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2002 National Qualifying Examination

Time Allowed:
Reading Time: 15 minutes
Examination Time: 120 minutes


ƒ Attempt ALL questions.

ƒ Permitted materials: Any Calculator.
ƒ Do not answer any questions on this question paper.
ƒ Make sure that you attach your answer scripts to your completed cover sheet.
ƒ Particular attention should be paid to giving clear diagrams and explanations.
ƒ All numerical answers must have units.


SECTION A 20 multiple choice questions 20 marks

SECTION B 3 short answer questions 18 marks
SECTION C 1 long answer question 12 marks

Total marks for the paper 50 marks

Australian Science Olympiads PHYSICS 2002 NQE

Answer ALL questions using the Multiple Choice Answer Sheet provided.
As a guide, you should spend about 45 minutes on this section.

Q1 The distance from the Sun to the Moon is 400 times greater than the distance from the Earth to the
Moon. The Sun is 300,000 times more massive than the Earth. The gravitational force of the Sun on
the Moon is how many times that of the Earth on the Moon.

A. (1 / 400)2
B. (300,000 / 400)2
C. (300,000)2 / 400
D. 300,000 / 4002
E. 300,000 / 400

Q2 The following household appliances are powered by the 240V mains supply. Which has the greatest
electrical resistance?

A. A 3 kW bar heater.
B. A 1 kW bar heater.
C. A 1 kW incandescent floodlight.
D. A 100 W incandescent light.
E. A 25 W incandescent light.

The following information relates to questions 3 & 4.

A design for a hydrogen gas tank for a car uses a 0.33 m piston to keep the gas in the tank at a constant
pressure of 30 MN/m (mega Newtons per square metre). At this pressure the chemical energy stored in the
hydrogen and available to power the car is 3 GJ per cubic metre. At the filling station, the tank is filled with
hydrogen at constant pressure and temperature, which causes the piston to move by 1m.

Q3 How much chemical energy is put in the tank?

A. 10 kJ
B. 30 kJ
C. 10 MJ
D. 30 MJ
E. 1 GJ

Q4 How much energy is required to force the hydrogen into the tank?

A. 10 kJ
B. 30 kJ hydrogen
C. 10 MJ hydrogen piston
in tank
D. 30 MJ
E. 1 GJ

Q5 A ball is thrown up into the air. At the highest point of its trajectory the ball:

A. is accelerating downwards.
B. has zero acceleration.
C. is accelerating upwards
D. is still moving upwards.
E. the gravitational force equals that due to air resistance.

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Australian Science Olympiads PHYSICS 2002 NQE

Q6 A person holding a bag is in an elevator when the cable snaps. The elevator falls freely for many
seconds before forces other than gravity, such as air resistance, become significant. During this
period of free fall, the person lets go of his bag. The person sees the bag:

A. Fall to the floor of the elevator.

B. Rise up to the roof of the elevator.
C. Neither rise nor fall, just float where it is.
D. Move in the direction of the Sun.
E. Rise or fall depending on the current tide.
Q7 Television signals are carried by radio waves, which travel at the speed of light: 3 x 10 m/s. The
frequency of a certain television channel is 600 MHz. The corresponding wavelength is therefore:

A. 5 km
B. 50 m
C. 5m
D. 50 cm
E. 5 cm

Q8 A television picture is built up by scanning successive horizontal lines across the screen. Each line
takes about 50 microseconds to scan. Ghosting refers to a weak horizontally displaced repetition of
the main picture. These occur when the TV displays an additional delayed signal, due to reflection
from an object such as a hill. If the ghost picture is displaced by 10% of the screen width, what is the
additional path length of the reflected signal?

A. 15 km
B. 1.5 km
C. 15 m
D. 1.5 m
E. 15 cm

Q9 An electrical power company has to decide whether they can transmit 2 kV power more efficiently
through a single steel cable with cross sectional area 6 cm , or through two steel cables in parallel,
each with cross sectional area 3 cm , or through three steel cables in parallel, each with cross
sectional area 2 cm . The most efficient system, i.e. that with the least resistance, will be:

A. The three cable system.

B. The two cable system.
C. The one cable system.
D. They are all equally efficient.
E. The most efficient system depends on the total current.

Q10 A space walking astronaut, floating freely in space at rest relative to his rocket, watches the rocket's
engine briefly ignite. The statements below refer to the change in the rocket's kinetic energy and
momentum, and to the kinetic energy and momentum of the exhaust gases produced, as measured by
the astronaut. Which one of the following statements is correct?

A. The magnitude of the rocket's momentum is greater than that of the gases.
B. The magnitude of the gases' momentum is greater than that of the rocket.
C. The kinetic energy of the rocket is greater than the gases' kinetic energy.
D. The kinetic energy of the gases is greater than the rockets’ kinetic energy.
E. The kinetic energy of the gases equals the rocket’s kinetic energy.

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Australian Science Olympiads PHYSICS 2002 NQE

Q11 A U shaped tube of constant cross-sectional area is filled with equal masses of oil and water. These
do not mix and stay in the left and right halves of the tube respectively. The water has twice the
density of the oil. The diagram best representing this is (water is the darker shade on the left):

A. B. C. D. E.

water oil

Q12 A loudspeaker producing a continuous, single frequency tone is set up outside, in a large field. A
person with a sound frequency meter measures the frequency from some distance away. A strong
wind blowing from the person to the loudspeaker comes up. The frequency of the sound measured
by the meter

A. increases in proportion to the wind speed.

B. decreases in proportion to the wind speed.
C. stays the same.
D. increases in proportion to the square of the wind speed.
E. decreases in proportion to the square of the wind speed.

Q13 A slab of high quality flat glass, with parallel faces, is placed in the path of a parallel light beam
before it is focussed to a spot by a lens. The glass is rotated slightly back and forth from the vertical
orientation, about an axis coming out of the page, as shown in the diagram. According to ray optics
the effect on the focussed spot is:

A. There is no effect on the spot

B. The spot moves towards then away from the lens.
C. The spot moves up and down parallel to the lens.
D. The spot blurs out of focus. lens rotating glass
E. The spot dims.
Q14 A container is evacuated with a vacuum pump to a pressure of 10 atmospheres. The net pressure on
the container's walls, due to the difference between atmospheric pressure and that within the
container, is then 10 N/cm . If the pressure in the container is reduced by another factor of one
thousand, what is the net pressure on the container's walls?
A. 10 kN/cm
B. 10 N/cm
C. 10 mN/cm
D. 10 N/m
E. 0 N/m

Q15 A slider with mass m moves without friction of any kind on a track. The track has a valley, which is
height hL below the level track to the left, and height hR below that to the right, see diagram. The
slider is launched from the left with speed v towards the valley. The slider will undergo simple
harmonic motion in the valley if:

A. hR > hL (as shown in the diagram)

mv /2 < mg(hR - hL)
mv /2 < mg hR
D. mv /2 < mg hL
E. The slider will not undergo simple harmonic motion in the valley.

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Australian Science Olympiads PHYSICS 2002 NQE

Q16 An electrically isolated, hollow, conducting sphere has a small positively

charged ball suspended by an insulating rod from its inside surface, see diagram.
This causes the inner surface of the sphere to become negatively charged. When
the ball is centred in the sphere the electric field outside, and far from, the
conducting sphere is approximately: +
A. Zero
B. The same as if the sphere wasn't there.
C. Twice what it would be if the sphere wasn't there.
D. Half what if would be if the sphere wasn't there.
E. Equal in magnitude but opposite in direction to what it would be if the sphere wasn't there.

Q17 Water in a glass container is observed to bend up at the walls, forming a concave meniscus. However
mercury bends down, forming a convex meniscus. In other words, the surface of the water is higher
at the glass than elsewhere, while that of the mercury is lower. Consider two hollow glass spheres:
one containing water which fills about 10% of its volume, and the other containing a similar volume
of mercury. In the zero gravity environment of the space shuttle:
A. The water and mercury float freely inside the spheres.
B. The water forms a layer on the glass while the mercury floats.
C. The mercury forms a layer on the glass while the water floats.
D. The water and mercury both form a layer on the glass.
E. In each case about half will float and the rest will forma layer on the glass.

Q18 A perfectly absorbing, black , solid sphere with constant density and radius R, hovers stationary
above the sun. This is because the gravitational attraction of the sun is balanced by the pressure due
to the sun's light. Light pressure P is given by the intensity I of the absorbed light divided by the
speed of light c=3x10 m/s: P=I/c. Assume the sun is far enough away that it closely approximates a
point source of light. The distance from the centre of the sun at which the sphere hovers is:
A. proportional to R .
B. proportional to R.
C. proportional to 1/R
D. proportional to 1/R .
E. independent of R.

Q19 Small blocks of copper and steel are left out overnight. In the morning, the copper feels colder to the
touch than the steel. This is because:
A. The copper's temperature is lower.
B. Copper is denser.
C. Copper is a better thermal conductor.
D. Copper is a better electrical conductor.
E. Copper is a better reflector of light.

Q20 The ideal gas law states that the product of the pressure P exerted by an ideal gas and the volume V
to which it is confined equals the product of Boltzmann's constant k, the number of particles N, and
the temperature T of the gas: PV = kNT. Particles can be either atoms or molecules. The average
molecular weight of the particles making up air is 28.9 g/mol. (Molecular weight is the mass in
grams of a mole (6x10 ) of particles.) The molecular weight of hydrogen particles (H2 molecules) is
2 g/mol. The molecular weight of helium particles (atoms) is 4 g/mol.
3 3
A balloon filled with 1 m of hydrogen can lift how much more weight than when filled with 1 m of
A. About the same
B. 2 times.
C. 4 times
D. 28.9/4 times
E. 28.9/2 times.

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Australian Science Olympiads PHYSICS 2002 NQE

Attempt ALL questions using your own paper.
As a guide, you should spend about 45 minutes on this section.

Q21 A person throws a shotput ball with speed v, at an angle A with the horizontal. The ball is launched
from the height h above the ground. This would be shoulder height, if the ball were thrown from the
shoulder in the usual way.

Derive an algebraic expression for the horizontal distance D travelled by the ball before it hits the
ground. Ignore air resistance. [6 marks]

Q22 Three fixed equal positive charges are arranged on a horizontal table
to form an equilateral triangle: diagram (a) (view from above).
+ (a)

(a) Sketch the electric field lines in the plane of the triangle, i.e.
copy diagram (a) and add the field lines. Show the lines both
inside and outside the triangle formed by the charges. You do
not need to be a skilled artist : marks will be awarded for
showing the structure and symmetry of the field. You may use
words to clarify your sketch. [3 marks]
+ +
A vertical, insulating guide wire is fixed through the geometrical + (b)
centre of the triangle: diagram (b) (side view). Under the influence
of gravity, a light, positively charged bead slides on the wire with a
very small amount of friction. The bead is released at rest from a
position just above the plane of the triangle, and immediately + +
accelerates upwards.

(b) Describe, in words, the subsequent motion of the bead. [3 marks]

Q23 On a windless day the sound waves coming from a bell on the ground can be represented as in the
diagram. The curves are wavefronts, i.e. lines formed by the wave's maxima or minima. The arrows
are rays, which are perpendicular to the wavefronts.

(a) Redraw the diagram, including wave fronts and rays, to

show the effect of a wind blowing from the right to the
left, with a speed much smaller than the speed of sound.
For clarity, please mark the wind direction on your
diagram. You may have to exaggerate effects to make
them clear on your diagram. You may use words to clarify
your sketch. [2 marks] bell ground

Wind speed generally increases with height above the ground.

This is called “wind shear”. Right at ground level, the wind-
speed is almost zero.

(b) Redraw the diagram, as in part (a), to show that wind shear bends the sound rays. [2 marks]

(c) People report that they can hear the bell from much further away when the wind is blowing
from the bell towards them. They also report the sound "disappearing" much closer to the bell
when the wind is blowing from them towards it. Use the results of part (b) to suggest an
explanation for this. [2 marks]

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Australian Science Olympiads PHYSICS 2002 NQE

This question is worth 12 marks.
As a guide, you should spend about 30 minutes on this section.

Q24 A slider is released with velocity v, from

height h above the lowest point of the
frictionless track shown in the diagram. The
track has a circular loop of diameter D, the
bottom of which is the track’s lowest point.

(a) Explain the physical principles which

determine whether the slider can
complete the loop without losing
contact with the track.
[4 marks]

(b) Derive an algebraic expression for the minimum height hmin that ensures the slider can complete
the loop without losing contact with the track.
[4 marks]

(c) Let the loop have diameter D=1 m, and the slider be released with velocity v=2 m/s towards the
loop. Obtain a numerical value for hmin.
[2 marks]

(d) Some rollercoasters have loops which are more elliptical than
circular: the loop has a greater curvature at the top than at the sides,
see diagram. For a fixed height of the top of the loop, what effect
would this shape have on the minimum speed of the rollercoaster.
[2 marks]

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