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# Advancing Physics Revision Guide CD-ROM

## Formulae, Symbols, Units and Data

Contents
• Formulae and relationships
• Quantities, symbols and units
• Useful data

## Formulae and relationships

A booklet containing the values of physical data and mathematical formulae is supplied by
OCR for Advancing Physics examinations. It is available from the OCR Web site, or from the
Advancing Physics Web site at:
http://advancingphysics.iop.org/support_materials/student/PhysicsEquations.pdf

## focal length 1 1 1 Cartesian convention

= + (object distance u, image distance
v u f
v, focal length f)
refractive index speed of light in vacuo (refractive index n )
n =
speed of light in medium

## noise limitation on Vtotal V (maximum bits per sample b, total

maximum bits per b = log2 ( ) or 2 b = total voltage variation Vtotal, noise
Vnoise Vnoise
sample voltage Vnoise

Electricity

I= interval Δt)
Δt

V= charge Q)
Q

## power P = IV = I2R (power P, potential difference V,

current I, resistance R)

## resistance and V I (resistance R, conductance G,

conductance R= G= potential difference V, current I)
I V
G = G1 + G2 + ....... (conductors in parallel)

## conductivity and σA ρl (conductivity σ, resistivity ρ , cross

resistivity G= R= section A, length l )
l A

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## capacitance Q (potential difference V, charge Q,

C= capacitance C)
V

energy stored = 21 QV = 21 CV 2

discharge of Q = Q0 e
− t RC (initial charge Q0, time constant RC,
capacitor time t)

τ = RC (time constant τ)

Materials

## density M (density ρ, mass M, volume V)

ρ=
V
Hooke's law F = kx (tension F, spring constant k,
extension x)
stress, strain and tension
the Young stress =
cross - sectional area
modulus

extension
strain =
original length

stress
Young modulus =
strain

efficiency =
energy input

## energy ΔE = mcΔθ (change in energy ΔE, mass m,

specific thermal capacity c,
temperature change Δθ)
Boltzmann factor ( −E
kT
) (energy difference E, kelvin
e temperature T, Boltzmann constant
k)

Waves

wavelength λ)

## nλ = d sinθ (on a distant screen from a diffraction

grating or double slit; slit spacing d ,
order n, wavelength λ, angles of
maxima θ)

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Oscillations

d 2x ⎛k ⎞ (time t, acceleration a,
= a = −⎜⎜ ⎟⎟ x = −(2πf ) 2 x force per unit displacement k, mass
dt 2 ⎝m⎠ m,
displacement x, frequency f)

## x = A cos 2 π ft (amplitude A, time t)

x = A sin 2 π ft

T = 2π m (periodic time T)
k

1 (frequency f)
f =
T
total energy E = 21 kA 2 = 21 mv 2 + 21 kx 2

Gases

## ideal gas equation pV = nRT (pressure p, volume V, number of

moles n, molar gas constant R,
temperature T)
kinetic theory of 1 (pressure p, volume V, number of
gases pV = Nmc 2 molecules N, mass of molecule m,
3
2
mean square speed c )

## equations for s = ut + 21 at 2 (initial speed u, final speed v, time

uniformly taken t, acceleration a, distance
accelerated v = u + at travelled s)
motion v 2 = u 2 + 2as

## momentum p = mv (momentum p, mass m, velocity v)

power = Fv (force F, velocity v)
force = rate of change of momentum

## impulse = FΔt (force F)

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components of a F
vector in two
perpendicular
directions

F cos

## work = Fx (force F, component of

displacement in the direction of
the force x)
for circular mv 2 (radius of circle r )
v2
motion a= F=
r r

Special relativity

γ=
v2
1−
c2

## relativistic p = γmv (momentum p, relativistic factor γ,

momentum mass m, velocity v)
relativistic energy Etotal = γErest (total energy Etotal, relativistic factor γ,
rest energy Erest)
Etotal = γmc2

= −λ N
Δt

## N = N 0 e − λt (initial number N0)

ln 2 (half-life T1/2 )
T1 =
2 λ

## absorbed dose = energy

deposited per unit mass
dose equivalent = absorbed
dose × quality factor
risk = probability ×
consequence
expected random variation in
N random counts is of the
order N

## mass-energy Erest = mc2 (rest energy Erest, mass m, speed of

relationship

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light c)
energy-frequency E = hf (photon energy E, Planck constant h,
relationship for frequency f)
photons

## h (wavelength λ, Planck constant h,

λ= momentum p;
p
NOTE p = mv for slow moving
particles, p = E / c for photons and
particles moving close to speed of
light)

## for all fields dV ΔV (potential V, distance r , potential

field strength = − ≈−
dr Δr gradient dV / dr )

## gravitational fields F (gravitational field strength g,

g= gravitational force F, mass m )
m

## GM F = − GMm (gravitational potential Vgrav, radial

Vgrav = − component of force F, gravitational
r r2
constant G, masses m and M,
distance r )
electric fields F (electric field strength E, electric force
E= F, charge q )
q

## kQ kQq (electric potential Velec, radial

Velec = F= 2
r r component of force F, electric force
constant k, charges q and Q,
distance r )

Electromagnetism

## force on a current F = ILB (flux density B, current I, length L )

carrying conductor
force on a moving F = qvB (charge q , velocity perpendicular to
charge field v )

## d (NΦ ) (induced emf ε, flux Φ, number of

ε=− turns linked N, time t)
dt

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## Quantities, symbols and units

The following list illustrates the symbols and units which are used in Advancing Physics, and
in the AS and A2 question papers.

## Quantity Usual symbols Usual unit

absolute temperature T K
acceleration a m s–2
acceleration of free fall g m s–2
activity of radioactive source A Bq
angle θ °, rad

## angular frequency ω rad s–1

angular speed ω rad s–1
amount of substance n mol
area A m2
atomic mass ma kg, u

## Avogadro constant L, NA mol–1

Boltzmann constant k J K–1
capacitance C F
Celsius temperature θ °C

conductance G S
conductivity σ S m–1
decay constant λ s–1
density ρ kg m–3
displacement x or s m
distance d,r,x m
electric charge Q, q C
electric current I A

## electric field strength E N C–1, V m–1

electric potential V V
electric potential difference V V
electromotive force (emf) ε V

## electron mass me kg, u

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## Quantity Usual symbols Usual unit

elementary charge e C
energy E, W J
energy transferred thermally (heating) Q J
force F N
frequency f Hz
gravitational constant G N kg–2 m2
gravitational field strength g N kg–1
half-life t1/2 s

kinetic energy EK J

length l m
magnetic flux Φ Wb

## magnetic flux density B T

mass m kg
molar gas constant R J K–1 mol–1
momentum p kg m s–1
neutron mass mn kg, u

neutron number N

nucleon number A

number N, n, m

## number density (number per unit volume) n m–3

period T s
permeability of free space μ0 H m–1

## Planck constant h J s or J Hz–1

potential energy EP J

power P W
pressure p Pa
proton mass mp kg, u

proton number Z

resistance R W
resistivity ρ Wm

## specific thermal capacity c or C J kg–1 K–1

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## Quantity Usual symbols Usual unit

specific latent heat L J kg–1
speed u, v, c m s–1
speed of electromagnetic waves c m s–1
spring constant k N m–1
strain σ fraction or per cent

stress ε Pa

time t s
time constant τ s

velocity u, v, c m s–1
volume V m3
wavelength λ m

work W J
work function energy W J, eV
Young modulus E Pa

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Useful data
This list of data is more comprehensive than lists issued with examination papers.
Values are given to three significant figures, except where more – or less – are useful.

Physical constants

k =
4πε 0

## gravitational force constant G 6.67 × 10–11 N m2 kg–2

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Other data

pressure (stp)

stp

## gravitational field strength g 9.81 N kg–1 (or m s–2)

at the Earth's surface in
the UK

Conversion factors

## sinθ ≈ tan θ ≈ θ area of circle = πr 2

and cos θ ≈ 1 for small θ

## ln(ekx) = kx surface area of sphere = 4πr 2

4 3
volume of sphere = πr
3

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Prefixes

1012 T

109 G

106 M

103 k

10–3 m

10–6 μ

10–9 n

10–12 p

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