq. 9.1, which can be rewritten as F = kA, where A is the amplitude of the oscillation. Equivalently, one could transform the equation to solve for k = F or A = F . See section 9 for more information on calculating A k restoring force given physical attributes of the spring, such as length and crosssectional area.


Simple Harmonic Motion for Objects
Note that f = 1/T , so these equations are the reciprocal of each other.

Spring SHM: Frequency and period for simple harmonic motion of mass m on spring with spring constant k f= 1 2π k m m k (14.1) (14.2)

T = 2π

Pendulum SHM: Frequency and period for simple harmonic motion for pendulum of length L f= 1 2π g L L g (14.3) (14.4)

T = 2π

Physical Pendulum SHM: Frequency and period for SHM of a physical pendulum with mass m, moment of inertia I, and a center of gravity that is d far from the pivot. f= 1 2π mgd I I mgd (14.5) (14.6)

T = 2π


SHM Sinusoidal Descriptions

For amplitude A, frequency f , and period T , simple harmonic motion can be expressed in terms of sinusoidal functions of time t. Position is a cosine function given by: t x(t) = A cos(2πf t) = A cos(2π ) T (14.7)


Physics Formulae

By Luke Turner

Velocity is an inverted sine function given by: t v(t) = −vmax sin(2πf t) = −vmax sin(2π ) T where vmax = 2πf A Acceleration is an inverted cosine function given by: t a(t) = −amax cos(2πf t) = −amax cos(2π ) T where amax = (2πf )2 A (14.10) (14.11) (14.8) (14.9)


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