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A-level Physics Application of Physics Capacitors Cosmology How the universe may evolve Information from stellar observation Relativity Structure of the universe D.C. circuits Deformation of solids Dynamics Edexcel (Salters Horners) Electric current Electric fields Electromagnetic induction Electrons, Waves and Photons Electromagnetic waves Equation Sheet Fields, particles and frontiers of physics Capacitors Electric Fields Magnetic Fields Force, work and power Forces and Motion Forces, Fields and Energy Appendix of Formulae Electromagnetism The nuclear atom Work and energy Further dynamics Glossary of Terms Gravitational fields Health Physics Body Mechanics 1 2 3 8 8 9 11 13 14 15 16 18 20 24 28 29 30 31 33 33 34 36 39 41 42 42 43 44 46 47 48 55 58 58

Medical Imaging Kinematics Magnetic effects of current Models of the known universe Motion in a circle Nuclear and Particle Physics The Nucleus Oscillations Quantum physics Radioactivity Reflection and Refraction Scalars and vectors Stars and Galaxies Telecommunications Print Version The SI System of Units Thermal physics Wave Properties Superposition Waves

58 58 63 64 70 72 73 74 78 80 85 86 89 95 95 156 159 163 163 164

Article Sources and Contributors Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 166 168

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A-level Physics

A-level Physics
This A-level physics book is designed to follow the OCR GCE Physics A specification [1]. For the OCR B 'Advancing Physics' specification, see A-level Physics (Advancing Physics). You can use this book as a revision guide, or as another explanation of concepts that you may not fully understand. At A2 level, in the second year of study, you must take the two core A2 modules along with one of the option modules. Before you begin this course, it is recommended that you understand some of the basic concepts covered in GCSE Science, and have an understanding of the SI unit system (Appendix A). If you find any mistakes, errors, broken links, or if you are able to make the content easier to understand, please do not hesitate to edit and expand on existing content.

The old syllabus for Physics A had the following modules:

AS Modules
Force(s) and Motion Electrons, Waves and Photons Wave Properties

A2 Core Modules
Forces, Fields and Energy Unifying Concepts in Physics

A2 Option Modules
You are only required to complete one of the optional modules. Cosmology Health Physics Materials Nuclear and Particle Physics Telecommunications

The new specification contains the following modules

AS New Specification Modules

Electrons, waves and photons Mechanics

A2 New Specification Modules

The Newtonian world Fields, particles and frontiers of physics In both AS and A2, practical modules have to be completed, consisting of qualitative, quantitative and evaluative sections.

A-level Physics

Appendix A The SI System of Units Appendix B Equation Sheet Appendix C Glossary of Terms

[1] http:/ / www. ocr. org. uk/ download/ kd/ ocr_9587_kd_gce_spec. pdf

Application of Physics
Public Switch Telephone Network
The Public Switched Telephone Network, or PSTN, is the worldwide network of lines used to carry telephone calls. It is a "switched" network because a connection is made between caller and receiver before any communication begins. Originally, a physical circuit (formed via a number of switches) had to be formed between the caller and receiver, limiting the capacity of the network. This problem was resolved with the development of time division multiplexing. The first telephone exchanges (where the circuit switches were located) were operated manually by the telephone operator. This was a slow process. Over time, the human operators were replaced with electromechanical switches. These were in turn superseded by electronic switches. The telephone network can be visualised as a "hub and spokes" arrangement. When the call is made, if it is local to the exchange, then the signal is carried along a spoke to the local exchange (i.e., the hub) then routed down another spoke to the receiver. If the call is a "trunk" call (i.e., not local to the exchange) then the local exchange routes the call to the trunk exchange for onward delivery to the exchange local to the receiver. For international calls, the local exchange will route to an international gateway.

Mobile Phone
A mobile phone is a handset consisting of a radio transmitter and receiver. A number of different frequencies and encoding techniques are used (hence the need for dual, tri and quad band phones if worldwide usage is required). The handset is constantly in touch with the nearest base station via a low power signal. When a call is made or received, the handset establishes stronger radio wave link with the nearby base station. Each base station is linked to the cellular exchange by a communication cable. The cellular exchange allows entry to the PSTN. The increasing use of mobile phones does not make it possible for each mobile phone to have its own carrier frequency as the range of carrier frequencies for linking between mobile phones and base stations is limited. Hence the same carrier frequency must be used by many mobile phones at the same time (repeated cells). This is done using UHF which has a limited terrestrial range and using low power transmitters. Each base station has an omnidirectional antenna and the transmitted radio wave are powered so as to have a range approximately equal to the radius of the cell (a few Km) The advantage of operating on UHF is that the aerial of the mobile phone will be very short. Neighbouring cells will typically use different range of carrier frequencies so as to prevent interference.


Introduction When two conductive materials are separated by an insulating material, then it will behave as a Capacitor with associated Capacitance in the units of Farads (Coulombs/Volt). Intuitively, Capacitance can be interpreted as "How much charge can I shove into a material if I apply a certain voltage?" Capacitors are useful because it can store energy momentarily and dissipate the energy later, and with combination of a resistor, it is capable of "delaying" a signal.

Definition of Capacitance/Capacitor
A capacitor is usually made from two sheets of metal separated by an insulating material (such as air or ceramics). If we apply a voltage between the two sheets, there will be an associated electric field generated, and charges will accumulate on each side of the plates. We define Capacitance ( ) to be where Q is the charge that

accumulates on the plate when voltage V is applied. This can be concluded intuitively. A capacitor of impossibly high quality will be able to accumulate the maximum amount of charge with the least amount of voltage applied. The unit of capacitance is in Farad, or F for short. Another definition for capacitance is area of the plates times the permittivity, divided by the distance of the two plates from the insulating material. In other words, . This makes intuitive sense - if we make the plates

bigger, we can store more charge, and if we bring the plates closer, the tendency for the charges to attract increase, thereby increasing the electric field generated. Further, because of the nature of a capacitor, as the ability for the dielectric (in between the two plates) to restrict electrical fields (permittivity) goes up, so does the capacitance, Now, it does not mean that capacitance is a property that appears only on two sheets of metallic sheet. In fact, any piece of wire or metal would have small but non-zero associated capacitance with it. Calculating such capacitances and either exploiting them or taking necessary measures to counteract it is a big deal in engineering electric circuits.

Capacitors connected in Parallel and Series

Let's find the equivalent capacitance of capacitors in series and in parallel.

Capacitors in parallel

Fig. 3: Capacitors in parallel

Capacitance in two capacitors connected in parallel adds up, i.e.

Capacitors Not-so-rigorous proof When two capacitors are connected in parallel, then the terminals of capacitor will have the same voltage. So, if we swap the capacitors in parallel with some equivalent capacitor, it should have the same voltage drop as the either one of the parallel capacitors had. If we count the charges accumulated on the capacitors in parallel, they add up (If one capacitor had Q1 charges accumulated and the other Q2 then the equivalent charges accumulated is Q1+Q2). That means that the charges in the equivalent capacitor is the sum of charges accumulated... which means:

They are all equal, so let's call it "V". So,


...We can generalize this for more than 2 capacitors - just keep adding the effective capacitance of each capacitor. So for five capacitors, the total capacitance would be

Capacitors in series

Fig. 4: Capacitors in series

Reciprocal of Capacitance adds up for capacitor connected in series., i.e.

(Once again) Not-So-Rigorous Proof It's the exact opposite of parallel circuit. First, the voltage drop must add up (for example, if two series capacitors C1 and C2 had voltage drop of 3V and 1V, then the equivalent capacitor had better have voltage drop of 4V). What about the charge, however? The charges must remain the same in the equivalent capacitor. To illustrate, suppose two capacitors C1 and C2 are connected in series. Then if charge Q accumulates on one plate of C1, then charge of -Q would accumulate on the other plate. Conservation of charge dictates that the '-Q' must come from somewhere. That 'somewhere' is the top plate of C2. So, the top plate of C2 loses '-Q' charge, which is essentially saying that C2 accumulates charge of 'Q'. Then, the other side of C2 will have a charge '-Q'. So, if we view the system holistically, the magnitude of charge accumulated on top of C1 is the magnitude of charge on bottom of C2)... In short,

They are all equal, so let's call it "Q".

Capacitors So,


Once again, we can generalize this rule for more than 2 capacitors - just add the reciprocals!

Capacitor as an energy storage element

Capacitor, if we will, can be considered as a device that stores energy in the electric field by applying voltage across it. If we calculate the energy stored a capacitor (E) of capacitance C when voltage V is applied, we find that

(By the way, the magnetic analogue of this is called the inductor, and it possesses surprisingly similar characteristic with surprisingly similar equations.)

Not-so-rigorous Proof
The power dissipated for an electric component was defined to be P=v i where v=voltage and i=current. Current is change of charge over time, or dQ/dt. We have defined C=Q/V, so Q=CV. Since C is constant, i = dQ/dt = C dV/dt. Plug this into the equation for power, and we get:

Because power is rate at which energy is changing, (P=dW/dt), to find work W, we have to integrate with respect to time. This gives us:

Though mathematicians will be infuriated by what I'm about to say now, it usually works for most cases. If we consider derivatives like a fraction, then we note that the 'dt's will cancel out, giving us:

which gives us:

...which is the work required to store charges in a capacitor with voltage V applied, which is the energy stored in the capacitor when we apply a voltage V.


Capacitor with a Resistor (RC Circuits)

When we have a circuit with resistor and a capacitor, we have what is known as a RC circuit, which appears all the time in any electric system. It can be used to delay a signal or filter unwanted signals.

Let's consider a case where a resistor with resistance R is connected in series with a capacitor with capacitance C and a voltage source with voltage . Assume that the Capacitor at time=0 has potential difference If we take Kirchoff's Voltage Law for this circuit, what we will get is the following:

We know that the current flowing through the resistor is same as the current flowing through the capacitor. Because Q=CV for capacitor, the current i is . Replacing i, we get:


and divide by RC to get:

This is a first order differential equation. Solving this, we get:

If we then differentiate this we get:

And limiting t towards infinity gives:

If we plug this into the differential equation mentioned above, we will get:

Thus, Now, plug in the equation that we've found for V(capacitor) for time=0 to find:

Which gives us

. Combined, we get:

We will call

which gives us:


Interpretation of the Equation

At t=0, we can see that voltage of the capacitor is equal to its initial condition. We can also notice that as time approaches infinity, the exponential term gets smaller and smaller, which gives us voltage of the source. The nature of the function does not allow discontinuity, so that means that the function is slowly making a transition from V(0) to V(source). How fast? Just take the derivative. With this interpretation, RC circuit is a 'circuit that makes a smooth transition from one voltage level to another in an exponential fashion.'

Time Constant
is what is known as the "Time constant" of the RC circuit. It is a magnitude that indicates how slowly the circuit voltage is decreasing or increasing. Larger T implies longer transition between the two states.

Practical uses for Time Constant

RC circuits are mainly used to create delays and filters. Delay Let's say you were making a switch where the user had to press a button for more than three seconds. Say this device was connected to some other machinery that considered anything higher than 4.5V as "ON." Also suppose you had a 5V voltage source. With just these information, you will be able to construct a RC circuit with appropriate time constant to achieve this effect. If we assume the capacitor is initially discharged (Vc(0)=0V), then it becomes a problem of mere algebraic manipulation. Filter Remember that high RC meant smoother transition. If the voltage source was changing (as in signals that comes in from a microphone), then what would happen? Well, from waves we know that low sounds have low frequency. Low frequency means that it takes more time to change from one value to another. The opposite of that is high frequency, which changes its values rapidly. If our RC term is very high, then the RC circuit won't be able to "catch up" with the rapid transition of the high frequency. This means that the circuit will pass the low frequency signals better than the higher frequency ones. Such use of RC circuit is called a Low-pass Filter and it has important applications in signal processing.


Models of the known universe Stars and Galaxies Structure of the universe Information from stellar observation How the universe may evolve Relativity

How the universe may evolve

The question of whether the Universe is infinite or not depends crucially on the value of the quantity know as . Such a value, although not determined yet, depends basically on the rate of expansion, or the Hubble Constant, of the Universe. In simple terms, the quantity is the ratio of the density of the universe (mass per unit volume) to the critical value which determines expansion or collapse. There are three possible outcomes from this value Steady State: the Universe will continue to expand up to a point, whereupon the Universe will stay in a constant state. This would occur if = 1. Continuous Expansion: The Universe will continue to expand. This will occur if <1. The result of continuous expansion would be, according to the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, a Universe which would gradually cool down until the temperature became 0 Kelvin. Regression: The Universe will grow, and then collapse on itself. This will occur if >1. It has been postulated that if the Universe were to carry on this course, all matter would recondense into a singularity, and recreate another big bang.

Information from stellar observation

Information from stellar observation

Understand that stars and galaxies are detected by the electromagnetic radiation which they emit, whilst planets are detected by reflected sunlight
Stars, galaxies and planets are all visible to us here on Earth, but the reasons for our ability to see these stellar bodies differ: Stars and Galaxies - these themselves emit electromagnetic radiation, and can therefore be detected using this source Planets - these are not themselves sources of electromagnetic radiation, and are therefore only detectable via the sunlight which they reflect

Sketch and interpret a graph to illustrate the variation with wavelength of the transparency of the Earth's atmosphere for the electromagnetic spectrum.
The ability of the different types of electromagnetic radiation to penetrate the Earth's atmosphere and therefore be detected on Earth varies within the spectrum. It can be broken down into three absorption categories: opaque (undetectable on the Earth's surface), partial absorption (some radiation makes it through, some doesn't), and transparent (radiation easily passes through the Earth's atmosphere). Opaque - includes: X-rays, Ultraviolet, and Long Wave Radio Partial Apsorption - includes: Gamma, Infrared, Radar Radio Transparent - includes: Visible, UHF Radio, Short Wave Radio Follow this link [1] for an example of this graph.

Explain how the composition of stellar atmospheres may be obtained from stellar spectra
We can find out which chemical elements stars are made of from the radiation we don't receive from them. To explain this we need to consider the atoms of the emitting substance. an atoms comprises a very small, massive nucleus surrounded by a much larger volume which is sparsely occupied by electrons. When an atom absorbs energy, one or more of these electrons may become 'excited', i.e., jump to a higher energy level. if an excited electron then returns to its original energy level, energy is released as radiation. The wavelength of the radiation emitted by a particular electrons depends on precisely the amount of energy it releases as it returns to its unexcited state. the larger the amount of energy released by an electron, the higher the frequency - and the shorter the wavelength - of the radiation it emits Stellar spectra include: continuous spectra, emissions spectra, and absorption spectra. Continuous Spectra - radiation of all frequencies within a certain range. When atoms are very close together, as in a solid or the dense matter of a star, there are so many different interacting forces that the electrons in atoms make jumps of all sizes within a certain range. Emissions spectra - a set of individual lines from which individual elements can be identified by their particular lines. When atoms are well separated, as in a gas, each type of atom emits its own distinctive wavelengths of radiation, which can be separated using a diffraction grating. Absorption spectra - the spectrum produced by the radiation from a star, or more specifically, the radiation from the atoms in the atmosphere of a star. It is a continuous spectrum with dark lines missing - Fraunhofer lines. These lines are representative of the elements present in the atmosphere of the star. Of the radiation emitted from the stars surface, some is absorbed and re-emitted in all direction by atoms in the atmosphere, meaning much less

Information from stellar observation of this wavelength radiation is travelling in the original direction of travel, and therefore much less is reaching us, producing a dark line, a negative version of the characteristic emission spectrum of the atmospheric element. These chemical elements can be identified by comparing the dark lines in the aborption spectra with the emission spectra of the individual elements present in the stars atmosphere.


Understand what is meant by the Doppler Effect

Doppler Effect - the change in wavelength of a source due to the relative motion between the source and an observer.

Recall and use / = v / c

A source of wavelength emitted at speed c takes /c seconds to emit one complete wave. If the source is moving away from the observer at v ms-1, the wavelength observed will have increased by , therefore: / = v / c

Understand what is meant by red-shift and by blue-shift and appreciate simple differences between red-shift and terrestrial Doppler Effects
Red-Shift - the observed increase in wavelength (reduction in frequency) caused by an emitter of radiation and a detector moving away from each other Blue-Shift - the observed decrease in wavelength (increase in frequency) caused by an emitter of radiation and a detector moving towards each other Terrestrial Doppler Effects on light are so small that they are barely noticeable, and so are only observed for sound and water waves (for example, the sound of a motorbike). The speeds of recession for planetary Red-Shift are a great enough proportion of the speed of light, c, to produce noticeable effects on light waves. "Red-Shift is the Doppler Effect for light."

[1] http:/ / en. wikivisual. com/ images/ 8/ 83/ Atmospheric_electromagnetic_transmittance_or_opacity. jpg



Time Dilation
A thought experiment: Imagine two glass train carriages on parallel railway tracks, each with a mirror along their full length facing the other train. Each train has an observer on it. The trains are travelling in opposite directions at close to the speed of light. One observer sends a pulse of light at right angles to their direction of travel, towards the other train. This pulse of light is reflected between the two mirrors over and over again. The first part of the diagram represents what the observer who sent the light sees - the light bouncing backwards and forwards in a straight line. The other observer, however, sees the light moving in a "zig-zag" pattern. This is because he is moving away from the light as it is being sent, so after each successive reflection the light has further to travel. Another experiment for time dilation has been carried out with muons, extremely low mass particles which decay very quickly and virtually disappear. When these particles are accelerated (by particle accelerators), their lifetimes are significantly increased, suggesting that time has been slowed down. Gravitational time dilation is a consequence of Albert Einstein's theories of relativity and related theories under which a clock at a different gravitational potential is found to tick at a different rate than one's own clock. Gravitational time dilation was first described by Albert Einstein in 1907 as a consequence of special relativity in accelerated frames of reference. In general relativity, it is considered to be difference in the passage of proper time at different positions as described by a metric tensor of spacetime. The existence of gravitational time dilation was first confirmed directly by the Pound-Rebka experiment.

Background knowledge the reader may need to learn: What is a gravitational field? What is time dilation? What is spacetime? The reader may also research gravitational redshift or ordinary redshift. Gravitational time dilation can be manifested by the presence of large mass, and the larger the mass, the greater the time dilation. In more simple terms, it is meant that observers far from massive bodies are distant observers with fast clocks, and observers close to massive bodies are time-dilated observers with slow clocks. It can also be manifested by any other kind of accelerated reference frame such as a dragster or space shuttle. Spinning objects such as merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels are subjected to gravitation time dilation as an effect of their angular spin. This is supported by General Relativity due to the equivalence principle that states all accelerated reference frames possess a gravitational field. According to General Relativity, inertial mass and gravitational mass are the same. Not all gravitational fields are "curved" or "spherical", some are flat as in the case of an accelerating dragster or space shuttle. Any kind of g-load contributes to gravitational time dilation. In an accelerated box, the equation with respect to an arbitrary base observer is , where

is the total time dilation at a distant position, is the acceleration of the box as measured by the base observer, and is the "vertical" distance between the observers. On a rotating disk when the base observer is located at the center of the disk and co-rotating with it (which makes their view of spacetime non-inertial), the equation is , where is the distance from the center of the disk (which is the location of the base observer), and is the angular velocity of the disk.

Relativity (It is no accident that in an inertial frame of reference this becomes the familiar velocity time dilation ). A common equation used to determine gravitational time dilation is using the Schwarzschild solution, which describes spacetime in the vicinity of a non-rotating massive object. The Schwarzschild solution for time dilation for a spherically-symmetric object is: , where is the proper time between events A and B for a slow-ticking observer within the gravitational field, is the proper time between events A and B for a fast-ticking observer distant from the massive object (and


therefore outside of the gravitational field), is the gravitational constant, is the mass of the object creating the gravitational field, is the radial coordinate of the observer (which is analogous to the classical distance from the center of the object, but is actually a Schwarzschild coordinate), and is the speed of light. is the called the Schwarzschild Radius of M. If a mass collapses so that its surface lies at less than this radial coordinate (or in other words covers an area of less than black hole. ), then the object exists within a

If a satellite drifting in deep space is sending out laser light at n cycles per second, and an Earth-based observer sees this signal to be blueshifted, with a higher frequency of n+1 cycles per second, then the only apparent way for this situation to be sustainable (with signals being registered faster on the receiving equipment than they are being sent by the transmitting equipment, indefinitely) is if the two sets of equipment are operating differently due to their different gravitational environments.

Important things to stress

According to General Relativity, gravitational time dilation is copresent with the existence of an accelerated reference frame. The speed of light in a locale is always equal to c according to the observer who is there. The stationary observer's perspective corresponds to the local proper time. Every infinitesimal region of space time may have its own proper time that corresponds to the gravitational time dilation there, where electromagnetic radiation and matter may be equally affected, since they are made of the same essence (as shown in many tests involving the famous equation ). Such regions are significant whether or not they are occupied by an observer. A time delay is measured for signals that bend near the sun, headed towards Venus, and bounce back to earth along more or less a similar path. There is no violation of the speed of light in this sense, as long as an observer is forced to observe only the photons which intercept the observing faculties and not the ones that go passing by in the depths of more (or even less) gravitational time dilation. If a distant observer is able to track the light in a remote, distant locale which intercepts a time dilated observer nearer to a more massive body, (putting aside the fact that a photon cannot be observed without interception with the observer) he sees that both the distant light and that distant time dilated observer have a slower proper time clock than other light which is coming nearby him, which intercept him, at c, like all other light he really can observe. When the other, distant light intercepts the distant observer, it will come at c from the distant observer's perspective.



Experimental confirmation
Gravitational time dilation has been experimentally measured using atomic clocks on aeroplanes. The clocks that travelled aboard the aeroplanes upon return were slightly fast with respect to clocks on the ground. The effect is significant enough that the Global Positioning System needs to correct for its effect on clocks aboard artificial satellites, providing a further experimental confirmation of the effect. Gravitational time dilation has also been confirmed by the Pound-Rebka experiment and by observations of the spectra of the white dwarf Sirius B.

Einstein, Albert. "Relativity : the Special and General Theory by Albert Einstein." Project Gutenberg. <> Einstein, Albert. "The effect of gravity on light" (1911), translated and reprinted in The Principle of Relativity Nave, C.R. "Gravity and the Photon." Hyperphysics. <> The Pound-Rebka-Snider Experiments [1]

[1] http:/ / www. wbabin. net/ sfarti/ sfarti11. pdf

Structure of the universe

Olbers' Paradox
Heinrich Olbers showed that in an infinite and uniform universe the sky at night would be exceedingly bright, whereas we know perfectly well that this is not the case. This contradiction, that the universe must be infinite otherwise it would collapse under its own gravitational forces, yet cannot be infinite otherwise the sky would be bright at night - is now known widely as Olbers' Paradox. To be included in this section: Cosmological Principle Hubble's Law (and why it can't be used accurately at the moment to estimate the age of the Universe) Significance of the 3 K microwave radiation that we can detect from A level OCR Physics A specification

D.C. circuits


D.C. circuits
A direct current (DC) circuit usually has a steady and constant voltage supplied to it. A direct current does not have a continually changing polarity, unlike an alternating current (AC), but instead a constant direction and rate of flow. DC is generally provided by batteries or via a transformer, rather than generators.

Circuit diagrams
Below are the symbols and names for all of the components that you are required to know:

Series circuits
When resistors are set up in series, the formula to work out the total resistance is:


etc., are the resistance of each resistor in series.

Parallel circuits
When resistors are set up in parallel, the formula to work out the total resistance is:


etc., are the resistance of each resistor in parallel.

Internal resistance
A electrical source has its own resistance, known as Internal Resistance. This is caused by the electrons in the source having to flow through wires within it, or in the case of a chemical battery, the charge may have to flow through the electrolytes and electrodes that make up the cell. By considering a battery of EMF E, in series with a resistor of resistance R we can calculate the internal resistance r: (See Series Circuits above) Combining with V=IR:

D.C. circuits The quantity Ir is called the lost volts. The lost volts shows us the energy transferred to the internal resistance of the source, so if you short circuit a battery, I is very high and the battery gets warm.


Potential dividers
A potential (or voltage) divider is made up of two resistors. The output voltage from a potential divider will be a proportion of the input voltage and is determined by the resistor values. The values of a battery with voltage V1 passing through two resistors in series of resistance R1 and R2, with an output circuit in parallel with Resistor R1 with output voltage V2 are related by the equation:

Kirchhoff's laws
First Law states "The sum of the current (A) entering a junction is equal to the sum of the current (A) leaving the junction". This is a consequence of conservation of charge. Second law states that the EMF is equal to the voltage of the circuit. This is a consequence of conservation of energy.

Use of other components

Thermistors can be placed in circuits when temperature plays a role. As the temperature increases, the resistance of the device decreases. This does not obey the Ohms law. Light dependent resistors are resistors that decrease their resistance when exposed to light.

Deformation of solids
Hooke's law
This applies to an object's deformation only before the elastic limit; from then on it deforms plastically and no longer follows this law. it states that,extention is directly propotional to the applied force.

Spring Constant

The gradient refers to the gradient of a Tension-Extension graph. The standard units of k are N m-1

Deformation of solids



Because this is a division of two measurements of length, Strain has no units and remains a ratio.

The units for Stress are N m-2, otherwise known as Pascals (Pa)

The Young's modulus

Strain energy

However, due to Hooke's Law, it can be calculated in another form;

Dynamics is the study of why objects move, and the effects of forces on moving objects.

When you are standing on a bus, and the bus starts very quickly, your body seems to be pushed backward, and if the bus stops suddenly, then your body seems to be pushed forwards. Notice that when the bus turns left, you will seem to be pushed to the right, and when the bus turns right, you will seem to be pushed to the left. Also consider a full shopping cart. If you try to push it from a stationary position, it will take some effort to get it moving. The same is true if you try to stop it when it is moving at a high speed, or try to turn it left or right. In both cases, an object with mass is opposing a change in motion. In the first case, it is your body that tries to stay moving as it was before the change. Your body also tries to stay in a straight line when the bus turns, although it appears to be moving to the side. What is really happening is that your body is still moving straight and the bus turns in the opposite direction. The shopping cart exhibits the same behaiviour. When it is stationary, it tries to stay stationary, and when you try to stop it moving, it will try to continue. Your body and the cart both have mass. From this, we can define a property of mass: Mass will resist changes in motion. This says that any object with mass will resist any change in motion. Objects with greater mass will resist change in motion more than objects with less mass. It is like having the shopping cart only half full and finding that it is much easier to change its movement. This is Newton's first law of motion: An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Conversely: An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.

Dynamics In the SI system, the unit of mass is the kilogram (kg).


We all have an innate understanding of forces. To put quite simply, a force involves a push or a pull. Exerting a force on an object will cause that object to accelerate. Try pushing your finger against a wall. By doing this, you are said to exert a force on the wall. You will feel the wall 'pushing' back on you. The wall is said to exert a force on you. The force you exert on the wall always equals the force with which the wall exerts on you (Newton's Third Law).* Note that the forces are acting on different bodies. Because the wall is heavy, the force you exert on it does not move the wall noticeably. However, being much lighter, you will be probably be moved by the force that the wall exerts on you. Try it! A force can be applied to an object in different directions. Force is said to be a vector quantity.

Force and Acceleration

Exerting a force on an object causes the object to accelerate. The same force applied on objects of different masses causes different accelerations in each object. We observe that a force applied on a light object causes greater acceleration than the same force applied on a heavier object. We also observe that the acceleration of an object is proportional to the force exerted on it. This is summarized by the formula F = kma, where F=force, k=some constant, m=mass and a=acceleration.

Defining the Newton

In the SI unit system, force is measured in Newtons. One Newton is the force required to accelerate a mass of 1 kg at . Therefore, we have defined the unit of force in such a way that the value of k in F = kma is 1, thereby reducing the equation to F = ma. 1 N = 100000 dynes = 0.101971621298 kgforce = 0.2248089431 lbforce 1 dyne = 1E-5 Newtons, 1 kgforce=9.80665 Newtons, and 1 lbforce=4.44822161526 Newtons

The weight of an object is defined as the gravitational force acting on the object, and is dependent on the mass of the body. Note that the acceleration due to gravity (or acceleration of free-fall, usually denoted by g) is taken as the constant for all bodies, although it varies slightly from place to place. The direction of that force (weight) is always toward the center of this planet. We can calculate the weight of an object from its mass by the equation W = mg, where W=weight, m=mass and g=acceleration of free fall. In rough terms, an apple weighs approximately one Newton. Newton's third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.



Motion of particles through fluids

Mechanics of particle motion. There are three forces acting on particles in motion through a fluid; 1) The external force (gravitational or otherwise); 2) The drag force (apparent when there is relative motion between a particle and a fluid); 3) The buoyant force (acting parallel to the external force, but in the opposite direction).


Viscosity of a fluid is a measure of its resistance to flow. Objects drag fluid along near its surface. The faster the object moves, the bigger the viscous drag.

Edexcel (Salters Horners)

This Wikibook is about A-level Physics, designed to follow the Edexcel (Salters Horners) syllabus, but is not endorsed by Edexcel. It will hopefully be useful as a revision guide or for alternative explanations to the ones in your textbook or from your tutor.

AS Units
PSA1: Physics at work, rest and play (6751)
Higher, Faster, Stronger (HFS) Good Enough to Eat (EAT) Spare Part Surgery (SUR)

PSA2: Physics for life (6752)

Digging Up the Past (DIG) Technology in Space (SPC) Sound of Music (MUS)

PSA3: Coursework (6753)

Experimental skills Visit

Edexcel (Salters Horners)


A2 Units
PSA4: Moving with physics (6754)
Transport on Track (TRA) The Medium is the Message (MDM) Probing the Heart of Matter (PRO)

PSA5i: Coursework (6755/01)

Practical project

PSA5ii: Physics from creation to collapse (6755/02)

Build or Bust? (BLD) Reach for the Stars (STA)

External links
University of York course website [1] Edexcel (Salters Horners) Advanced GCE in Physics Specification, Issue 3 October 2003 [2] Edexcel Salters Horners A-level Physics resources [3]

[1] http:/ / www. york. ac. uk/ org/ seg/ salters/ physics/ [2] http:/ / www. edexcel. org. uk/ VirtualContent/ 25850. pdf [3] http:/ / www. physics-online. com/ page. cfm/ salters-horners-A-level-physics

Electric current


Electric current
Electricity is useful because we can easily transform electrical energy to other forms of energy such as light, sound and heat. Electricity is transferred from place to place by wires as an electric current.

Current and Charge

Electric current is the flow of charged particles, usually electrons, around a circuit. Metals are good conductors of electricity because they have free electrons that can move around easily. Current is measured in amperes. Charged particles have a charge which is either positive or negative. The strength of a charge can be found using the formula:

where Q is the quantity of charge in coulombs, I is the current in amps, and t is the time in seconds We can use this formula to define the coulomb: One coulomb is the amount of charge which flows past a point when a current of 1 ampere flows for 1 second

Electron flow
When you attach a battery to a small bulb with wires, you would say that the current is flowing from the positive terminal of the battery to the negative one. This is called conventional current. The electrons, however, flow from the negative terminal to the positive. This electron flow is in the opposite direction to the conventional current, and care must be taken to not confuse the two. When we just say current it is assumed that we are talking about conventional current. The reason for this is that the direction of conventional current was chosen before people knew what was happening inside a conductor when a current flows. In A-level, charge in coulombs is the product of current in amperes by the time in seconds.

Any component with electrical resistance opposes the flow of an electrical current.

Electrical Resistance
In an electrical circuit, current flows around it. Each component in the circuit has a resistance, which resists the flow of the current. The voltage that you get from the power supply can be simply described as the "push" given to the electrons to go around the circuit. It would then make sense to say that the greater the voltage, the greater the current, and the greater the resistance, the lower the current. The current flowing around the circuit could then be written as the equation: . For example, if you were to connect a 9 volt power supply to a 3 (read as 3 ohm) resistor, you could use the formula above to find the current. , so .

A particular arrangement of this formula is used to define resistance and the ohm.

Electric current


. This says that the resistance of a component is the voltage across it for every unit of current flowing through it. More formally this can be written as: The resistance of a component in a circuit is the ratio of the voltage across that component to the current in it. The unit of resistance, the ohm (), is defined so that one ohm is the resistance of a component that has a voltage of 1 volt across it for every amp of current flowing through it. In other words, one ohm is one volt per amp.

Ohm's Law
In many components, the voltage across it is proportional to the current flowing through it. You can make this observation on a circuit with a resistor of a known resistance, a voltmeter, an ammeter, and a power supply with a variable voltage. As you increase the voltage, the current will also increase. You will come to the conclusion that , with the constant of proportionality equal to . This gives us , an arrangement of the familiar formula. Components where , are known as ohmic conductors, and have a constant resistance. They are said to follow Ohm's law, which states that: If the source voltage remains constant, the flow of current is inversely proportional to resistance. OR If the temperature remains constant, the current flowing through a conductor is directly proportional to the potential difference across it. Note that not all components are ohmic conductors, and can have varying values of resistance. You will have to use the formula to find the resistance for specific values of and .

Below you can see 3 graphs with current on the vertical axis, and voltage on the horizontal axis. Where the graph is a straight line, the voltage is proportional to the current. Therefore, only the metallic conductor is an ohmic conductor.

A diode and a filament lamp are two examples of non-ohmic conductors. The diode is designed to only allow current through in one direction, hence the use of negative values on its graph. The filament lamp doesn't have a constant temperature, which according to Ohm's law is required for a component to be an ohmic conductor. Instead, it heats up as a current passes through it, which has an effect on the resistance.

Electric current


The resistivity of a material is the property that determines its resistance for a unit length and unit cross sectional area of that material. Copper, for example, is a better conductor than lead, in other words lead has a higher resistivity than copper. You can compare different materials in this way. Resistivity, (the Greek letter rho), is defined by the equation:

Where is resistivity, R is the resistance, A is the cross sectional area of the material, and l is the length of the material. The units of resistivity are Ohm-meters, m. If we rearrange the above equation so that:

You can see that as the length of a wire is increased, its resistance will increase, and as the cross sectional area of a wire is increased, its resistance will decrease. This is true provided that the temperature is constant, and that the same materials are always used, to make sure that the resistivity stays the same.

Voltage and Energy

Earlier, we simply said that a voltage is the "push" given to electrons, or units of charge. Now, we will take a look at voltage in terms of energy, and find a more accurate definition of the volt.

Potential Difference
When you attach a voltmeter across a component, the voltage you are measuring is a potential difference (PD). Electrical energy is being used up by the component, and so we can say that a potential difference is a voltage where the charge is losing energy. Potential difference has the symbol V. By definition, the potential difference is the energy converted from electrical energy to other forms of energy in moving a unit of electrical charge from one point to another. So, if the PD of a resistor is say, 2V then if 3 coulomb of charges pass through it, then the energy used up is 6 Joules. Potential difference is the energy lost per unit charge, and can be written as the following formula:

Electromotive Force
A battery provides a certain voltage to the circuit, and the electrons are gaining energy from the battery as they flow past. This voltage where the charge gains energy is called an electromotive force (EMF), and has the symbol V. EMF. is the energy gained per unit charge, and can be written as the following formula:

Both the PD and EMF are measured in volts, and one volt is equivalent to one joule per coulomb.

Electric current


Electrical Energy and Power

Power is the rate at which energy is transferred, written as the formula:

To find a formula for electrical power, we take the following formula for voltage and make W the subject:

Then we need to divide both sides by t to get power:

Recall that charge divided by time is current, we now have:

From the formula above, you can see that the electrical power is simply the product of current and voltage. You can combine this with to give two further equations:

One last formula is for energy and is derived from the formula for power:

Electric fields


Electric fields
Like gravitational fields, electric fields are a field of force that act from a distance, where the force here is exerted by a charged object on another charged object. You may already be familiar with the fact that opposite charges attract, and that like charges repel. Here, we will look at ways to calculate field strengths and the magnitude of forces exerted, in a very similar manner to gravitational fields.

Representing electric fields

Electric field lines are drawn always pointing from positive to negative, like the flow of current. Just like magnetic and gravitational fields, the separation of the lines tell us the relative strength.

Radial fields
Radial fields are drawn from a centre point. The field is stronger nearer the surface of the object, and weakens as you move further away. For a positive charge, the arrows point outwards, and for a negative charge, the arrows point inwards.

The field is directed into a negative point charge...

...and it is directed outwards from a positive one.

Electric fields


Uniform fields
Between two charged plates there is a uniform electric field, which means that its strength is constant between each plate. This is represented by parallel lines, directed from the positive plate to the negative plate. The field curves outwards slightly on the edges of the plates, and it is important that you draw it like that.

Multiple charges
When there are several radial and uniform fields close to each other, they have to be combined into one field, since each of their fields interact and change. The most common shapes are shown, and the arrows, as always, point from positive to negative. You should be able to draw field lines for simple variations on these.

Two plates of opposite polarity (from inside a capacitor) and the lines representing the uniform field between them.

Two point charges of opposite polarity and the lines representing the electric field between them.

A point charge and a plate. Notice how the radial field transitions to a uniform one near the plate.

The closer the charge lines are the stronger the force is.

Electric fields


Coulomb's law
Coulomb's law is very similar to Newton's law of gravitation, except instead of relating the force between two masses together, it relates the force between two charges, and . Since the two charges are point charges which have radial fields, they follow the inverse square law. Therefore, the relationship can be expressed as: . Or, in words: Any two point charges exert a force on each other that is proportional to the product of their charges and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Just like Newton's law, we need to introduce a constant of proportionality to make it into an equation, which in this case is k: . Where .

Permittivity of free space

is known as the permittivity of free space, and is roughly in free space, however you do also need to know permittivity of different mediums. . It is often useful to just remember that , as you may be given the

Signs of charges
Note that for each charge, you must keep the signs intact in the equation. If you were to have two positive, or two negative charges in the equation, the result would be positive, but if you were to have one negative and one positive charge, the final answer would be negative. The sign of the answer tells us whether the force between the two charges is an attraction, or a repulsion, like charges will repel, and opposite charges will attract. This also explains the minus sign in Newton's law of gravitation, since the force between two masses is always an attraction.

Electric field strength

Just as gravitational field strength is the force exerted per unit mass, we could define the electric field strength in terms of charge: The electric field strength at a point is the force per unit charge exerted on a positive charge placed at that point. This is just like saying that the electric field strength is the force a charge of +1 coulomb experiences in that electric field. Therefore, we can find the electric field strength, E, by: . From this equation, you can see that the electric field strength is measured in .

Electric fields


Field strength of a uniform field

You can make a uniform electric field by charging two plates. Increasing the voltage between them will increase the field strength, and moving the plates further apart will decrease the field strength. A simple equation for field strength can be made from these two points:

Where V is the voltage between the plates, and d is the distance between them. Here you can see that the units of electric field strength is . is equivalent to .

Field strength of a radial field

Since the electric field strength could be said to be the force exerted on a charge of +1C, we can substitute 1 coulomb for in Coulomb's law. We then get the equation: , or

This will tell us the field strength of a charge, Q, at a distance, r.

Force on particles
To calculate the force an electron experiences in a uniform field, we can combine following steps: with in the

For an electron with a charge of -e, this becomes: , or This is useful if you are asked to find the force on an electron in a uniform field, most often in a cathode ray tube.

Comparison of electric and gravitational fields

As you may have already noticed, electric and gravitational fields are quite similar. You should be aware of the similarities and differences between them.

For point charges or masses, the variation of force with distance follows the inverse square law. Both exert a force from a distance, with no contact. The field strength of both is defined in terms of force per unit of the property of the object that causes the force (i.e. mass and charge).

Electric fields


Gravitational fields can only produce forces of attraction, whereas electric fields can produce attraction and repulsion. Objects can be shielded from an electric field, but there is no way to shield an object from a gravitational field. Electric fields only act upon charged masses, however gravitational fields act upon all masses.

Electromagnetic induction
We have already investigated that passing a current through a wire in a magnetic field causes a force to be exerted on it. The opposite is also true, and when a force is exerted on a wire a current is induced in the wire. This completely revolutionised the world because it meant that electricity could now be relatively cheaply produced.

Inducing an EMF.
When a conductor is moved through a magnetic field, an EMF is generated.

Faraday's Law
Michael Faraday states in his law that: The magnitude of the emf generated is proportional to the rate of change of magnetic flux. Magnetic Flux density is a measure of the strength of a magnetic field and is essentially how dense the field lines of a magnetic field are within a given area.

Calculating the induced EMF

Faraday's law states: Induced EMF is equal to the rate of change of magnetic flux. Magnetic flux = Magnetic field strength x Area = BA. Rate of change implies we consider the variable with respect to time (in seconds) Therefore...Induced EMF = (change in Magnetic Flux Density x Area)/change in Time. OR EMF = BA/t If we are doing it with a coil, the area becomes the area of one coil multiplied by the number of coils, n = 2r2n Therefore, Induced EMF = (B2r2n)/t. If we want to increase the amount of EMF induced, we either... Increase the area 'swept'. Increase the Magnetic Flux Density. Decrease the amount of time taken. The EMF induced is also proportional to the speed of the object going through the Magnetic Flux. Because BA/t can be re-written as...EMF = Magnetic flux density x Width x Speed. This is because speed = distance / time. REMEMBER! - EMF is measured in volts, magnetic flux density is measured in teslas and area is measured in meters2, time is measured in seconds. So you will have to convert things from mm, cm, km, minutes, etc.

Electromagnetic induction


Faraday's law
The magnitude of induced EMF is proportional to the rate of change of magnetic flux linkage:

Lenz's law
Lenz's law states that the direction of the induced current is always so as to oppose the change which caused the current. It is just a small addition to Faraday's law:

(Notice the minus sign!)

A transformer is made up of two or more coils of unmagnetised magnetic material. One coil is the primary coil and is connected to an alternating supply. The other is the secondary coil.

Electrons, Waves and Photons

Electric current D.C. circuits Magnetic effects of current Quantum physics Electromagnetic waves

Electromagnetic waves


Electromagnetic waves
Electromagnetic (EM) waves are transverse waves that carry energy. This means the light can be polarised like all other transverse waves. Depending on the amount of energy, the waves create the electromagnetic spectrum, comprising (from longest to shortest wavelengths) radio, microwave, infra-red, visible light, ultraviolet, X-ray, gamma ray. Commonly referred to as EM "Radiation," these waves have wavelengths ranging from several thousand kilometres ( m) to sub-picometres ( m). The wave is actually made up of two components which are perpendicular to the direction of the wave. EM radiation can be thought of as particles (the photon) or waves, which is commonly referred to as the "wave particle duality"

The Speed of Light

All electromagnetic waves travel at the same speed (in a vacuum), and that is the universal constant known as the "speed of light," most often abbreviated by the lower-case letter "c". The speed of light is (exactly): c = 299 792 458 or c = 983 571 056

Visible Light
In the middle of the electromagnetic spectrum is visible light, i.e., the range that the human eye has evolved to observe. The following is a chart of the wavelengths of visible light. Colour near ultraviolet shortest visible blue blue green yellow orange longest visible red near infra-red (Table 9.1, Griffiths) Wavelength (m) 3.0 e -7 4.0 e -7 4.6 e -7 5.4 e -7 5.9 e -7 6.1 e -7 7.6 e -7 1.0 e -6

Useful Equations
To find out the energy of a particular EM wave, or its frequency one can use the several forms of the Einstein Equation. First, to determine an EM wave frequency, is always a constant value: the speed of light, (1) c = , from its wavelength, . Hence, . The wavelength multiplied by the frequency

so you can find the frequency from the wavelength, or vice versa from simply manipulating this relationship. Next, to determine the energy from a smallest quantity of EM wave (photon). Here, we must introduce another universal quantity known as "Planck's Constant," most commonly abbreviated by a lower-case "h." Planck's constant is

Electromagnetic waves h = 6.626068 e -34 . and


With this in place we can use the "Planck Equation," which provides a relationship between the frequency, energy of a photon. The relation is as follows: (2) E = h .

Now, if we only have the wavelength with which to start, we can manipulate equation (1) to get what we need. (1) c = , , (2) E = h c / .

(In order of Mathematical/Material Depth) Halliday D.; Resnick R.; Walker J.; Fundamentals of Physics, Part 4: Chapters 34 - 38. 6th ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003. Chapter 34. Griffiths, David J. Introduction to Electrodynamics. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1999. Chapter 9, p364-411. Rybicki, G.; Lightman, A. Radiative Processes in Astrophysics. Wiley-Interscience, 1985.

Equation Sheet
Equations, constants, and other useful data that the A-level student of physics is required to memorise.

Forces and Motion

Newtonian Mechanics
Conventions denotes initial velocity denotes final velocity denotes acceleration denotes displacement denotes time denotes work done denotes mass or mass of object denotes Power

A vector without it's arrow implies the magnitude of the vector, e.g.

Equation Sheet Kinematic Equations Force and Momentum Work and Energy For small heights where (for any height) can be treated as constant


Fields, particles and frontiers of physics


Fields, particles and frontiers of physics

Electric Fields Magnetic Fields Capacitors Nuclear Physics Medical imaging Modelling the Universe

Capacitors are simply devices capable of storing electrical charge, and so capable of acting as a cell for a short period of time while discharging. They are made up of two metal plates, separated by an insulator, as illustrated by their circuit symbol (shown on the right).

Charging capacitors
The circuit symbol for a

When a voltage is applied across a capacitor, electrons from one metal plate travel capacitor around the wire in the circuit to the other plate. By definition, the electrons can not travel across the insulator. For this reason, electrons are lost from one plate, which develops a one charge, and added to another plate, which accumulates a negative charge.

Electric Fields


Electric Fields
Electric fields are produced by any electrically charged object, such as an electron or a proton, or between two oppositely charged plates. The laws behind them form a fundamental part of the A2 physics course.

Electric field strength

The electric field strength of the object is defined as the electrical force experienced per unit charge by a positive charge. It is usually measured in NC-1, with Vm-1 being another acceptable equivalent unit.

Electric field lines

An electric field can be represented by electric field lines. They always point towards a region of more negative charge: that is, they show the direction in which a positive charge placed at that point would move. The density of the electric field lines indicates the electric field strength, and their arrangement indicates the nature of the electrical field. For example, parallel electric field lines which are evenly spaced show a uniform electric field. The electric field strength can also be shown by lines of equipotential, which are always at right angles to the electric field lines.

Coulomb's Law
While the electrical force has an infinite range due to the fact that it is carried by photons (a massless particle), the force does decrease significantly with increasing distance. This fact is stated quantitatively by Coulomb's Law, which says that the electrical force exerted by two charged particles on each other is directly proportional to their charges multiplied together and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between two charges. If we take Q and q to be the charges measured in Coulombs of the charged particles charged particle, and r to be their separation in metres, we can say that and . By combining these two equations together, it can be deduced that , where the constant of proportionality is given as , with representing the

permittivity of free space (8.85*10-12 Fm-1). The overall equation, therefore, is:

Calculating Electric Field Strength

From the definition of electric field strength, it is known that E=F/Q, so F=EQ. This can substituted into the equation for Coulomb's law to deduce that following equation for electric field strength: . Dividing both sides of the equation by Q will leave us with the

Electric Fields


The Electric Field Between Parallel Plates

Between oppositely charged parallel plates the electric field will always be uniform, except for at the edges, where the field lines will start to curve. The electric field strength in this uniform field can be calculated by E=V/d, where V is the potential difference between the plates and d is the separation between them. The derivation for this is as follows: Work done = Force * distance (W=Fd), and Voltage=Work done/Charge (V=W/Q). The second of the above equations can be rearranged into W=VQ The two equations can be equated, showing that Fd=VQ Divinding both sides by dQ leaves F/Q = V/d, where F/Q is, by definition, equal to the electric field strength (E) Therefore, E = V/d

The motion of particles in a uniform electric field

The direction of the force in an electric field is completely independent of the direction in which the particle is travelling, unlike with magnetic fields. Therefore, the motion of a particle in an electric field will be parabolic, resembling the motion of a mass in a gravitational field. The component of velocity of the charged particles at right angles to the direction of the electric field will remain constant.However, the component of velocity parallel to the magnetic field will increase, with positive particles being accelerated towards the negative plate and negative ones towards the positive plate.

Comparison between electric and gravitational fields

The OCR syllabus also expects an understanding of the similarities and differences between the electric fields discussed in this module and the gravitational fields considered in unit G484. Similarities Both forces involve 'action at a distance'. That is, a mass or charged particle need not be in contact with an object in order to exert an electric or gravitational force on it A radial field is produced by both a point mass and point charge The field strength is inversely proportional to separation squared and defined by force per unit something Differences Electric forces are produced by charge, while gravitational forces are instead produced by masses Gravitational forces can only be attractive (as mass is a scalar), while electric forces can be attractive or repulsive (as charge as a vector)

Magnetic Fields


Magnetic Fields
In order to answer the relevant questions in the exam, it is necessary to have an understanding of magnetic fields and associated concepts such as magnetic flux and magnetic flux density.

Magnetic field lines

Like electric fields, magnetic fields can be represented by field lines. The direction of the lines shows the direction of the magnetic field, while the density of the lines shows the magnetic field strength (known as the 'magnetic flux density'). The magnetic field lines for a current carrying wire appear as concentric circles around the wire, with the direction of the field being shown by the right hand grip rule. According to this rule, if you point the thumb of your right hand in the direction of conventional current in the wire, the direction in which your fingers grip around the thumb is the direction of the magnetic field. The magnetic field inside a solenoid (coil) is uniform inside the coil, with the the field directed from its south pole to its north pole. There are also curved field lines outside the coil, which are directed from the north to the south pole. For any magnetic field, lines start from the north pole to the south pole.Lines are smooth curves which never touch nor cross.Strength is indicated by the distance between the lines-closer the lines means stronger field

Fleming's Left Hand Rule

The relationship between the direction of magnetic field, the direction of the current in a current carrying wire and the force experienced by the wire is shown by Fleming's left hand rule. This states that if you hold the thumb, first finger and second finger of your left hand at right angles to each other, the thumb will point in the direction of the force experienced by the wire if the first finger follows the direction of the magnetic field and the second finger shows the direction of conventional current inside the conductor.

Magnitude of magnetic force

Using Fleming's left hand rule on its own is rarely sufficient in physics: it is also important to know the magnitude of the magnetic force. This is calculated using , where F represents force experienced by the wire, I = the current in the wire and L is the length of the wire. The Greek letter theta is used to denote the angle between the magnetic field and the direction of current in the wire.

Magnetic flux density

Magnetic flux density (B) is the term used to describe the strength of a magnetic field, and its SI unit is Tesla (T). Magnetic flux density is defined as B=F/IL, where F = the force experienced by the current carrying conductor, I = the current in the conductor and L = the length of the conductor that is within the magnetic field. The Tesla is the value for B when F = 1N, I = 1A and L = 1m.

Magnetic Fields


The magnetic force acting on a charged particle travelling through a magnetic field at right angles to the field is given by F=BQV, where B = magnetic flux density, Q = charge, v= speed of particle. The derivation for this equation is as follows: Imagine the path of the charged particle as a wire. The current flowing through this path in a period of time (t) would be Q/t. The speed would be equal to the length of this path (l) per unit time. Therefore, v=l/t, which can also be expressed as l=tv. Substitute I=Q/t and l=tv into F=BIL to get F=B*(Q/t)*(tv). This can be simplified to F=BQv.

Motion of Charged Particles in a Uniform Magnetic Field

Unlike in an electric field, in a magnetic field the force on a charged particle passing through it is always at right angles to the direction of motion. This means that the charge particle would experience circular motion, with the magnetic force acting as a centripetal force. Consequently, problems involving magnetic fields often require the use of the equations for circular motion learnt in module G484:

Mass Spectrometry
One key use of measuring the path of charged particles in a uniform magnetic field is in mass spectrometry, an important technique in chemistry, physics and materials science that is used to measure the mass of ions and their relative abundance in a sample. In mass spectrometry, a sample of atoms is ionised before being deflected in a vacuum by a uniform magnetic field. The radius of the circular path followed by the ion is directly proportional to its mass, and so the mass of the ion can easily be found after using a photographic film to detect the path of the ion.

Magnetic flux
The magnetic flux () through a surface is defined as the magnetic flux density multiplied by the component of the cross sectional area of the surface which is at right angles to the magnetic field. The unit for magnetic flux is the Weber (Wb), where 1 Wb is the magnetic flux produced when a when a magnetic field with a flux density of 1T, acting perpendicularly to the surface, passes through a surface of cross sectional area 1 m2 at right. While the above definition would be expected in an exam, the official definition of the Weber, as defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures is: The weber is the magnetic flux which, linking a circuit of one turn, would produce in it an electromotive force of 1 volt if it were reduced to zero at a uniform rate in 1 second. The equation for magnetic flux is: magnetic field. , where theta is the angle the surface and the normal to the

Magnetic Fields


Electromagnetic induction
In order to understand electromagnetic induction, it is necessary to appreciate what is meant by the magnetic flux linkage of a coil. Flux linkage can be calculated by magnetic flux * number of terms on coil, and, according to Faraday's law of electromagnetic induction, a changing flux linkage results in the induction of an e.m.f. across the coil equal in magnitude to the rate of change of flux linkage. While Faraday's law gives the magnitude of the e.m.f., it is important to remember that e.m.f. is a vector. Consequently, it is also important to know the direction, something that can be calculated using Lenzs' law. This says that the direction of the induced e.m.f. will be such as to produce a magnetic field in the direction that resists the change in magnetic flux. For example, if magnetic flux is decreasing, an e.m.f. will be induced in the direction that leads to it increasing. Brought together, these two laws can be represented in a simple equation: induced e.m.f. = - rate of change of flux linkage.

AC Generator
AC generators apply the above principles in order to generate electricity. In these generators, a coil of wire is rotated inside a magnetic field, changing the angle between the magnetic field and the coil and so changing magnetic flux. According to Faraday's law, this change will lead to the induction of an alternating e.m.f.

Transformers use the principles of electromagnetic induction to either increase (in step-up transformers) or decrease (in step-down transformers) the voltage. Its key use is in electricity transmission, where the voltage is increased significantly before being transmitted into a power line. This reduces the current (as P=VI and power is constant) and so increases the efficiency of this transmission process. Transformers are made of two coils of wire, the primary (input) and the secondary (output) coil, wrapped around an iron core. The voltage across the two coils is shown by:

A transformer

Vs = Voltage across secondary coil; Vp = Voltage across primary coil; ns = Number of turns on secondary coil; np = Number of turns on primary coil Transformers work by the following process: An alternating current is passed through the primary coil The alternating current in the primary coil leads the primary coil to produce a magnetic field of alternating direction (as the direction of the magnetic field and of the current are related by Fleming's left hand rule) The iron core ensures that the magnetic field is significantly stronger inside this core. This ensures that the as much of the changing magnetic flux produced by the primary coil as possible links the secondary coil.

Magnetic Fields The changing magnetic flux in the secondary coil induces an e.m.f. across its ends.


Force, work and power

Work is a special name given to the (scalar) quantity


is work and

is force on the object and

is displacement. Essentially this integral is the component of

the force in question in the direction of the displacement, times the displacement. If the force is constant and the object travels in a straight line, this reduces to


is work and

is force on the object and

is displacement. Take note of the dot product. need not be the total force on an object, just the

We say that W is the "work done by the force, F." Notice that

force we are looking at. It makes sense to ask what is the work done by a given force on an object. Notice also that the work done by the sum of two forces acting on an object is the sum of the work done by the forces acting individually on the object. This gives rise to the interpretation that work is that it is the energy transferred to the body by a force that acts on it. (Of course negative work is energy transferred from the body). This is the whole point of even considering work. For, say we had a total force acting on an object. Then the work is

This simply uses Newton's second law in the first step and a substitution in the integral. This states that the work done by the total force on an object is the change in kinetic energy of the object. For example, if you hold an apple, then move the apple down a little bit then stop, what is happening? Surely the potential energy of the apple has changed, so someone is doing work even though there is no change in kinetic energy -- how can that be? We must consider all the forces. Gravity did work on the apple, but the apple did work on you (you did negative work on the apple) -- you have absorbed the energy! So there really is no paradox after all. In a very special case, it happens that the quantity of work does not depend on how you move a particle around, but only on the beginning and ending points. Such a field is called "conservative." It means that we can introduce a potential. Gravity is such a conservative force, amazingly, which is why we can talk about the "potential energy" of an object. It is just shorthand for saying the work it takes to move the object from somewhere (the reference point) to wherever we are talking about. Consequently, the change in kinetic energy equals the negative change in potential energy, which basically states that the total energy of the system is constant. This is in fact why such a force is called conservative -- it conserves mechanical energy! Dissipative forces, such as friction (it always eats up energy) are sometimes called non-conservative forces. This is somewhat of a mistake because on the molecular level, the forces really are conservative. However, it is often nicer to just say that energy is not conserved in a given scenario, even though we know full well that it is disappearing into the motion of atoms, or heat. You will hear many people say that energy is not conserved in a given situation, but of course it is; energy is always conserved. It turns out that a force is conservative if and only if the force is "irrotational," or "curl-less" which has to do with vector calculus. But for all of our purposes, there are no non-conservative forces! However, just to quantify everything, we have the work done by a non conservative force is the change in the total energy of the body.

Force, work and power


Power is the rate of doing work. Thus we have

So, , and for forces that do not vary over time becomes . This means that if the force is acting perpendicular to the velocity, the speed does not change, because the work is zero so the change in kinetic energy is zero. But wait, how can that be, since a force necessarily accelerates something? It is accelerating it, it is changing the direction of travel -- acceleration means the derivative of the vector velocity, not the magnitude of velocity. In fact, this tells us that the component of force in the same direction as velocity is responsible for (and only for) changes in the magnitude of the velocity, and the component of force perpendicular to the velocity is responsible for (and only for) changes in the direction of the velocity. Just to quantify this a little bit, it can be shown that

where a is acceleration, v is the velocity, T is the unit tangent vector (tangent to the path of the particle and consequently parallel to the velocity vector), N is the unit normal vector (perpendicular to the tangent vector and in the direction of the derivative of the tangent vector, which you can picture by drawing two pretty close tangent vectors on a curve), and is the radius of curvature, which is essentially the radius of the circle which closest fits the path at the point (the radius of curvature of a circle is the radius of the circle, and the radius of curvature of a straight line is infinity). All this business is not really necessary for understanding physics, but if you understand it is will help you understand what is going on. Notice that the second term is the centripetal acceleration -- this is in fact where we get the formula for it. Finally, just writing out the definition of power to look pretty, if the work is done at a changing rate, then

If the work is done at a constant rate, then this becomes .

Force, work and power


Pressure is the force per unit area.


Torque is the "rotational force" applied as part of circular motion, such as the force making the wheels of a car turn. In the SI unit system, torque is measured in Newton-metres.

Forces and Motion

Scalars and vectors Kinematics Dynamics Force, work and power Deformation of solids Forces on vehicles Car safety

Forces, Fields and Energy


Forces, Fields and Energy

Forces, Fields and Energy is the main module of the A2 year. You will need to know everything from the previous 3 modules from last year. There is a lot to learn this year, but here is where things start to get really interesting!

Further dynamics Work and energy Motion in a circle Oscillations Gravitational fields Electric fields Capacitors Electromagnetism Electromagnetic induction Thermal physics

The nuclear atom Radioactivity Appendix of Formulae

Appendix of Formulae
Formulae by Section
This is the list of required formulae in the order that they appear in the OCR Syllabus for this module.
Dynamics Momentum is mass times velocity. Force is the rate of change of momentum with respect to time. Work and Energy Work is force times displacement Kinetic energy is half of mass times velocity squared. Potential energy is mass times acceleration due to gravity times height. (For situations near the surface of the earth only) Circular Motion Centripetal acceleration is velocity squared divided by the radius.

Centripetal force is mass times velocity squared divided by the radius. (You are expected to be able to derive this from and Oscillations Period is one over the frequency. ).

Acceleration is proportional to the negative displacement from the centre of oscillation.

Appendix of Formulae

Displacement from the centre of oscillation is amplitude times position in cycle. (When oscillation started at centre). Displacement from the centre of oscillation is amplitude times position in cycle. (When oscillation started at one end). Angular Velocity is 2 times Angular Velocity is 2 times over the time period. times the frequency of oscillations.

Gravitational Fields Force is Gravitational Force Constant ( squared. ) times mass one times mass two over radius

Magnetic Force on a Current
F=BIL F is force measured in Newtons (N) B is flux density (the strength of a magnetic field) measured in Teslas I is current measured in amps (A) L is the length of conductor in the magnetic field measured in metres B = F/IL This defines flux density, B. We can measure F using the current balance. If the current cuts across the magnetic field at the angle then the component the current across the field is ISine and therefore F= B I L sin is the angle the current makes with the magnetic field. F (force) is at its maximum when = 90 degrees, F = 0 when the current is parallel to the field lines. i.e., = 0 degrees. Use Fleming's left hand rule for the direction of motion.

Magnetic Force on a moving charge

F=BIL = BQL/T= BQV The SI unit for charge, Q, is coulombs - C. If charge moving at right angles to the field F = -Bev for an electron ( e = charge on an electron) Remember that the direction of conventional current is opposite to that of the electron. The magnitude of an electron charge is -1.6x10-19



Orbiting charges
F is always perpendicular to the path of the charged particle, so the particle moves in a circular path. Therefore, centripetal force = mv/R = BeV Radius of path = R = mv/Be

Quick note
Radius is large for more massive, faster particles Radius is smaller when the magnetic field strength is large

The nuclear atom

Up until the 19th century, atoms were once thought to be the smallest building blocks of matter, and that matter could not be broken down any further. We now know that atoms are made up of smaller, sub-atomic, particles. This has also helped us to understand the nuclear processes such as fission and fusion.

Structure of the atom

Near the end of the 19th century, it was widely accepted that the atom was neutral as a whole, and had areas of concentrated negative lumps within a larger positive structure. This model of the atom was called the plum pudding model, where the pudding was positive, and the plums were the negative electrons. This is also called the chocolate chip cookie model.

Discovery of the nucleus

Plum pudding atom

In 1906, Ernest Rutherford was investigating the passage of particles through gold foil. What he found was that most of the particles passed straight through the foil, and there was some that were deflected by an angle of greater than 90. It was known that particles were smaller than atoms and had a positive charge, and from this Rutherford concluded that the atom is mostly empty space and has a positively charged nucleus at the center, which was repelling the particles. This experiment disproved the plum pudding model, and the new nuclear model was now the widely accepted model. He also calculated that the nucleus had a diameter of around . Later, the negative "lumps" that originally led to the plum pudding model were found to actually be electrons orbiting the nucleus with a relatively large radius of about , also confirming that an atom is mostly empty space.

Discovery of the proton

The next step was to find out what the nucleus was made up of. The proton was discovered, again by Rutherford, in 1919. To find the protons, he placed a source of radiation inside a cylinder of nitrogen gas. The cylinder had an opening at one end, which was covered by a sheet of aluminium foil. A screen was placed outside the opening, and flashes of light were observed on the screen. The flashes of light were caused by particles hitting the screen, but since it was known that aluminium foil prevents particles from passing through, another, smaller, particle must have been hitting the screen. Rutherford asked two of his research students, Geiger and Marsden, to take measurements of the deflection angles of the particles, and he found by calculations that the proton was smaller than most nuclei, and had a positive charge which was the same magnitude of an electron. The distribution of the deflected alpha particles is different for different forces (for example, magnetic, hard sphere etc.). Rutherford was

The nuclear atom able to be sure that the nucleus was positively charged.


Discovery of the neutron

In 1932, James Chadwick discovered a particle that was slightly greater in mass than the proton and had no electric charge, which he called the neutron. He used radiation from polonium, and directed it towards some beryllium. The beryllium emitted neutrons when it was bombarded with the radiation, but since they have no charge, they were hard to detect. Chadwick placed some paraffin wax in the path of the neutrons, and the paraffin wax emitted high energy protons (paraffin wax contains a large amount of hydrogen). This showed that there were particles hitting the atoms of the paraffin wax without being slowed down by the positively charged nucleus of the atoms, and that they collide elastically with atoms.

Evidence of crystal structure

A beam of X-rays can be directed at a piece of crystalline material, and the resulting dots on the screen behind it are a regularly spaced pattern. The regularly spaced dots are evidence that the atoms in the material have a crystal structure. If the atoms weren't in a crystal structure, the resulting pattern would be smeared rings. X-rays are used because the wavelength of X-rays are roughly the same as the spacing between atoms, and therefore the diffraction is greatest. An electron beam can also be used to provide the same evidence.

Evidence of the size of nuclei

A beam of high-energy electrons can be used to find the radius of nuclei. High-energy electrons are electrons that have been accelerated to high velocities, so that their de Broglie wavelength could be changed to match the spacings of nuclei. The electrons are diffracted around different nuclei and calculations are done to find the radius of a nucleus from the angle of diffraction.

Relative sizes
The size of various particles were found from the above experiments as: radius of proton radius of neutron radius of nucleus m to m radius of atom m radius of molecule m to m m

Nuclear processes
Nuclear equations
If we look at a helium nucleus, we can see that it has two neutrons and two protons. It can be represented like this:

The 4 at the top represents the number of nucleons in the nucleus, and is therefore called the nucleon number, and sometimes the mass number. It is sometimes denoted by the letter A.

A helium atom

The 2 at the bottom represents the number of protons, and is therefore called the proton number, or atomic number, and is sometimes denoted by the letter Z. To be more precise, however, the proton number represents the charge of the nucleus, so that an electron is represented by:

The nuclear atom In all nuclear processes, there is always a balance. The number of neutrons and protons are always the same before and after a process, and so the nucleon and proton numbers must stay the same. Consider the reaction:


Here 2 hydrogen nuclei fuse to form a helium nucleus. You can add the nucleon numbers together, to give , and you can add the proton numbers together, to give . As you can see, both sides of the equals sign are balanced.

Nuclear fission
The splitting up of nucleus into two approximately equal fragments.

Nuclear fusion
It is when smaller nuclei combines to form larger stable nuclei.

Isotopes have same number of protons but different number of neutrons.

Work and energy

Doing Work: A force can increase the kinetic energy or gravitational potential energy of an object. The force moves through a distance, and we say that it does work. The amount of work done tells us the amount of energy transferred by the force. work done (J) = energy transferred (J) To calculate the amount of work done W, we need to know two quantities: - The magnitude of the force F, - The distance d moved by the force, in the direction of the force, Then

Energy: James Joule is the man, where the term 'the joule' comes from. His principle of conservation of energy states that: While energy may be converted from one form to another, the total amount of energy in a closed system is always constant. There are two main different types of energy; kinetic and potential. Kinetic energy (EK) is moving energy and potential energy (EP)is the energy that could be transferred to moving energy. The formula for these are: Kinetic Energy: Potential Energy: The relationship between work done and energy is:

Work and energy Work done = Energy transferred


Further dynamics
From last year, you should remember kinematics and dynamics, the branch of physics that relates to the motion of objects. We will now expand on this and have a look at what happens when two objects collide, the concept of momentum, and we will take a closer look at Newton's three laws of motion.

If you have seen collisions involving two objects, you may have noticed that the velocity of one object seems to be passed to the other object. You may also have noticed that heavier objects seem to pass more velocity on to smaller objects, whereas smaller objects seem to pass less velocity to more massive ones. What is in fact happening is that momentum is being conserved. Momentum is the product of an objects mass and velocity, or . This means that, after a collision, an object that is heavier will have a lower velocity than a lighter object in its place, and vice versa. Momentum is conserved for all collisions. The principle of the conservation of momentum states that: Within a closed system, the total momentum in any specified direction remains constant. Momentum is a vector quantity and has the units or (Newton-seconds) in the SI system.

Since momentum is conserved, the momentum before a collision is equal to the momentum after a collision. You can use this fact to solve problems involving collisions.

For instance, a ball is moving at 3m/s with mass 3kg. It hits another ball with mass 1kg moving at 2m/s; the two balls collide and the second ball rebounds at 4m/s. Find the velocity at which ball 1 is moving:

So the velocity at which ball 1 is moving after the collision is 2.3m/s (7/3)m/s 1

Further dynamics


Newton's laws of motion

Newton's first law of motion
An object will remain at rest or in a state of uniform motion unless it is acted on by an external resultant force.

Newton's second law of motion

Originally, you learnt this to be: For an object with constant mass, its acceleration is proportional to the force producing the acceleration, and is in the direction of the force. However, since you now know that a force changes the rate of change of momentum of an object, we can use a more accurate interpretation of Newton's second law: The rate of change in momentum of an object is proportional to the force that produces it, and takes place in the direction of the force.

Newton's third law of motion

When two bodies interact, the forces they exert on each other are equal and opposite.

Glossary of Terms
Definitions of keywords and terms that you will need to know.

Absolute zero Zero on the thermodynamic temperature scale, or 0 K (kelvin), where a substance has minimum internal energy, and is the coldest possible temperature. It is equal to -273.15 degrees Celsius. Absorption spectrum A spectrum of dark lines across the pattern of spectral colours produced when light passes through a gas and the gas absorbs certain frequencies depending on the elements in the gas. Acceleration The (instantaneous) rate of change of velocity in respects to time. Acceleration of free fall (g) The acceleration of a body falling under gravity (9.81ms-2 on earth). Ammeter A device used to measure the electric current in a circuit. It is connected in series with the components. Amount of substance A SI quantity, measured in moles (mol). Ampere The SI unit for electric current.

Glossary of Terms Amplitude The maximum displacement of a wave from its rest/mean position (measured in metres). Antinode A point of maximum amplitude along a stationary wave caused by constructive interference.


Coulomb's Law The force between two charges is directly proportional to the product of the charges and inversely proportional to the distance between them squared Couple Two equal, opposite and parallel forces which create rotational force.

Displacement A vector quantity, the distance of an object from its initial position, in a given direction Density Density is the mass of a body per unit volume Decay Constant The probability of decay of a nucleus per unit time

Electric field strength (E) The force that a unit charge would experience at a specified point. Measured in Volts per metre or Newtons per Coulomb Electric potential (V) The energy that a unit charge would have at a specified point. Measured in Volts Energy The stored ability to do work Extension (x) The change in length of an object when a force is applied to it

Faraday's Law The emf induced in a conductor is directly proportional to the rate at which the magnetic flux changes. Force A force causes a mass to change motion Frequency The number of waves that pass a fixed point in a unit of time

Glossary of Terms


Gravitational Field Strength (g) The force that a unit mass would experience at a specified point. Measured in metres per second per second or Newtons per kilogramme Gravitational Potential The energy that a unit mass would have at a specified point. Measured in Joules per kilogramme Gravitational Potential Energy the energy an object has due to its relative position above the ground. Found by mass x gravity (or gravitational field strength) x height or force per unit mass at a set point in a gravitational field

Heat is a form of energy transfer, also known as 'Thermal Energy'. Hooke's Law an approximation that states that the extension of a spring is in direct proportion with the load added to it as long as this load does not exceed the elastic limit.

Instantaneous acceleration acceleration at a specific time; slope of tangent to velocity- time graph. Instantaneous position position of an object at specific time. Instantaneous velocity slope of the tangent to position- time graph.

Joule The SI unit of work done, or energy. One joule is the work done when a force of one newton moves an object one metre.

Kinetic Energy The energy an object possesses due to its motion, given by KE = 0.5 x mass x velocity

Glossary of Terms


Lenz's Law An induced electromotive force (emf) always gives rise to a current whose magnetic field opposes the original change in magnetic flux.

Newton Unit in which force is measured. Symbol "N". One Newton is the force required to give a mass of 1kg an acceleration of 1ms^-2

Period (T) The time taken for one complete oscillation. Denoted by 'T'. T=1/f Power The rate at which work is done. Pressure The load applied to an object per unit surface area. Potential difference The work done in moving a unit positive charge from one point to the other. The unit is volt.

Q or q Often used as the symbol for charge in equations

Resistivity The property of a material that measures it resistance to electric current. It is defined as the resistance a wire of the material would have if it had a cross sectional area of one metre square and a length of one meter. Radian A radian is the angle subtended at the centre of the circle when the arc length is equal in length to the radius.

Scalar A quantity with magnitude but no direction. Speed A scalar quantity, speed = distance / time NB s can also mean displacement. Stopping Distance Stopping distance = Thinking distance + Braking distance thinking distance (distance traveled while reacting) = time taken to react X velocity

Glossary of Terms braking distance (distance traveled while braking)


Temperature A SI quantity, measured in kelvin (K). Tensile force The forces being applied onto a material (usually a wire) on two opposite sides in order to stretch it. Both forces' values are the same as the tensile force value. Tensile stress The tensile force per unit cross-sectional area. Terminal Velocity maximum velocity a body can travel. When resistive forces = driving force, acceleration = 0, so it cannot travel any faster. Thermistor An electrical component that changes its resistance depending on its temperature. Thinking distance The distance travelled from seeing the need to stop to applying the brakes. Threshold frequency The lowest frequency of electromagnetic radiation that will result in the emission of photoelectrons from a specified metal surface. Thrust A type of force due to an engine (usually forward force). Time interval (t) A SI quantity, measured in seconds (s). Torque / moment Moment = force x perpendicular distance from the pivot to the line of action of the force Torque = one of the forces x the distance between them Transverse Wave A progressive wave that transfers energy as a result of oscillations/vibrations. Triangle of forces If three forces are acting at a point that can be represented by the sides of a triange, the forces are in equilibrium. Turning forces More than one forces that if unbalanced will cause a rotation.

Glossary of Terms


Ultimate tensile strength The maximum tensile force that can be applied to an object before it breaks. Ultimate tensile stress The maximum stress that can be applied to an object before it breaks. Ultraviolet A form of electromagnetic wave (wavelengths 10-9-3.7x10-7m). It may cause sun tanning. Usually classified into three categeries:UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. Upthrust A force experienced due to the pressure difference of the fluid at the top and bottom of the immersed portion of the body.

Vector A quantity with magnitude and direction. Velocity The (instantaneous) rate of change of displacement with respect to time. Velocity is a vector. Velocity-time graph A motion graph which shows velocity against time for a given body. Volt (V) The unit of potential difference (p.d.) or electromotive force (e.m.f.) potential difference=energy/charge Voltmeter A device used to measure the potential difference across a component. It is connected in parallel across a component. Volume(V) A physical quantity representing how much 3D space an object occupies, measured in cubic metres(m3)

Watt(W) The unit of power. power = energy / time Wave Series of vibrations that transfer energy from one place to another. Wavelength() The smallest distance between one point of a wave and the identical point of the next wave, measured in metres (m). Wave-particle duality The theory which states that all objects can exhibit both wave and particle properties. Weight

Glossary of Terms The gravitational force acting on a body, measured in newtons (N). weight=mass x gravitational force Work Done The energy transferred when an object is moved through a distance by a force. Can be calculated by multiplying the force involved by the distance moved in the direction of the force. Alternatively, [work done = transfer of energy]. i.e., work is done when energy is transferred from one form to another. [OCR do not accept this definition if asked "Define work done by a force"] Work function energy () The minimum energy that is required for a material to release an electron, measured in joules(J).


X rays A form of electromagnetic wave (wavelengths:10-12-10-7m). It is used in X-ray photography.

Young's double slit experiment An experiment to demonstrate the wave nature of light via superposition and interference. Young Modulus Stress per unit Strain, units: Pascals or N/m2

Contents: Top A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Gravitational fields


Gravitational fields
We have already met gravitational fields, where the gravitational field strength of a planet multiplied by an objects mass gives us the weight of that object, and that the gravitational field strength, of Earth is equal to the acceleration of free fall at its surface, and how to calculate the value of . We will now consider gravitational fields that are not uniform for any given mass.

Gravity as a field of force

The effects of the Earth's gravity extend far out into space. For example, the Moon is kept in orbit by the Earth even though it is 400,000km away (where gravity is the centripetal force). The Earth has a gravitational field that will attract any object with mass towards the centre of the planet.

Radial Fields
The Earth has a radial field of gravity, which means that the gravitational field is circular and acts from the centre point. You can see on the diagram that near the Earth's surface the lines are closer together than higher up. The closeness of the lines represent the relative strength of the field, so from the diagram, you can tell that the strength of the field decreases with altitude. Further apart lines represent points where the field is weaker. The arrows show the direction in which the force on an object will act, which is towards the centre of the Earth.
The Earths radial gravitational field is represented by the lines.

Uniform fields
A uniform field, however, has the lines perfectly parallel. The Earth's gravitational field can be considered to be uniform on the scale of small things such as cars, balls, and planes. For small heights at this scale (a few dozen kilometres), the strength of the field doesn't change enough to be noticeable. Again, the arrows point towards the centre of the Earth, since that is the way objects fall.

Newton's ideas of gravity

Isaac Newton was trying to find a way to explain why objects fell towards the centre of the Earth instead of simply staying put. He began to link the falling of an apple, with the "falling" of the Moon towards the Earth, and came up with his law of gravitation. He suggested that any two objects with a mass would have a force of attraction between them. This force of attraction would be proportional to their masses, so that larger masses would have a stronger force of

Gravity field lines representation is arbitrary as illustrated here represented in 30x30 grid to 0x0 grid and almost being parallel and pointing straight down to the center of the Earth

attraction than a smaller mass.

Gravitational fields

56 The gravitational field of every object is a radial field, since the mass is concentrated at the objects centre, and as you already know, this is the point at which gravity could be said to act.

The Earth's gravitational field is represented by parallel lines on small scales.

The strength of a radial field decreases as you move further away from it. As you can see on the diagram on the right, the number of field lines going through the plane quarter when the distance is doubled, and it will be tripled. This is called the inverse square law, and is true for anything which is a point source, such a light from a point or the amount of radiation emitted. The inverse square law follows . of the original value if the distance was

As you can see, a quarter of lines of force goes through the plane when the distance is doubled.

Using the above, Newton suggested that the force of attraction was proportional to the two masses as well as the distance between them: . This relationship is the basis of how Newton's law of gravitation is often stated: Any two point masses attract each other with a force that is proportional to each of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. However, to make this into an equation, we need to add in a constant of proportionality, G: . Where G is the gravitational constant, . There is also a minus sign in the equation, which will be

explained in the "electric fields" module, where we will encounter repelling as well as attracting forces. is also sometimes written as , so that capital M represents a large mass such a

planet, and lower case m represents a small mass such as a ball or an aeroplane.

Gravitational fields


Gravitational field strength

Defining the gravitational field strength
The gravitational field strength tells us how strong a gravitational field is. You may recall that the gravitational field strength of the Earth near its surface is . This means an object that is near the surface of the earth will accelerate towards it at . We could then define the gravitational field strength as the acceleration an . Making the subject of this gives us

object will experience within that gravitational field. A better definition, however, can be derived from the equation, , or becomes:

. From this arrangement of the equation, our definition of gravitational field strength now

The gravitational field strength at a point is the force per unit mass exerted on a mass placed at that point. This means that the gravitational field strength, gravitational field. From the new definition, it follows that gravitational field strength is measured in acceptable to use free fall). , though it is perfectly is equal to the force experienced by a mass of 1kg in that

for situations where it is treated as an acceleration (such as the acceleration of an object in

Finding the field strength of a mass

Since and , they can be combined to give:

(by substituting F for mg) (by cancelling the lower case 'm's) You can use this to find the gravitational field strength of a mass at a particular point, r. Note that the gravitational field strength of the Earth near its surface is numerically equal to the acceleration of free fall, .

Health Physics


Health Physics
Body Mechanics The Eye and Sight The Ear and Hearing Medical Imaging Medical Treatment

Body Mechanics
Health physics is a constantly expanding new part of the A levels.

Medical Imaging
Medical imaging includes MRI CT and X-ray scanning. It is useful to see the internal structure of the human body.

Kinematics is the study of the way objects move. It focuses on describing an object's motion, and doesn't explain how forces affect it.

Distance and displacement

You may already be familiar with the term distance, as the distance between two points is the length of the path a body takes between those two points. Distance is a scalar, so if you were to walk 10m North, and then 10m South, you would have covered a distance of 20m. Displacement, however, is a vector quantity. Displacement, in a sense, is simply the shortest distance between any two points. If a body ends up at the same spot as its initial position after travelling through some distance, we say that the displacement of the body is 0, so the above example would give you a total displacement of 0m.

Although the distance covered is 25m, the displacement is 10m in the direction shown by the green arrow.

In the diagram on the right, if the distance covered was 25m, then the displacement would be 10m. You can find the displacement by measuring the length of the line between the start and end points. A measurement is a displacement if it has a specified direction, otherwise it is a distance. The symbol for distance is d, and the symbol for displacement is s or x. Be careful not to confuse the s for displacement with s for seconds.



Speed and velocity

The speed of an object is the distance it moves in a unit of time. You can find the speed of an object if you know the distance an object moved, and the time it took to move that distance: , or .

Velocity is a vector, and similar to the difference between distance and displacement, velocity is speed in a specified direction. A vehicle could be moving with constant speed, but have a changing velocity. This happens when the vehicle turns. Imagine a racing car is moving along the track with a speed of 20m s-1. If this direction is taken to be positive, then the car's velocity is also 20m s-1. Now, if the car was to turn into a "U" bend, its velocity would change. When the car is perpendicular to the first straight, the car will still have a speed of 20m/s-1, but its velocity will now be 0m/s-1. When the car has made the turn and is coming back to the starting point, the speed is still 20m/s-1, but the velocity is -20m/s-1, since the car is now moving in the opposite direction. The symbol for speed is s, and the symbol for velocity is v. Be careful not to confuse the s for speed with s for displacement or s for seconds.

Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. In other words, acceleration is the amount an object's velocity changes in a unit of time. If you know the change in velocity and the time the change took, you can find acceleration using the formula: , or .

Alternatively, if you have the initial and final velocities, you can use the formula: , where is the initial velocity, and is the final velocity.

(Delta) means "change in". Acceleration is a vector, and can slow down objects as well as speed them up. An object will slow down when its acceleration is opposite to its velocity. The object is now decelerating. Something can be said to be accelerating if it's changing direction. In the example above, the car changes its velocity by turning a corner. Since acceleration is the rate of change of velocity, the car is accelerating. Acceleration is measured in metres per second per second, or , it means that its speed increases by each second. . If something had an acceleration of



Graphs Measuring speed and acceleration

Light gates
The Light Gate has an infrared transmitter and receiver, mounted in a robust steel housing avoids any misalignment problems. The Light Gate can be used for studying free fall, air track and incline plane experiments.

Ticker tape timer

The ticker tape timer is used in the measurement of velocity acceleration and general timing. It has a frequency of 50 to 60Hz (varies according to type) equivalent to that of the mains power supply. It will give good results if operated from a 12V a.c. power supply. The timer uses an electromagnet which activates a striker producing dots via a carbon disk on the ticker tape. At 50Hz, each dot will represent 0.02seconds.While at 60Hz, one dot represents 0.01seconds.

This device is used for the measurement of acceleration and the unit is in metre per second square (m/s2)

The equations of motion

From the definitions of position, velocity and acceleration, one can derive the relationships between the three vectors. Where is acceleration in the direction of the velocity, is displacement, is time, is initial velocity and

is final velocity. Note that these equations only work when an object has constant acceleration and the direction of motion is linear.

Deriving the equations

As stated above, the equations of motion are derived from: . Deriving The expression is the average velocity during the time frame. This is allowed only in a linear context; non

linear kinematics requires the use of calculus. Because the average velocity accounts for the variations of the velocities during a linear change, the total distance traveled is thus the velocity during the time frame multiplied by the time.

Kinematics Deriving s = ut + 1/2 a(t)2 This equation is derived from the equations Substitute into the equation
= =



An alternative derivation that is more commonly used is done by Calculus. Assuming the boundary condition is that at t = 0, \Delta s = 0 so C = 0. Thus the equation becomes Deriving v2 = u2 + 2as This equation is derived from the equations Multiply by and .

Deriving the equations in vectors

All constant are taken in capital letters All variable are given in small letter Deriving v(t) = Ui + A (t - Ti)


for zero or constant acceleration A we have



we have one unknown K , we need to consider initial or final condition Lets take initially we have


If we take final condition in consideration then i.e.:

constant acceleration can be found using initial and final condition

Deriving s(t) = Si + Ui(t-Ti) + (1/2)A (t - Ti)2 now we have

for eliminating K we need either final or initial condition i.e.

If we would have taken final condition i.e.




Deriving |v(t)|2 = |Ui|2 + 2 A . (s(t)-S_i)

taking case for final velocity


Magnetic effects of current

Right Hand Grip Rule
The most basic principle. Imagine your right hand gripping a pen while doing a "thumbs up"(it is vulgar in certain countries but this is for science). The thumb points to the direction of the conventional current while the other fingers points to the direction of the magnetif field lines(it circles around the direction of current).

Fleming's left hand rule

Use your thumb, first and second fingers to point at 90 to each other: like the corner of a box. First finger: Field seCond finger: Current THumb: THrust

F is the force produced, measured in newtons. B is the magnetic field strength (flux density), measured in Tesla. I is the current that the magnetic field is acting on, measured in Amps. L is the length of the electrical wire, measured in metres.

Models of the known universe


Models of the known universe

As more sophisticated tools have been developed, our understanding of the universe has improved. Some proposed models of the universe were proven wrong, and other ideas are still with us today.

Measuring distances in the universe

The distances at the scale of the universe are gigantic, and our everyday metres and even kilometres are too small to be used. We need to use units that are more appropriate for large distances. Often, other units are convenient to use because of the way they are measured.

The light-year
One light-year is defined as the distance light travels in one year. As you know, light travels at and so the distance it covers in one year is enormous. One light year is approximately m. ,

The astronomical unit

The astronomical unit is defined as the average distance between the Earth and the Sun. It originates from the fact that it was possible to measure the distances of the planets, but only in multiples of the distance between the Earth and Sun. It is still useful today for distances within the solar system. It is approximately equal to m.

The parsec
One parsec is simply the reciprocal of half the angle of parallax of a star, when observed from Earth at two opposite points of its orbit. Parallax is the apparent change in position of an object against a fixed background when the position of the observer changes, like how buildings seem to move faster than background hills when you're in a car. It is convenient to find from the measured angle, and is therefore used mainly for the distances of stars. This concept is covered in more detail in Stars & Galaxies. One parsec is approximately m, or 3.26 light-years.

A simplified example of parallax.

Models of the known universe


Overview of the solar system

Our solar system consists of the Sun, the planets and an asteroid belt. Additionally, there are comets that have highly elliptical orbits, and return to the solar system at regular intervals.

There are eight planets orbiting the Sun (Pluto being reclassified as a dwarf planet), which is at the centre of the solar system. Most planets also have natural satellites, or moons, orbiting them. The table below outlines the main features of the planets, relative to the Earth:

The Solar System, showing the Sun, the planets, the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and a comet.

Planet Equator Mass Orbital diam. radius (AU)

Orbital period (years) 0.241 0.615 1.00 1.88 11.86 29.46 84.01 164.8 248.5

Orbital Orbital Day Moons Incline Angle () Eccentricity (days)

Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto

0.382 0.949 1.00 0.53 11.2 9.41 3.98 3.81 0.18

0.06 0.82 1.00 0.11 318 95 14.6 17.2 0.002

0.387 0.72 1.00 1.52 5.20 9.54 19.22 30.06 39.5

7.00 3.39 0.00 1.85 1.31 2.48 0.77 1.77 17.1

0.206 0.0068 0.0167 0.0934 0.0484 0.0542 0.0472 0.0086 0.249

58.6 -243 1.00 1.03 0.414 0.426 -0.718 0.671 -6.4

none none 1 2 63 49 27 13 4

Asteroid belt
There is a concentration of small, rocky asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, which is known as the asteroid belt. There are hundreds of thousands of these planetoids orbiting the Sun, and are sometimes called minor planets.

Comets are lumps of rock, frozen water, methane and ammonia that orbit the Sun, and are typically only a few kilometres in diameter. They have very eccentric (elliptical) orbits and therefore vary greatly in their distance from the Sun. When they are near the Sun, they have long tails of approximately 1AU, due to the Sun's radiation.

Models of the known universe


The progress in the understanding of the universe

The accepted model of the Solar System has been subject to great controversy over the decades. In the old geocentric model, the Earth was originally placed in the centre of the Solar System, and had the other planets and the Sun orbiting it. Now, the accepted model places the Sun in the centre, with the Earth and other planets orbiting around it.

Nicolaus Copernicus found the old geocentric model unnecessarily complicated. Instead of having the Earth in the centre of the universe, he decided to place the Sun in the centre, which we now call the heliocentric model. This model could very easily explain the movement of the planets and the Sun across the sky, and in particular the retrograde motion of Mars, where it would appear to move "backwards" across the sky for several weeks. This retrograde motion of Mars was previously explained by epicycles where it would "loop-the-loop" around at certain points. With Copernicus' new model, it was The retrograde motion of Mars explained that since the Earth was closer to the Sun than Mars, there will be sections where the Earth will "overtake" Mars, and will make Mars apparently move backwards across the sky. Opposition to Copernicus Copernicus' heliocentric model was rejected by most people mainly because of religious beliefs at the time, and although it seemed to simplify the motion of the planets, it was less accurate than the geocentric model at fitting the observed movements of the planets. People also argued that if the Earth was moving, the stars would have a detectable parallax. Copernicus claimed that the stars were too far away to detect any parallax, and with more sensitive equipment, he has now been proved correct. Another argument against the heliocentric model was that objects all fall towards the Earth, and so it must be the centre of the universe. This was the intuitive conclusion before Newton revolutionised our ideas about motion.

Models of the known universe


Johannes Kepler improved upon Copernicus' original model by using elliptical orbits instead of circular ones. He devised three laws of planetary motion: Kepler's first law Kepler found that the planets fit the observed pattern better with the heliocentric model if they travelled in ellipses, not circles, and had the Sun at one of the foci of these ellipses. Therefore Kepler's first law states: The planets orbit the sun in elliptical orbits with the sun at one focus.

An elliptical orbit with the Sun at one of the foci

Kepler's second law Now that the planets had elliptical orbits, it would not make sense for them to travel at the same speed at all points of their orbit. The planets would speed up nearer the Sun, and move slower when they were further away from the Sun. Kepler observed that the imaginary triangle formed between the planet at two points in its orbit and the Sun always had the same area provided the two points of the planets orbit had the same time difference between them. From this it follows that a planets orbit is faster nearer the Sun than further away from it. Kepler's second law states that: The line connecting a planet to the sun sweeps out equal areas in equal amounts of time.

Equal areas are covered in equal amounts of time

Kepler's third law Kepler realised that the distance of a planet from the Sun and its orbital period were related by the formula: , where T is the time taken for one orbit, and d is the distance from the Sun, although it is actually the length of the semi-major axis (which is half of the longest diameter of the elipse).

The semi-major axis of an ellipse

The square of the orbital period is proportional to the cube of the distance from the Sun.

Models of the known universe


Galileo Galilei was the first person to use a telescope to look at the night sky. He was able to view many things that weren't visible to the naked eye, such as the imperfectness of the surface of the moon, and the fact that there were many faint stars in the sky. Both of these supported Copernicus' ideas. Galileo and Venus When Galileo observed Venus with his telescope. he noticed that it went through phases, like the Moon. He also noticed that when Venus was a crescent, it was much larger than when it was full. This observation was evidence that Venus was orbiting around the Sun and not Earth. Galileo and Jupiter's Moons Galileo also observed four objects orbiting Jupiter, which are now known as the Galilean moons They supported the view that not everything orbits the Earth.

The Phases of Venus.

Newton's universal law of gravitation

When Issac Newton created his universal law of gravitation, he attempted to show that Kepler's observations of planetary motion agreed with it. This was significant evidence to show that he was correct. Newton's law of gravitation can be used to give a formula for the planets in the form :

The force of gravitational attraction between the Sun and a planet is equal to the centripetal force required to keep the planet in its orbit:

The period of the planets orbit can be given by:

Where the distance is the circumference of a circle, radius, not the diameter). This gives us:

(note that d is distance from Sun, and is therefore the

Which we can re-arrange to make v the subject and substitute into

in the centripetal force equation:

Eliminating m, the mass of the planet, and tidying up:

Models of the known universe And finally, making the subject:


We now have a formula in the form the Sun. The discovery of Neptune

, with

as the constant of proportionality, where m is the mass of

In 1821, Alexis Bouvard published very accurate observations in the orbit of Uranus. However, soon after this, the orbit of Uranus was observed to deviate from the published values. In 1845 John Adams, using Newton's universal law of gravitation, calculated the orbit of another planet outside of Uranus whose gravity would account for the perturbations in Uranus' orbit. Neptune was discovered in its predicted position a year later. Pluto was discovered in a similar way, since it was causing further perturbations in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. Problems encountered with Newton's theory Although Newton's theory was very successful in explaining the motion of the planets, and had even been used to discover unknown planets, there were still some problems with it: The orbit of Mercury was observed to have a different orbit to the one predicted by the theory. This has now been resolved by Einstein's general theory of relativity. If every object in the universe attracts each other, then the entire universe should have collapsed because of the gravitational attraction. To solve this, Newton came up with the idea that the universe was infinitely large, and that matter was uniformly spread throughout. This led to its own problems, though, namely Olber's paradox, which states that an infinitely large universe will always have a star on any given line of sight, and so the night sky should actually be bright. This has been resolved with the observations of an expanding universe by Edwin Hubble.

Motion in a circle


Motion in a circle
Motion in a circle is a very interesting concept, and not very complicated either. There are many lines (in the non literal sense) that can be drawn between circular motion and linear motion. In fact, as you progress, you will find circular motion much more convinient that linear motion, because of some basic properties, most importantly, that the angular motion, of a body is the same for all particles, though their velocities may change. However, this will be dealt in rotational mechanics, not here. Before reading this section, ensure that you have a thorough understanding of linear motion, vectors and differentiation.

Angular Variables
Similar to the variables, The first variable is position vector found in linear motion, representing the position vector, displacement, velocity and acceleration respectively, we have a few terms in angular motion. , which is the angle subtended at the centre of the circle. This can be compared with the . Like velocity is the change in your position vector, or your of linear motion. It is measured in radians, or rads. is the change in angle per unit time. It is measured in radians per second, rads/s. Also, it

The second variable is angular velocity, displacement by time, t,

is not your displaced angle. If you cover 360 &deg, and full circle, in one second, it does not mean that your angular velocity is zero, but 2 &pi radians per second. Mathematically we have, The third variable is angular acceleration, per second, . Mathematically, . It is the change in angular velocity by time. It is measured in radians

Notice that these quantities are not dependent on radius. All angular terms depend only on the axis of rotation, or the centre of the circle, a fact that makes circular motion useful.

Axial Vectors
It should be noted that these vectors are not normal vectors, but are axial vectors. Axial vectors are vectors along the axis. Rather that along the direction of motion, these angular variables are along the axis, in an upward direction or downward direction. This concept is quite difficult to visulalise. Imagine a rod, which is your axis of rotation, passing through a disc. If you try and spin the disc, the axis will start to rotate. As such, your axis does not possess a real velocity. It does not move at all. Now if you put a small ring on the rod. It should be in contact, but not too tightly attached. If you spin the rod, the ring will start to move up, or down. This is due to a physical phenomenon, but for this purpose, ignore the dynamics of its motion, only consider that it is moving up, or down. Also notice, that generally, when you rotate it in anticlockwise direction, it moves up . By this experiment, you can visualise how the axial vector operates. By convention, an anticlockwise rotation the direction of the axial vector is taken as the positive upward vector on the axis, and vice versa for clockwise rotation. Another point to not is that though axial vectors can be resolved, to simulate a body rotating in two axes, it more often than not complicates the situation. There are also several technical complications if your two axes of rotation are not passing through the same point. This is a very complicated situation, and will not be discussed.

Motion in a circle


Using Angular Variables

Here are a few examples showing the usage of the angular variables we have just learnt.

Example 1
Suppose a body is rotating, such that it subtends an angle of 1200 &deg at the centre every minute. Find its angular velocity in S.I. units. We know that angular velocity is the angle covered per unit time. Since it covers 1200 degrees per minute, with uniform angular velocity, we can say that it covers 20 degrees in one second. 20 degrees is radians. So we get rad/s.

Example 2
If a body's angular displacement increases by t. per second, find its, angular velocity, and acceleration at some time,

It is clear that the angular velocity is not constant from this. The average angular velocity in the first second is rads/s, in the second second, rads/s, and in the third second rads/ sec. You can observe that the angular velocity is the time, t into radians per second. So, rads/s. radians per second square. So, . We can also see that the angular acceleration is constant, and equal to

Equations of Motion
We now move onto a few equations, bearing striking resemblance to those of linear motion. The second example given above, is much better solved with these equations. All these equations are applicable only under constant angular acceleration. 1. This equation gives a relation between your angular velocity and time. velocity initially. 2. This equation gives a relation between your angular displacement and time. is the is the angular


initial angular displacement. This equation gives a relation between your angular velocity and angular displacement. Remember that the &omega is not a vector.

Example 3
If a body spins about an axis, accelerating at a rate of 4 rad/s^2, find 1. the angular displacement after 5 seconds, and angular velocity at that time 2. the angular displacement when it attains an angular velocity of 12 rad/s 1. The time has been given. In the first part, we need a relation between &theta and time. This is the second equation. So, we have the equation identified, . Substituting, to establish a relation between &omega and time. This is the first equation. rads/s <\li> 2. There are two methods to solve this equation. One is to find time through the first equation, and substitute it in the second, the other is to directly use the third equation. or Substituting in equation 2, In the other method, . We also know the values of radians The second part requires us

Motion in a circle


or 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. One might ask why the first method was even considered. This is because, if the angular velocity was given, not your speed , the third equation would require us to first find the speed, i.e. magnitude, of the &omega, and we would proceed further. This too is not a serious impediment, and could be carried out. But if the angular velocity were asked, the third equation would not give us that. These are important things to be kept in mind, even if they are not applied often.

Angular Unit Vectors

For the sake of convenience, two different vectors are used in circular motion, radial vectors and tangential vectors. Rather than our usual and vectors used for components in the x-axis and y-axis, the radial vector, gives the outward component along the radial line. The tangential vector, anticlockwise being positive. If the angle subtended at the centre is known, then it becomes quite easy to convert these vectors into normal x-axis and y-axis vectors, by trigonometry. gives the component along the tangent,

Nuclear and Particle Physics

The Nucleus Neutrons And Fission Fusion Matter and Anitmatter Fundametal Particles

The Nucleus


The Nucleus
Protons and neutrons are the constituents of atomic nuclei. A proton is a positively charged particle which has the same charge as an electron, but positive. A neutron, on the other hand, is a neutral particle with zero charge. Protons have a mass of 1.6552e-27 kg and a charge of +1.66e-19 Coulombs, while neutrons have a mass of 1.6725e-27 kg. Protons and neutrons collectively are called NUCLEONS. The number of protons in the nucleus give the atomic number, while the sum of the total mass of protons and neutrons gives 99.9% of the mass of the atom, the rest is due to electrons. On the periodic table, you can see the number of nucleon written as the mass number.

What force holds the atomic nuclei together?

For many years people had wondered what held an atom in place and why it doesn't just split apart due to repulsive electric forces. At first they thought that it was gravity which held the atoms, protons and neutrons in place. This was disproved after they found out gravity was very very weak at nuclear levels. In fact it's a million million million million million million times too small. (10^36) We now know the interaction responsible for binding quarks, anti-quarks, and gluons to make hadrons is called strong nuclear force (SNF) or The Strong Interaction. Residual strong force interactions provide the nuclear binding force. Simply put, strong force is the force that holds atomic nuclei together against the Coulomb (electrostatic repulsion) force of repulsion between protons. The strong force acts on any pair of hadrons. It has an extremely short range of only a few femtometers. Even so, at a very short range indeed, the SNF becomes repulsive, otherwise the neutrons and protons would be attracted together to the point where they would become a singularity.

The radii of atomic nuclei

The following gives the formula to work out the radii of atomic nuclei. Where: r is the radii A is the number of nucleons r0 is a constant having value 1.2 fermi to 1.5fermi.

Density of nuclear matter


is the volume of nucleus which is considered as sphere of radius r).NUCLEAR

DENSITY is constant throughout the nuclear dimensions.

Calculating electrostatic force

Where: F is the force is the permittivity of free space with the value 8.8541878176e-12 F/m c(farad per metre per coulomb) above expression is known as a coulomb law of electrostatics.

The Nucleus


Calculating gravitional force

Where: F is the force m1 and m2 are product of the two masses; and r being the distance between them. G is the value of the gravitational constant, which is

If you observe the motion of a pendulum, a child on a swing, or a speaker cone playing a low frequency sound, you will notice that in each case, there is movement backwards and forwards of the same distance from a center point, or in other words, a vibration. These objects that vibrate are said to oscillate.

Observing oscillations
Free oscillations
When an object is in free oscillation, it vibrates at its natural frequency. For example, if you strike a tuning fork, it will begin to vibrate for some time after you struck it, or if you hit a pendulum, it will always oscillate at the same frequency no matter how hard you hit it. All oscillating objects have a natural frequency, at which they will vibrate at once they have been moved from the equilbrium position.

Forced oscillations
Imagine a building in an earthquake. The ground is moving side to side, and the building (assuming that it is strong enough to not be completely destroyed by the forces) will be moving side to side with the ground. In this case, this oscillation is not the buildings natural frequency, but it is being forced to vibrate with the ground. This is a forced oscillation.

Examples of oscillating systems

A mass that is held up with a spring A pendulum A string of a guitar



Describing oscillations
Oscillations can be shown on a displacement-time graph, like this:

Notice that the curves are smooth. This is because the object slows down before changing direction, instead of bouncing back and forth, which is what a graph with straight lines and sharp corners would describe. Movement that has a displacement-time graph with curved lines like the one above, is called sinusoidal motion. The graph can show us the differences between several oscillating systems. For an oscillating system, the graph shows us: The displacement at a given point in time, The amplitude, The period and, The frequency

The displacement at a certain point in time is the distance of the object away from the centre point. The displacement is 0 at the centre, at its maximum at one end (usually on the right when right is taken as positive), and at its greatest negative value on the opposite end (usually left but, again, only when right is taken as positive). Displacement is given the symbol s or x.

The amplitude is the greatest displacement of an oscillating object. It is measured from the center point to one of the maximum points of displacement. The amplitude can increase or decrease with time. Amplitude is represented by the symbol A



Period and frequency

period is the time taken for a single oscillation. the frequency is the number of oscillations per second

Simple harmonic motion

A body executes simple harmonic motion if its acceleration is proportional to its displacement from a fixed point, and is always in the direction of that point. To explore simple harmonic motion (SHM) let's take the example of a spring with a mass in the absence of gravity (interestingly, you get SHM even with gravity present). If this is our ideal spring, the force is kx where k is a measure of the stiffness of the spring and x is the displacement. The force is toward the origin if that is the equilibrium position of the spring, so we write -kx to remind ourselves of that. Now, Newton's second law becomes . This differential equation is easy enough to solve, and the answer is constants and where A and are arbitrary

. It does not really matter how we got the solution, because we are physicists, not

mathematicians. This is the answer we are expecting, so we try it, and lo and behold, it works. If you do not believe me, substitute it in. Moreoever, this is the complete solution, and you will just have to believe me on that because it is slightly more difficult to prove. Without loss of generality, we will take , also called the phase shift, to be zero (if you are concerned about this, we are just defining where t=0 is). Now, a remarkable thing we recognize about the solution is that the frequency (radians per second), is independent of A. That is, no matter how big the oscillations are, the frequency is the same. A pendulum approximately undergoes SHM, so this is why they are used in clocks, the amplitude doesn't affect the period! By the way, we have added the subscript zero to omega because we are going to have some other omegas soon. Some terms to remember are frequency, f (cycles per second) = and the period, T = . These are not

so important, but often people will specify the frequency or the period instead of the angular frequency, so they can be helpful. Now, to get the velocity, differentiate the position, and to get the acceleration, differentiate the velocity. We have, and .

Now, we have avoided saying what A is. It turns out, it depends on the problem, or the initial conditions. We can say the velocity or position of the oscillator at some t is something and then use the expression for v or a to find A. You can do the same thing with the phase if you want, but it is a little tedious and doesn't tell us much. Notice the greatest velocity is at the equilibrium position (x = 0) of the oscillation. We can go one making such statements, but they are all extremely obvious if you simply plot out the position, velocity, and acceleration on the same graph.



An object that oscillates freely oscillates at its natural frequency. If it loses no energy, it will continue to oscillate forever. Damping is when an oscillating mass loses energy. There are 3 types of damping: 1) Light - The amplitude gradually decreases over time 2) Critical - The mass would overshoot 0 displacement 3) Heavy - The displacement decreases to 0 without any oscillation. The cause of damping is frictional forces, e.g. Car suspension Let's try to quantify this a bit. Say there is a friction force which is proportional to the velocity (this is a pretty good approximation in many cases) with constant of proportionality c. Then, by Newton's second law, . This equation is a little trickier to solve than without the friction. I am going to use a very nice trick which you will find throughout physics, and whenever you have similar equations. Notice that if x is a solution and y is a solution, then ax + by is also a solution, where a and b are constants (real or complex). This property means the equation is called "linear." We know that . Assume x is . Then we just take the real part of x and we get our answer because the equation is linear, but exponentials are so much easier to work with than sines and cosines. The equation of motion becomes So, or Defining , and remembering . Defining , we have the general solution . All we do is take the real part of this with Euler's identity, and we have, , where C and are just A and B written a different way. You can find them if you want, but they won't be very helpful. Notice that the oscillator oscillates with ever decreasing amplitude, but not at its "natural" frequency, but at a different frequency. It is conceivable that is imaginary, in which case, the entire solution is just a negative exponential! This is called critical damping, when it just turns into being an exponential instead of oscillitory motion. .

A mass resonates, when the driving frequency of oscillations is equal to the natural frequency of the object. (See Tacoma Narrows Bridge also known as "Galloping Gertie") This means that work is done to keep drive the oscillations. If the driving frequency is less than the natural frequency, the amplitude decreases to a much smaller value.

Quantum physics


Quantum physics
Quantum physics tries to explain the properties of matter and energy at the atomic and subatomic levels. We use quantum physics to model behaviour and properties of microscopic objects that cannot be modelled by Einsteinian physics, which is the physics used for objects at the macroscopic level (as viewed with the naked eye).

Does light behave as a wave or as particles?

Interference experiments, such as Young's Slits (see below) can only be explained if we assume light is a wave. However, the photoelectric effect can only be explained if light is a particle. So what is light - particle or wave? The best thing to remember is that both waves and particles are nothing more than physical models for explaining our observations. For example, someone might think of counting apples when they are learning basic arithmetic; this does not mean that numbers are apples, only that we can think of them as such in certain specific circumstances. When we get to the concept of negative numbers, using apples as a model breaks down unsurprisingly. Similarly, in quantum physics, we find that we must use different models for different situations.

Young's Slits
Thomas Young conducted a famous experiment in which light was diffracted by a double slit and produced an interference pattern on a screen. An interference pattern is a pattern of bright and dark bands caused by the constructive and destructive interference of the rays from the two slits, and is only a feature of waves. Electrons are usually considered to be particles, but produce apparent interference patterns by diffracting. To produce an interference pattern, you must have a wavelength. This gives more evidence of Wave-particle duality.

The Photoelectric Effect

In analysing the photoelectric effect quantitatively using Einstein's method, the following equivalent equations are used: Energy of photon = Energy needed to remove an electron + Kinetic energy of the emitted electron Algebraically:

where h is Planck's constant, f is the frequency of the incident photon, is the work function, or minimum energy required to remove an electron from atomic binding, f0 is the threshold frequency for the photoelectric effect to occur, is the maximum kinetic energy of ejected electrons, m is the rest mass of the ejected electron, and is the velocity of the ejected electron. Note: If the photon's energy (hf) is less than the work function ( is sometimes denoted . ), no electron will be emitted. The work function

Quantum physics


Planck constant
The physicist Max Planck studied a phenomenon known as black-body radiation, and found that the transmission of light was best treated as packets of energy called photons. The energy of a photon, , is given by the following formula:


is the energy of the photon,

is the Planck constant,

, and

is the frequency of the

light. Since the velocity of light (which is c in a vacuum) is given by

, it may be helpful to use the equation

if you are given the wavelength of light and not the frequency.

The Photon Model

Over the ages, scientists have argued what light actually is. Newton argued that light is composed of particles called corpuscles and theorised that diffraction was due to the particles speeding up as they entered a denser medium, being attracted by gravity. However he has since been proved wrong, now we can measure the speed of light and have proved it to slow down in a denser medium. Albert Einstein thought that light were discrete packets of energy which he called quanta.

Wave-particle duality
In 1924, Louis-Victor de Broglie formulated the de Broglie hypothesis, claiming that all matter has a wave-like nature; he related wavelength, (lambda), and momentum, p:

This is a generalization of Einstein's equation above since the momentum of a photon is given by p = E / c where c is the speed of light in a vacuum, and = c / . De Broglie's formula was confirmed three years later for electrons (which have a rest-mass) with the observation of electron diffraction in two independent experiments. At the University of Aberdeen, George Paget Thomson passed a beam of electrons through a thin metal film and observed the predicted interference patterns. At Bell Labs Clinton Joseph Davisson and Lester Halbert Germer guided their beam through a crystalline grid.



When atoms are unstable, they will try to make themselves stable again. One way that they do this is by giving off matter and energy known as radiation. A material with unstable atoms is said to be radioactive.

Types of radiation
There are 3 different types of ionising radiation, simply called (alpha), (beta) and (gamma), each with their own properties. -particles An alpha particle is basically a helium nucleus. The table below shows its properties:
Nature: Symbol: Mass: Charge: Speed: Penetration: Affected by electric and magnetic fields?: 2 protons & 2 neutrons (a helium nucleus) , 4 times the mass of a proton (~4u) +2e (~5% speed of light) Stopped by paper, skin or a few centimeters of air yes

-particles A beta particle is an electron. The table below shows its properties:
Nature: Symbol: Mass: Charge: Speed: Penetration: Affected by electric and magnetic fields?: an electron , e 1/1840 the mass of a proton (~0.00055 u) -e (up to 98% the speed of light) Stopped by 3mm of aluminium or about 1m of air yes

-rays A gamma ray is an electromagnetic wave with a wavelength of around properties: . The table below shows its



Nature: Symbol: Mass: Charge: Speed: Penetration: Affected by electric and magnetic fields?:

an electromagnetic wave of very short wavelength 0 0 (speed of light) Reduced greatly by several centimetres of lead. Rays are absorbed by several meters of concrete no

, and radiation are all forms of ionising radiation and they affect the matter that they pass through. They can cause atoms to become ionised by colliding into, or passing closely to them. The atoms have their electrons pushed or pulled by the radiation and become ions, hence the name ionisation. particles particles are the most strongly ionising because they have the greatest mass and charge, and have the lowest velocity. This means that they affect the most amount of atoms and affect each atom stronger than the other types of radiation. particles particles are the second most strongly ionising because they are lighter, faster and have a smaller charge then particles. rays rays are the least ionising of the 3, since they have no charge.

Radiation can pass through different materials, though each type of radiation has its own penetration power. radiation radiation can be easily absorbed by a sheet of paper or by human skin. This is because it is highly ionising and easily gives its kinetic energy to surrounding atoms and therefore cannot penetrate far into matter. radiation radiation is less ionising, which makes it more penetrating than radiation. It needs a denser material such as aluminium to completely absorb it. radiation radiation is the most pentrating and several metres of concrete or a few centimeters of lead are required to completely absorb it. Again, this is related to its strength of ionisation.



Nuclear equations
Just like other nuclear processes, radiation emissions can be represented by balanced nuclear equations. An alpha particle has a symbol of He and a beta particle has a symbol of e. These can easily be used in equations where radiation is emitted. Gamma photons do not have any effect on the equations since they have no mass and no charge.

Electric and magnetic fields

Because of their different charges and masses, each type of radiation behaves differently in electric and magnetic fields. The behaviour of positive and negative particles moving in electric and magnetic fields have already been discussed earlier. Be especially careful using the left hand rule for particles in a magnetic field because, as you may recall, the current is in the opposite direction to the movement of an electron. Gamma rays are not affected by either types of field and will continue in a straight line.

The hazards of ionising radiation

Radiation is dangerous and steps must be taken to ensure that we are exposed to as little radiation as possible. We will have a look at these dangers and see how we can minimize the damage to ourselves and the environment.

Effects on living organisms

Since radiation is ionising, it can alter the atoms that make up our own cells. There are two main ways that our cells can become damaged by radiation: Exposure to intense radiation can kill cells, causing tissue damage known as radiation burn. This same principle is used to kill microbes from food or on medical equipment. DNA can be altered by an ionisation, causing the cell to no longer function correctly. The radiation may affect the DNA directly, or break up a water molecule which will then react with the DNA. The cell may divide uncontrollably, forming a tumour. Also, if the radiation affects an egg or sperm cell, there will be mutations passed on to the next generation. Alpha particles are the most dangerous to cells, but fortunately our skin is sufficient to prevent them from entering our bodies .

Handling radioactive materials safely

Since radiation is very hazardous, radioactive materials must be handled, stored and disposed of in a safe manner. To handle radioactive materials, they must not come into contact with the skin, and must be handled in a glove box or with tongs. Care must be taken to not inhale radioactive gas. To store radioactive materials you can use lead-lined containers, since lead absorbs all of the different types of radiation. This is also true for materials that emit radiation, since most emitting materials will also emit radiation. Radioactive materials can be disposed of by diluting the radioactive substance with a large amount of non-radioactive material. They can also be disposed of by containment, which involves storing the radioactive material until it has dropped to a safe level of radioactivity.



Radioactive decay
As radioactive materials emit radiation, the number of stable nuclei increase, and the number of unstable nuclei decrease. The substance is said to decay because it decreases in mass as particles and energy is given off.

Spontaneous radiation emission

If we were to observe a single nucleus of an unstable atom, we would eventually see it decay. We won't be able to predict how long it would take for it to decay, and there is no way to tell if it is about to decay or not. It will be undecayed at one moment, and an instant later, it would have decayed. It is a spontaneuous action. This is very strange to the way things are on the macroscopic level that we are used to, where we can see gradual changes or the build up to an event. Also, each atoms nucleus decays independently of any neighbouring atoms, because if you recall the relative distances and sizes of subatomic particles, there is an enormous amount of empty space between the nucleus and its orbiting electrons, which means that one nucleus cannot affect another. Since we cannot predict when a nucleus will decay, we have to find an average over a period of time.

The decay constant

The decay constant is the probability that a particular nucleus will decay per unit time, and is denoted by the symbol . It can be found for a particular sample by measuring how many nuclei decay for a given length of time. So, if in a sample with 10,000 nuclei, 1000 were to decay in an hour, the probability of one particular nucleus decaying within an hour is 0.1, because only 10% of the nuclei decayed. The decay constant has the units in the SI system, but . , or even may be used. In the example

above, the decay constant, , is equal to 0.1

Activity and count rate

The activity of a radioactive substance is the number of nuclei that decay in a unit of time, or the rate of decay. Activity is measured in decays per second, and one decay per second is called one becquerel. If you know the decay constant of a particular substance, and the number of undecayed nuclei it has, you can find the activity for that material using the formula:

where A is the activity, is the decay constant, and N is the number of undecayed nuclei. As you can see, this would take us back to how we originally found the decay constant, and so you can how the two are related. When you are obtaining the activity of a sample with an experiment, you will hardly ever detect all of the radiation emitted. Some will be emitted where there are no detectors. The count rate, R, is the measurement from the experiment, which will be less than the activity of the sample. A can be calculated from R if you know the efficiency of the measuring device.



Exponential decay
As a radioactive substance decays, the number of undecayed nuclei will decrease. Since there are less radioactive particles in the substance, the rate of radioactive particles emitted will decrease. A graph of the amount of substance against time will show an exponential curve, where the curve continually gets less steep as the rate of decay decreases.

Calculating decay
The number of undecayed nuclei can be calculated with the following formula:


is the number of undecayed at the start,

is the decay constant,

is the time in seconds, and

, is the

exponential function. Similarly, the count rate and activity can be found from the following equations:

The half life of a substance is the mean length of time it takes for half of its radioactive material to decay. If you look at the graph, you can see that the time on the horizontal axis for the number of undecayed nuclei to half is the same as the time for it to decrease from 50% to 25%, and from 25% to 12.5%. Half life is written as , and is usually measured in seconds, but for materials that are more stable, it is common to

state the half life in hours, days, or even years. If you consider that a substance with a short half life must decay quickly, and therefore must have a high decay constant, and that a substance with a long half life will have a low decay constant, you can relate the two using the equation:

This is useful if you are only given either the half life or the decay constant and asked to find the other, as you can rearrange the equation to find the unknown value.

Reflection and Refraction


Reflection and Refraction

Definitions and units
Frequency (f) the number of complete oscillations of a particle each second. Frequency is measured in hertz (Hz). 1 Hz = 1 complete cycle per second. Period (T) the time taken for one complete oscillation. Period is usually measured in seconds, especially when used in equations. Amplitude (A) the maximum displacement of a particle from its equilibrium position. Wavelength () the shortest distance between two parts of the same wave that are oscillating in phase with each other.

Relationship between f and T

and hence,

Wave speed
The speed of a wave (v) is just the distance the wave has travelled over the time. If we take the time to be one period, then the distance will be one wavelength. Hence the speed of the wave is given by:

Using the fact that,

we can re-arrange the above equation to give

Laws of reflection
Angle of Incidence = Angle of Reflection The incident ray, reflected ray and the normal to the surface at the point of incidence are all in the same plane.

Refractive index
When light passes from one material to another the refractive index is the ratio of the speeds of light in the two materials. Refractive Index = Speed in Air / Speed in Medium

Reflection and Refraction


Snell's Law
Snell's law is the simple formula used to calculate the refraction of light when travelling between two media of differing refractive index.

Scalars and vectors

Vectors and scalars are mathematical constructs which physicists employ. Some physical quantities are represented by scalars and some by vectors and corresponding operations are employed upon them while dealing with them. Vector quantities have a direction associated with them while scalars are treated like simple numbers. The following are some examples of quantities that are represented as scalars and vectors.

The following quantities have a magnitude but no direction associated with them, and are examples of scalars: distance speed time mass energy density temperature

Normally scalar quantities follow the basic algebraic rules for any mathematical manipulation such as addition, subraction, multiplication or division (as we do with numbers).

Addition of scalars
Adding scalars is simple, all you need to do is to add the numbers together. For example, 5m + 3m = 8m, or 76b + 23b = 99b

Multiplication and division of scalars

Multiplying and dividing scalars is the same as multiplying and dividing normal numbers. You should also remember to multiply and divide the units, so that you can check your answers are given in the correct units. For example, if you were finding the area of a surface: . The unit of area is , so this is correct.

The concept of direction establishes a relationship between two points in space; that is, the "direction" from one point to another. For example, the direction from point A to point B could be designated A-to-B while the opposite direction would be in that case B-to-A. Direction is dimensionless; that is, it has no measurement units and represents only a line designating the sense of from-to (from A to B) with no sense of "how much" which is considered the "magnitude" of a measurable quantity. "Magnitude" provides a sense of "how much" (or "how many") of a measurable quantity. The term five miles has a magnitude of five units of measure; this unit of measure is miles.

Scalars and vectors When magnitude ("five" miles) is coupled with direction (let's say north; which is the dimensionless direction from me to the North Star) we obtain "five miles north"; this is a "vector". A "vector" has both magnitude and direction. A special type of vector has a magnitude of one in a given direction and is called a unit vector for that direction. A quantity that has only magnitude but has no associated direction is a "scalar", as described earlier. Two vectors that have the same direction and magnitude are equal; a vector from me that is "five miles north" is equal to a vector from you that is "five miles north"; wherever you are. However, the position obtained by moving from me to "five miles north" of me is not a vector. The vector is the "displacement" that consists of a magnitude of distance (five miles) and a direction (north). A position can be represented by a beginning reference point (you; wherever you are) and a vector (five miles north), but a vector alone is not a location; it must have a reference location to be meaningful as a position. The following quantities have both a magnitude and a direction associated with them, and therefore are vectors: Displacement (e.g., five miles north) Velocity (50 metres per second, bearing 60 degrees 15 seconds) Acceleration (32 feet per second per second straight up) Weight (your weight straight down) Force (the amount of energy in a given direction)


Vectors can be represented in any set of spatial dimensions, though typically they are expressed in 2-D or 3-D space.

Multiplying Vectors to Scalars When you multiply a vector by a scalar, the result is a vector. Its direction is unchanged if multiplied by a positive scalar and its direction is reversed when multiplied by a negative scalar. The vector's magnitude is simply multiplied by the scalar. Multiplying Vectors to Vectors There are two different kinds of multiplication when you multiply two vectors together. There is the dot product, and there is the cross product. The multiplication of two vectors is outside of the scope of an A-level physics course, but you can find out about them on Wikipedia.

Addition of vectors
Vectors can be added like scalars as long as they are facing exactly the same direction. If the vectors are in opposite directions, you must subtract one from the other, and unless stated otherwise, you should use the common conventions that: up is positive, and down is negative, and right is positive and left is negative. When the vectors aren't in a straight line, you must use another method to find their sum.

Scalars and vectors Pythagoras' theorem If the two vectors are perpendicular to each other, it is possible to find the total vector using Pythagoras's theorem, with the resultant vector being the hypotenuse of the right-angled triangle. The direction of the resultant can be found using the formula: , where the angle, is one of the sides touching (adjacent to) is the angle of


is the side opposite the angle, and

the resultant vector. Notice that vector a has no effect in the direction of vector b, and similarly, vector b has no effect in the direction of vector a. When two vectors are perpendicular to each other, it is said that they act independently of each other.

Resolving vectors into two perpendicular components

A vector can be broken down into components, which are perpendicular to each other, so that the vector sum of these two components, is equal to the original vector. (Usually, it is interesting to break down a vector into two perpendicular components, such that one is vertical and the other horizontal. However, the components do not have to be chosen to be vertical and horizontal always; they only need to be perpendicular to each other). Splitting a vector into two components is called resolving the vector. It is the reverse of using Pythagoras' theorem to add two perpendicular vectors, and so adding the two components will give you the original vector. There are many uses for vectors that have been split in this way. Resolving a vector requires some simple trigonometry. In the diagram, the vector to be resolved is the force, . For angle : the horizontal component of the vertical component of : : . can be changed to any , and

Note that the two components do not have to be horizontal and vertical. The angle required direction, and both components will still be perpendicular to each other.

Stars and Galaxies


Stars and Galaxies

The universe consists of millions of stars, which are grouped together as galaxies.

Stars, like our Sun, are giant hydrogen fusion reactors, producing huge amounts of energy for millions of years.

NGC 4414, is a typical spiral galaxy.

The birth of a star

Stars begin their life in interstellar gas clouds, where the particles attract each other by gravitational forces. These gas clouds consist mainly of hydrogen and helium, though more recent stars will contain heavier elements produced from older, and now dead, stars. The gravitational attraction increases as the mass becomes heavier. A protostar is now formed, which is a local concentration of atoms that are large enough to form a star, and begins to increase in temperature, since the lost gravitational potential energy is converted to thermal kinetic energy. Once the temperature reaches about , the core

The Omega Nebula contains many young stars, which causes it to is hot enough for hydrogen fusion to occur. The star, shine. over time, stabilizes its temperature, where the rate of energy released at its surface matches the rate of energy produced in its core, and stabilizes its size, where the outward pressure from the thermal reactions matches the gravitational attraction inwards.

The star is now a main sequence star, and will produce energy from hydrogen for many millions of years. Note that since more massive stars "burn" hydrogen at a much faster rate, they have much shorter life spans than less massive stars.

Stars and Galaxies


Nuclear Fusion within stars

Stars consist mainly of hydrogen, which is used for the fusion reactions that produce almost all of their energy. In this process four hydrogen nuclei fuse to form a helium nucleus. However, this does not happen directly, and actually happens in stages: Two protons fuse to form a deuterium nucleus, and releases a neutrino and a positron.

The deuterium nucleus fuses with another proton, and produces a helium-3 nucleus.

Two helium-3 nuclei fuse to produce the helium-4 nucleus. Two protons are released.

Energy released
The energy released can be calculated by .

Red giants
Once most of the hydrogen in the star has run out, the star will be unable to maintain equilibrium. The core of helium will contract and hydrogen burning will continue in a shell surrounding the core. Since gravitational potential energy is lost when the core contracts, the thermal kinetic energy will increase. This increase causes the star itself to expand. The star is no longer a main sequence star, but is a red giant.

Helium burning within a red giant

Since the temperature of the core of the red giant increases, "helium burning" will occur when the temperature reaches about 100 million K. Like "hydrogen burning", "helium burning" happens in stages: Two helium nuclei fuse to form a beryllium nucleus

Another helium nucleus fuses with the beyllium nucleus to produce a carbon nucleus and a gamma photon.

Yet another helium nucleus fuses with the carbon nucleus to form an oxygen nucleus and another gamma photon.

Further fusion reaction in red giants

More massive red giants that are more than 3 times the mass of the Sun can reach higher temperatures and fusion of heavier elements can occur: At 600 million K, "carbon burning" occurs, producing neon and magnesium nuclei. At 1 billion K, "neon burning" occurs, producing oxygen and magnesium nuclei. At 1.5 billion K, "oxygen burning" occurs, producing silicon nuclei. At 3 billion K, "silicon burning" occurs, with the production of iron nuclei.

After iron, nuclear fusion does not produce any energy, so the thermonuclear reactions cease.

Stars and Galaxies


The death of a star

Once the temperature in the core is too low for the next thermonuclear reaction to begin, the star will become unstable. What happens next in the life cycle of a star depends on the Chandrasekhar limit, which is equal to 1.4 times the solar mass. Stars with masses less than the Chandrasekhar limit When the star is unstable, it will shed the outer layers of gas, which results in a planetary nebula (only called that because they were once thought to resemble planets). The core itself will shrink and become more dense, and reach a density so great, that one teaspoonful will have a mass of many tonnes. The core will stop shrinking once the fermi pressure of electrons that are packed very closely prevents any further collapse. The dense, but dim, star is now a white dwarf. There is no further energy in the core, and the white dwarf will gradually radiate it all away and cool down.

NGC 6543, also known as the Cat's Eye Nebula

Stars with masses greater than the Chandrasekhar limit For stars that are greater than 1.4 solar masses, the Fermi pressure of electrons is too weak to prevent the gravitational collapse. In the space of a few seconds, the electrons are crushed against the protons to form neutrons, and the core now has a very immense pressure, and therefore, a very high temperature. Elements heavier than iron are produced during this collapse. When the collapse of the core suddenly halts, it causes an explosion due to the immense outward pressure. This explosion is called a supernova. The remaining cloud of dust may eventually form a group of new stars.

Neutron stars
The core within the supernova remains, and is composed entirely of neutrons, since electrons have been forced into the nucleus. Their density is so great, that the Earth at the same density would be only a few hundred meters in diameter. This leftover core is called a neutron star, because of the fact it is made of nothing other than neutrons.
The Crab Nebula is the remains of a supernova explosion.

Stars and Galaxies


Most stars have their own angular velocity, or rate of spin. When a star decreases in size rapidly, it will spin faster, because angular momentum is conserved. This is similar to the way an ice-skater can spin faster if she holds her arms closer to her body. Often, this is what happens when the core of a supernova shrinks to form a neutron star. The rate of rotation increases massively, and this results in a pulsar. We call it this because on Earth we detect them as regular radio pulses, with periods sometimes in the millisecond range. The regularity and short periods of these pulses led scientists to believe that aliens were trying to communicate with us, although the pulses are now known to come from the magnetic field of a spinning neutron star. Like all stars, pulsars have their own magnetic field. As the rate of rotation of a star increases, the magnetic field strength around it also increases. The moving magnetic field creates an intense electric field. This intense electric field accelerates electrons and creates an intense beam of radiation at both magnetic poles. Because magnetic north and the axis of rotation aren't perfectly lined up, just like on Earth, it's possible for the beam of radiation to pass through the Earth and reach us, producing the observed pulses of radiation.

Black holes
If a neutron star is greater than approximately 3 solar masses, it will collapse further to an infinitely small point, called a singularity, and will become infinitely dense. The gravitational field strength at a few kilometres from the singularity is so intense that even light cannot escape, and the star is now a black hole (light is affected by gravity despite the fact that photons have no mass, this is explained by Einstein's general theory of relativity). Since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light (also explained by relativity), anything that falls into a black hole is lost forever.


A quasar is a source of radiation which is very luminous, brighter than many galaxies. They vary in brightness with periods of a few days or months and because an object cannot change luminosity faster than the time it takes light to travel from one end to the other, they are thought to be relatively small objects, only a few light-days or light-months in diameter. Quasars have been calculated from their red shift to be very distant, as far away as 18 billion light-years, and the only explanation for them is that they are radiation emitted by matter as it falls into a black hole, as the gravitational potential energy of the matter is lost.

A black hole cannot be directly observed, instead, we must look for its effects, such as the bending of light from a distant galaxy shown in this simulated image.

Stars and Galaxies


Measuring the distance to stars

To measure the distance of stars from Earth, several methods have been devised.

We can measure the angle of parallax a star makes as it appears to move across the background of distant stars when the Earth moves from two extreme points in its orbit. We assume that the distant stars are stationary. The diagram shows what is meant by the parallax of a star:

From this angle, we can find the distance in parsecs by: . Therefore, the smaller the angle of parallax, the further away the star is from Earth, and when a star has a parallax of 1 arc second ( of a degree) we say that it is one parsec away. One parsec is approximately equal to

m, or 3.26 light-years.

Stars and Galaxies


Intensity of light
Once, it was thought that all stars were exactly the same brightness, but some appeared dimmer than others because they were further away. We now know that stars can individually vary in brightness, but the magnitude system is still used. Apparent magnitude The visible stars were separated into 6 classes depending on their perceived brightness. The brightest stars were classed as magnitude 1, and the dimmest stars visible with the naked eye were classed magnitude 6. It was then found that a difference in magnitude actually represented a ratio of 2.5 in intensity, since the human eye works on a logarithmic scale. That means that a magnitude 1 star was times more intense than a magnitude 6 star. The ratio of intensities of two stars can be found from their apparent magnitude by:

Today, with telescopes, we can measure stars with apparent magnitudes ranging from approximately +25 to -25, where smaller is brighter. We calculate it from the measured value of intensity, using the formula:

where m is the apparent magnitude and I is the intensity. Absolute magnitude The apparent magnitude of a star gives us no information of its true intensity, only the intensity of light that reaches us. That means a very distant star could be more intense than a nearer one, but it would appear dimmer from Earth. The absolute magnitude of a star is the apparent magnitude it would have if it was at a distance of 10 parsecs. The absolute magnitude is given by the equation:

Where d is the distance of the star in parsecs.

The Milky Way

The galaxy we are in is called the Milky Way. It is a spiral galaxy and is thin, but lens like, in thickness. It has a radius of 30 000 light-years, and is about 2000 light-years thick.

The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. The Sun is on the end of one of the arms.



Electronic signals Communication Principles Digital Systems Amplifliers Radios Optic Fibres Systems and Networking a useful site[1]

[1] http:/ / www. m2m. ecs. soton. ac. uk/ default. asp?id=273

Print Version
Welcome to the Wikibooks textbook on Physics, designed to contain everything you need to know for the OCR Physics B (Advancing Physics) specification[1]. All sorts of useful documents for this specification are available at . All units are assumed to be

SI units are used throughout science in many countries of the world. There are seven base units, from which all other units are derived.

Base units
Every other unit is either a combination of two or more base units, or a reciprocal of a base unit. With the exception of the kilogram, all of the base units are defined as measurable natural phenomena. Also, notice that the kilogram is the only base unit with a prefix. This is because the gram is too small for most practical applications.
Quantity Length Mass Time Electric Current Name metre Symbol m

kilogram kg second ampere s A K mol cd

Thermodynamic Temperature kelvin Amount of Substance Luminous Intensity mole candela

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Derived units
Most of the derived units are the base units divided or multiplied together. Some of them have special names. You can see how each unit relates to any other unit, and knowing the base units for a particular derived unit is useful when checking if your working is correct. Note that "m/s", "ms-1", "ms-1" and are all equivalent. The negative exponent form is generally preferred, for

example "kgm-1s-2" is easier to read than "kg/m/s2".

Quantity Name Symbol In terms of other derived units In terms of base units

Area Volume Speed/Velocity Acceleration

square metre cubic metre metre per second metre per second squared kilogram per cubic metre cubic metre per kilogram ampere per square metre ampere per metre mole per cubic metre hertz newton pascal joule watt coulomb volt Hz N Pa J W C V sA Nm


Specific Volume

Current Density

Magnetic Field Strength Concentration Frequency Force Pressure/Stress Energy/Work/Quantity of Heat Power/Radiant Flux Electric Charge/Quantity of Electricity Electric Potential/Potential Difference/Electromotive Force Capacitance Electric Resistance Electric Conductance Magnetic Flux Magnetic Flux Density Inductance Celsius Temperature

Farad Ohm siemens weber Tesla henry degree Celsius

S Wb T H C K - 273.15 Vs

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lumen lux bequerel lm lx Bq cd sr

Luminous Flux Illuminance Activity of a Radionuclide

The SI units can have prefixes to make larger or smaller numbers more manageable. For example, visible light has a wavelength of roughly 0.0000005 m, but it is more commonly written as 500 nm. If you must specify a quantity like this in metres, you should write it in standard form. As given by the table below, 1nm = 1*10-9m. In standard form, the first number must be between 1 and 10. So to put 500nm in standard form, you would divide the 500 by 100 to get 5, then multiply the factor by 100 (so that it's still the same number), getting 5*10-7m. The power of 10 in this answer, i.e.,. -7, is called the exponent, or the order of magnitude of the quantity.
Prefix Symbol Factor Common Term peta tera giga mega kilo hecto deca deci centi milli micro nano pico femto P T G M k h da d c m n p f quadrillions trillions billions millions thousands hundreds tens tenths hundredths thousandths millionths billionths trillionths quadrillionths

Homogenous equations
Equations must always have the same units on both sides, and if they don't, you have probably made a mistake. Once you have your answer, you can check that the units are correct by doing the equation again with only the units.

Example 1
For example, to find the velocity of a cyclist who moved 100 metres in 20 seconds, you have to use the formula , so your answer would be This question has the units makes sense. Often, however, it isn't that simple. If a car of mass 500kg had an acceleration of from homogeneous, since the equation uses the units , you could calculate . If you that the force provided by the engines is 100N. At first glance it would seem the equation is not , which should give an answer in . . Here, the equation was correct, and

, and should give an answer in

Print Version look at the derived units table above, you can see that a newton is in fact equal to correct.

98 , and therefore the equation is

Example 2
Using the same example as above, imagine that we are only given the mass of the car and the force exerted by the engines, and have been asked to find the acceleration of the car. Using again, we need to rearrange it for , and we now have the formula: . By inserting the numbers, we get the answer . You

already know that this is wrong from the example above, but by looking at the units, we can see why this is the case: . The units are , when we were looking for . The problem is the fact that

was rearranged incorrectly. The correct formula was of . The units for the correct formula are

, and using it will give the correct answer .

, unless stated otherwise. Diagrams can be enlarged by clicking on them. Chapters are probably marked as 75% complete () because they are complete, but the author is not entirely happy with the correctness of the contents. Please look at these and check them!

AS Exams

Physics in Action

Curvature of Wavefronts
Light can be viewed as beams travelling between points. However, from most light sources, the light radiates outwards as a series of wavefronts. Light from a light source is bent - wavefronts of light have a property known as curvature. As light travels further away from its source, its curvature decreases. Consider a sphere expanding gradually from a point, which represents a given wavefront of light. As the sphere expands, the curvature of its surface decreases when we look at any part of the surface with a constant area. It should be noted at this point that light from a source infinitely far away has 0 curvature - it is straight. This is useful, as ambient light (light from a source that is far away) can be assumed to have a curvature of 0, as the difference between this and its actual curvature is negligible.
Decreasing curvatures of wavefronts

The curvature of a wavefront is given as: ,

where v is the distance from the wavefront to the in-focus image depicted by the light. Curvature is measured in dioptres (D).

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Power of lenses
The function of a lens is to increase or decrease the curvature of a wavefront. Lenses have a 'power'. This is the curvature which the lens adds to the wavefront. Power is measured in dioptres, and is given by the formula: , where f equals the focal length of the lens. This is the distance between the lens and the point where an image will be in focus, if the wavefronts entering the other side of the lens are parallel.
Calculating the power of a lens

The Lens Equation

Overall, then, the formula relating the curvature of the wavefronts leaving a lens to the curvature of the wavefronts entering it is:

where v is the distance between the lens (its centre) and the in-focus image formed, u is the distance between the lens (its centre) and the object which the in-focus image is of, and f is the focal length of the lens. The power of the lens can be substituted in for the reciprocal of f, as they are the same thing.
The lens equation, applied to a single pixel.

The Cartesian Convention

If we were to place a diagram of the lens on a grid, labelled with cartesian co-ordinates, we would discover that measuring the distance of the object distance is negative, in comparison to the image distance. As a result, the value for u must always be negative. This is known as the Cartesian convention. This means that, if light enters the lens with a positive curvature, it will leave with a negative curvature unless the lens is powerful enough to make the light leave with a positive curvature.

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Types of Lens
There are two types of lens: Converging lenses add curvature to the wavefronts, causing them to converge more. These have a positive power, and have a curved surface which is wider in the middle than at the rim. Diverging lenses remove curvature from the wavefronts, causing them to diverge more. These have a negative power, and have a curved surface with a dip in the middle.

Types of lens

Magnification is a measure of how much an image has been enlarged by a lens. It is given by the formula:

where h1 and h2 are the heights of the image (or object) before and after being magnified, respectively. If an image is shrunk by a lens, the magnification is between 0 and 1. Magnification can also be given as:

where v and u are the image and object distances. Therefore:

An easy way to remember this in the middle of a exam is the formula:

where I is image size, A is actual size of the object M is the magnification factor.

1. A lens has a focal length of 10cm. What is its power, in dioptres? 2. Light reflected off a cactus 1.5m from a 20D lens forms an image. How many metres is it from the other side of the lens? 3. A lens in an RGB projector causes an image to focus on a large screen. What sort of lens is it? Is its power positive or negative? 4. What is the focal length of a 100D lens? 5. The film in a camera is 5mm from a lens when automatically focussed on someone's face, 10m from the camera. What is the power of the lens? 6. The light from a candle is enlarged by a factor of 0.5 by a lens, and produces an image of a candle, 0.05m high, on a wall. What is the height of the candle? Worked Solutions

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Reflection is when light 'bounces' off a material which is different to the one in which it is travelling. You may remember from GCSE (or equivalent) level that we can calculate the direction the light will take if we consider a line known as the 'normal'. The normal is perpendicular to the boundary between the two materials, at the point at which the light is reflected. The angle between the normal and the ray of light is known as the angle of reflection (r). The ray of light will be reflected back at the same angle as it arrived at the normal, on the other side of the normal.
Angles of reflection and incidence

Refraction is when light changes velocity when it travels across the boundary between two materials. This causes it to change direction. The angle between the normal and the refracted ray of light is known as the angle of refraction (r).

The Refractive Index

The refractive index is a measure of how much light will be refracted on the boundary between a material and a 'reference material'. This reference material is usually either air or a vacuum. It is given by the following formula:

where c0 is the speed of light in a vacuum (3 x 108 m/s) and c1 is the speed of light in the material.

Snell's Law
We can relate the refractive index to the angles of incidence (i) and refraction (r) using the following formula, known as Snell's Law:

Total Internal Reflection

Normally, when light passes through a non-opaque material, it is both reflected and refracted. However, sometimes, rays of light are totally internally reflected; in other words, they are not refracted, so no light goes outside the material. This is useful in optic fibres, which allow a signal to be transmitted long distances at the speed of light because the light is totally internally reflected.

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Critical Angle
The critical angle is the minimum angle of incidence, for a given material, at which rays of light are totally internally reflected. At the critical angle (C), the angle of refraction is 90, as any smaller angle of incidence will result in refraction. Therefore:

Since sin 90 = 1:

In word form, in a material with refractive index n, light will be totally internally reflected at angles greater than the inverse sine of the reciprocal of the refractive index.

1. A ray of light is reflected from a mirror. Its angle to the normal when it reaches the mirror is 70. What is its angle of reflection? 2. The speed of light in diamond is 1.24 x 108 m/s. What is its refractive index? 3. The refractive index of ice is 1.31. What is the speed of light in ice? 4. A ray of light passes the boundary between air and a transparent material. The angle of refraction is 20, and the angle of incidence is 10. What is the speed of light in this material? Why is it impossible for this material to exist? 5. What is the critical angle of a beam of light leaving a transparent material with a refractive index of 2? Worked Solutions

Digital Storage
Digital Data
There are two different types of data: analogue and digital. Analogue data can, potentially, take on any value. Examples include a page of handwritten text, a cassette, or a painting. Digital data can only take on a set range of values. This enables it to be processed by a computer. Examples include all files stored on computers, CDs, DVDs, etc.

Digital images are made up of pixels. A pixel represents the value of an individual square of the image, and it has a value assigned to it. The total number of pixels in an image is just like the formula for the area of a rectangle: number of pixels across multiplied by number of pixels down. When representing text, each pixel is a component of one character (for example, a letter, a number, a space, or a new line), it is not the entirety of a character. For instance if the letter 'E' was to be taken as an example and a section was to be taken through the three protrusions; a minimum

Enlarged image of a computer, showing individual pixels.

Print Version of seven (7) pixels would be used, one white pixel at the top, then one black (for the first protrusion), then one white for the gap, then a black one for the centre - and so on. A type face - such as Helvetica, or Times New Roman, maybe made up of a more complex pattern of pixels to allow for serif details.


Each pixel's value is digital: it takes on a definite value. In a higher quality image, each pixel can take on a greater variety of values. Each pixel's value is encoded as a number of bits. A bit is a datum with a value of either 0 or 1. The more values a pixel can take on, the more bits must be used to represent its value. The number of values (N) that a pixel represented by I bits can take on is given by the formula: N = 2I Hence: Log base 10 used here. For ratios, the base of the log does not matter, now we have evaluated log 2 using base 10 log N must be base 10 as well. A pixel may be represented by values for red, green and blue, in which case each colour channel will have to be encoded separately. When dealing with text, the number of values is equal to the number of possible characters. Overall, for an image: Amount of information in an image (bits) = number of pixels x bits per pixel.

A byte is equal to 8 bits. The major difference between bytes and SI units is that when prefixes (such as kilo-, mega-, etc.) are attached, we do not multiply by 103 as the prefix increases. Instead, we multiply by 1024. So, 1 kilobyte = 1024 bytes, 1 megabyte = 10242 bytes, 1 gigabyte = 10243 bytes, and 1 terabyte = 10244 bytes.

1. An image transmitted down a SVGA video cable is 800 pixels wide, and 600 pixels high. How many pixels are there in the image? 2. A grayscale image is encoded using 3 bits. How many possible values can each pixel have? 3. The characters in a text document are numbered from 0 - 255. How many bits should each character be encoded with? 4. A page contains 30 lines of text, with an average of 15 characters on each line. Each character is represented by 4 bits. How many megabytes of uncompressed storage will a book consisting of 650 pages like this fill on a computer's hard disk? 5. A 10cm wide square image is scanned into a computer. Each pixel is encoded using 3 channels (red, green and blue), and each channel can take on 256 possible values. One pixel is 0.01 mm wide. How much information does the scanned image contain? Express your answer using an appropriate unit. Worked Solutions

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Digital Processing
As we have already seen, a digital image consists of pixels, with each pixel having a value which represents its colour. For the purposes of understanding how digital images are manipulated, we are going to consider an 8-bit grayscale image, with pixel values ranging from 0 to 255, giving us 256 (28) levels of grey. 0 represents white, and 255 represents black. This is the image we are going to consider:
000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 050 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 235 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 205 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 255 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 095 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 185 000 150 150 150 150 150

The image consists of an edge, and some random noise. There are two methods of smoothing this image (i.e. removing noise) that you need to know about:

Mean Smoothing
In order to attempt to remove noise, we can take the mean average of all the pixels surrounding each pixel (and the pixel itself) as the value of the pixel in the smoothed image, as follows:
000 000 000 000 050 100 150 133 133 133 000 026 026 026 050 100 150 139 139 139 000 026 026 026 050 106 173 173 150 150 000 026 026 026 050 106 173 173 150 150 000 000 000 000 050 106 173 173 150 150 043 028 000 000 050 100 150 150 150 150 043 028 000 000 050 100 150 150 150 150 043 028 000 000 050 100 150 150 144 141 000 000 000 000 050 100 150 150 144 141 000 000 021 021 071 100 150 150 144 141 000 000 31 31 081 100 150 150 150 150

This does remove the noise, but it blurs the image.

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Median Smoothing
A far better method is, instead of taking the mean, to take the median, as follows:
000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150 000 000 000 000 000 150 150 150 150 150

For this image, this gives a perfect result. In more complicated images, however, data will still be lost, although, in general, less data will be lost by taking the median than by taking the mean.

Edge Detection
We can detect the positioning of edges in an image using the 'Laplace rule', or 'Laplace kernel'. For each pixel in the image, we multiply its value by 4, and then subtract the values of the pixels above and below it, and on either side of it. If the result is negative, we treat it as 0. So, taking the median-smoothed image above, edge detection gives the following result:
000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 150 000 000 000 000

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1. How could the above methods be applied to a digital sound sample? 2. Which of the above methods would be suitable for smoothing sharp edges? Why? 3. Use median smoothing to remove noise from the following image of a white cat in a snowstorm (the black pixels have a value of 255):
000 255 000 000 000 000 000 255 255 000 000 000 000 000 255 000

4. Why would mean sampling not be appropriate for smoothing the image given in question 3? 5. Use mean smoothing to remove noise from the following image of a black cat in a coal cellar:
255 255 255 255 255 255 000 255 255 255 255 255

Worked Solutions

Digitisation of a signal is the process by which an analogue signal is converted to a digital signal.

Digitisation & Reconstruction

Let us consider the voltage output from a microphone. The signal which enters the microphone (sound) is an analogue signal - it can be any of a potentially infinite range of values, and may look something like this waveform (from an artificial (MIDI) piano):

When the microphone converts this signal to an electrical signal, it samples the signal a number of times, and transmits the level of the signal at that point. The following diagram shows sample times (vertical black lines) and the transmitted signal (the red line):

When we wish to listen to the sound, the digital signal has to be reconstructed. The gaps between the samples are filled in, but, as you can see, the reconstructed signal is not the same as the original sound:

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Sampling Rate
The sampling rate when digitising an analogue signal is defined as the number of samples per. second, and is measured in Hertz (Hz), as it is a frequency. You can calculate the sampling rate using the formula:

The higher the sampling rate, the closer the reconstructed signal is to the original signal, but, unfortunately, we are limited by the bandwidth available. Theoretically, a sampling rate of twice the highest frequency of the original signal will result in a perfect reconstructed signal. In the example given above, the sampling rate is far too low, hence the loss of information.

Number of Levels
Another factor which may limit the quality of the reconstructed signal is the number of bits with which the signal is encoded. For example, if we use 3 bits per. sample, we only have 8 (23) levels, so, when sampling, we must take the nearest value represented by one of these levels. This leads to quantization errors - when a sample does not equal the value of the original signal at a given sample point.

1. Take samples for the signal below every 0.1ms, and then produce a reconstructed signal. How does it differ from the original?

2. A signal is sampled for 5 seconds at a sampling rate of 20 kHz. How many samples were taken? 3. Most sounds created by human speech except for 'ss' and 'ff' have a maximum frequency of 4 kHz. What is a suitable sampling rate for a low-quality telephone? 4. Using a sampling rate of 20 kHz and 3 bits, sample the following signal, and then produce a reconstructed signal. What is the maximum frequency that can be perfectly reconstructed using this sampling rate?

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Signal Frequencies
The frequency of a wave describes how many waves go past a certain point in one second. Frequency is measured in Hertz (usually abbreviated Hz), and can be calculated using the formula: V = f where V is the velocity of the wave (in ms-1, f is the frequency of the wave (in Hz), and (the Greek letter lambda) is the wavelength of the wave (distance from one peak / trough to the next, in m).

Multiple Frequencies
Let us consider the following signal (time is in ms, and the y-axis represents volts):

This signal is constructed from a number of different sine waves, with different frequencies, added together. These sine waves are as follows:

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Frequency Spectra
Each of these sine waves has a different frequency. You can see this, as they have different distances between their peaks and troughs. These frequencies can be plotted against the amplitude of the wave, as in the table, and chart drawn from it, below:
Wave (y=) 3sin x Period (ms) Amplitude (V) Frequency (Hz) 6.284 3 1 2 159 80 478

sin(0.5x + 40) 12.566 2sin(3x - 60) 2.093

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This chart is known as the frequency spectrum of a signal.

Fundamental Frequency
The fundamental freqency is the lowest frequency that makes up a signal. In the above example, the fundamental frequency is 80 Hz. It is always the frequency farthest to the left of a frequency spectrum, ignoring noise. Other frequencies are known as overtones, or harmonics.

1. What is the frequency of an X-ray (wavelength 0.5nm)? 2. A sound wave, with a frequency of 44 kHz, has a wavelength of 7.7mm. What is the speed of sound? 3. What is the fundamental frequency of the following signal?

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4. Approximately how many harmonics does it contain? 5. The three sine waves sin x, 4sin(2x-50) and 0.5sin(3x+120) are added together to form a signal. What are the frequencies of each of the waves? What is the signal's fundamental frequency? Assume that the waves are travelling at the speed of light, and that 60 = 1mm. Worked Solutions

Bandwidth is the frequency of a signal. Although original signals have varying frequencies, when these are transmitted, for example, as FM radio waves, they are modulated so that they only use frequencies within a certain range. FM radio modulates the frequency of a wave, so it needs some variation in the frequencies to allow for transmission of multiple frequencies. Since bandwidth is a frequency, it is the number of bits per. second. The bandwidth required to transmit a signal accurately can be calculated by using 1 as the number of bits, giving the formula:

where B is bandwidth (in Hz), and t is the time taken to transmit 1 bit of data (in s). The bandwidth of a signal regulates the bit rate of the signal, as, with a higher frequency, more information can be transmitted. This give us the formula (similar to the formula for lossless digital sampling): b = 2B where b is the bit rate (in bits per. second), and B is the bandwidth (in Hz).

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1. A broadband internet connection has a bit rate of 8Mbit s-1 when downloading information. What is the minimum bandwidth required to carry this bit rate? 2. The same connection has a bandwidth of 100 kHz reserved for uploading information. What is the maximum bit rate that can be attained when uploading information using this connection? 3. A lighthouse uses a flashing light and Morse Code to communicate with a nearby shore. A 'dash' consists of the light being on for 2s. The light is left off for 1s between dots and dashes. What is the bandwidth of the connection? 4. The broadband connection in question two is used to upload a 1Mbyte image to a website. How long does it take to do this? Worked Solutions

Electrons, like many other particles, have a charge. While some particles have a positive charge, electrons have a negative charge. The charge on an electron is equal to approximately -1.6 x 10-19 coulombs. Coulombs (commonly abbreviated C) are the unit of charge. One coulomb is defined as the electric charge carried by 1 ampere (amp) of current in 1 second. It is normal to ignore the negative nature of this charge when considering electricity. If we have n particles with the same charge Qparticle, then the total charge Qtotal is given by: Qtotal = n Qparticle By a simple rearrangement:

1. How much charge do 1234 electrons carry? 2. How many electrons does it take to carry 5 C of charge? 3. The total charge on 1 mole of electrons (6 x 1023 particles) is equal to 1 faraday of charge. How many coulombs of charge are equal to 1 faraday? 4.Mass of a ball is 50mg. It is supplied 5C of charge. Will there be any change in the mass of the ball? If does calculate the change of the mass. Worked Solutions

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Current is the amount of charge (on particles such as electrons) flowing through part of an electric circuit per second. Current is measured in amperes (usually abbreviated A), where 1 ampere is 1 coulomb of charge per second. The formula for current is: ([The triangle (Greek letter delta) means change in the quantity]) where I is current (in A), Q is charge (in C) and t is the time it took for the charge to flow (in seconds). In a series circuit, the current is the same everywhere in the circuit, as the rate of flow of charged particles is constant throughout the circuit. In a parallel circuit, however, the current is split between the branches of the circuit, as the number of charged particles flowing cannot change. This is Kirchoff's First Law, stating that:

i1 + i4 = i2 + i3

At any point in an electrical circuit where charge density is not changing in time [ie. there is no buildup of charge, as in a capacitor], the sum of currents flowing towards that point is equal to the sum of currents flowing away from that point.

In mathematical form: (The character that resembles a sideways M is the Greek letter sigma, meaning 'sum of'.)

1. 10 coulombs flow past a point in a wire in 1 minute. How much current is flowing through the point? 2. How long does it take for a 2A current to carry 5C? 3. In the diagram on the left, I = 9A, and I1 = 4.5A. What is the current at I2? 4. What would I equal if I1 = 10A and I2 = 15A? 5. In the diagram on the left, in 5 seconds, 5C of charged particles flow past I1, and 6.7C flow past I2. How long does it take for 10C to flow past I? Worked Solutions

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Charge moves through a circuit, losing potential energy as it goes. This means that the charge travels as an electric current. Voltage is defined as the difference in potential energy per. unit charge, i.e.

where V is voltage (in V), E is the difference in potential energy (in joules) and Q is charge (in coulombs). There are two electrical properties which are both measured in volts (commonly abbreviated V), and so both are known under the somewhat vague title of 'voltage'. Both are so called because they change the potential energy of the charge.

Electromotive Force (EMF)

Keep in mind, that EMF as the name suggests is not an electrical force, it is basically the potential difference across the terminals when the key is open i.e. when no current is drawn from the cell. EMF is named so by the scientists who performed faulty experiments and named it so, hence, just a tribute to their contribution to physics it is still called EMF but the definition has changed with time.

Potential Difference
As charge travels around a circuit, each coulomb of charge has less potential energy, so the voltage (relative to the power source) decreases. The difference between the voltage at two points in a circuit is known as potential difference, and can be measured with a voltmeter.

Series Circuits
In a series circuit, the total voltage (EMF) is divided across the components, as each component causes the voltage to decrease, so each one has a potential difference. The sum of the potential differences across all the components is equal to the potential difference (but batteries have their own 'internal resistances', which complicates things slightly, as we will see).

Parallel Circuits
In a parallel circuit, the potential difference across each branch of the circuit is equal to the EMF, as the same 'force' is pushing along each path of the circuit. The number of charge carriers (current) differs, but the 'force' pushing them (voltage) does not.

1. A battery has an EMF of 5V. What is the total potential difference across all the components in the circuit? 2. The voltages (relative to the voltage of the battery) on either side of a resistor are -6V and -5V. What is the potential difference across the resistor? 3. At a given point in a circuit, 5C of charge have 10 kJ of potential energy. What is the voltage at this point? 4. Why do the electrons move to a point 1cm further along the wire? Worked Solutions

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Power is a measure of how much potential energy is dissipated (i.e. converted into heat, light and other forms of energy) by a component or circuit in one second. This is due to a drop in the potential energy, and so the voltage, of charge. Power is measured in Watts (commonly abbreviated W), where 1 W is 1 Js-1. It can be calculated by finding the product of the current flowing through a component / circuit and the potential difference across the component / circuit. This gives us the equation:

where P is the power dissipated (in W), E is the drop in potential energy (in Joules, J), t is the time taken (in s), I is the current (in A) and V is either potential difference or electromotive force (in V), depending on the component being measured. Since power is the amount of energy changing form per. second, the amount of energy being given out each second will equal the power of the component giving out energy. You should be able to substitute in values for I and V from other formulae (V=IR, Q=It) in order to relate power to resistance, conductance, charge and time, giving formulae like these:

1. The potential difference across a 9W light bulb is 240V. How much current is flowing through the light bulb? 2. How much energy is dissipated by a 10W component in 1 hour? 3. The potential difference across a top-notch kettle, which can hold up to 1 litre of water, is 240V, and the current is 12.5 A. 4.2 kJ of energy is required to raise the temperature of 1kg of water by 1C. Assuming 100% efficiency and that the temperature has to be raised 80C (20C to 100C), how long does it take to boil 1 litre of water? 4. How much energy is dissipated by a 100 resistor in 10 seconds if 2A of current are flowing? 5. The charge on an electron is -1.6 x 10-19 C. How long does it take for a mole (6 x 1023 particles) of electrons to flow through a 40W light bulb on a 240V ring main? Worked Solutions

Resistance and Conductance

Conductance is a measure of how well an artefact (such as an electrical component, not a material, such as iron) carries an electric current. Resistance is a measure of how well an artefact resists an electric current. Resistance is measured in Ohms (usually abbreviated using the Greek letter Omega, ) and, in formulae, is represented by the letter R. Conductance is measured in Siemens (usually abbreviated S) and, in formulae, is represented by the letter G. Resistance and conductance are each other's reciprocals, so: and

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Ohm's Law
Ohm's Law states that the potential difference across an artefact constructed from Ohmic conductors (i.e. conductors that obey Ohm's Law) is equal to the product of the current running through the component and the resistance of the component. As a formula: V = IR where V is potential difference (in V), I is current (in A) and R is resistance (in ).

In terms of Resistance
This formula can be rearranged to give a formula which can be used to calculate the resistance of an artefact:

In terms of Conductance
Since conductance is the reciprocal of resistance, we can deduce a formula for conductance (G):

The Relationship between Potential Difference and Current

From Ohm's Law, we can see that potential difference is directly proportional to current, provided resistance is constant. This is because two variables (let us call them x and y) are considered directly proportional to one another if:

where k is any positive constant. Since we are assuming that resistance is constant, R can equal k, so V=RI states that potential difference is directly proportional to current. As a result, if potential difference is plotted against current on a graph, it will give a straight line with a positive gradient which passes through the origin. The gradient will equal the resistance.

In Series Circuits
In a series circuit (for example, a row of resistors connected to each other), the resistances of the resistors add up to give the total resistance. Since conductance is the reciprocal of resistance, the reciprocals of the conductances add up to give the reciprocal of the total conductance. So:

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In Parallel Circuits
In a parallel circuit, the conductances of the components on each branch add up to give the total conductance. Similar to series circuits, the reciprocals of the total resistances of each branch add up to give the reciprocal of the total resistance of the circuit. So:

When considering circuits which are a combination of series and parallel circuits, consider each branch as a separate component, and work out its total resistance or conductance before finishing the process as normal.

1. The potential difference across a resistor is 4V, and the current is 10A. What is the resistance of the resistor? 2. What is the conductance of this resistor? 3. A conductor has a conductance of 2S, and the potential difference across it is 0.5V. How much current is flowing through it? 4. A graph is drawn of potential difference across an Ohmic conductor, and current. For every 3cm across, the graph rises by 2cm. What is the conductance of the conductor? 5. On another graph of potential difference and current, the graph curves so that the gradient increases as current increases. What can you say about the resistor? 6. 3 resistors, wired in series, have resistances of 1k, 5k and 500 each. What is the total resistance across all three resistors? 7. 2 conductors, wired in parallel, have conductances of 10S and 5S. What is the total resistance of both branches of the parallel circuit? 8. The circuit above is attached in series to 1 10 resistor. What is the total conductance of the circuit now? Worked Solutions

Internal Resistance
Batteries, just like other components in an electric circuit, have a resistance. This resistance is known as internal resistance. This means that applying Ohm's law (V = IR) to circuits is more complex than simply feeding the correct values for V, I or R into the formula. The existence of internal resistance is indicated by measuring the potential difference across a battery. This is always less than the EMF of the battery. This is because of the internal resistance of the battery. This idea gives us the following formula: PD across battery = EMF of battery - voltage to be accounted for Let us replace these values with letters to give the simpler formula: Vexternal = E - Vinternal Since V = IR: Vexternal = E - IRinternal You may also need to use the following formula to work out the external potential difference, if you are not given it: Vexternal = IRexternal

Print Version You should also remember the effects of using resistors in both series and parallel circuits.


1. A 9V battery is short-circuited. The potential difference across the battery is found to be 8V, and the current is 5A. What is the internal resistance of the battery? 2. What is the EMF of the battery in the following circuit?

3. What is the internal resistance of the battery in the following circuit?

Worked Solutions

Potential Dividers
A potential divider, or potentiometer, consists of a number of resistors, and a voltmeter. The voltage read by the voltmeter is determined by the ratio of the resistances on either side of the point at which one end of the voltmeter is connected. To understand how a potential divider works, let us consider resistors in series. The resistances add up, so, in a circuit with two resistors:
Circuit symbols for a potential divider

If we apply Ohm's law, remembering that the current is constant throughout a series circuit:

Multiply by current (I):

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So, just as the resistances in series add up to the total resistance, the potential differences add up to the total potential difference. The ratios between the resistances are equal to the ratios between the potential differences. In other words, we can calculate the potential difference across a resistor using the formula:

In many cases, you will be told to assume that the internal resistance of the power source is negligible, meaning that you can take the total potential difference as the EMF of the power source. A potential divider may work by combining a variable resistor such as an LDR or thermistor with a constant resistor, as in the diagram below. As the resistance of the variable resistor changes, the ratio between the resistances changes, so the potential difference across any given resistor changes.

Alternatively, a potential divider may be made of many resistors. A 'wiper' may move across them, varying the number of resistors on either side of the wiper as it moves, as in the following diagram:

1. A 12 k resistor and a 20 k resistor are connected to a 9V battery. A voltmeter is connected across the 12k resistor. What is the reading on the voltmeter? (Assume negligible internal resistance.) 2. A potential divider consists of 100 5 resistors, with a wiper which moves on one resistor for every 3.6 a handle connected to it turns. The wiper is connected to a voltmeter, and the circuit is powered by a 120V power source with negligible internal resistance. What is the reading on the voltmeter when the handle turns 120? 3. A 9V battery with internal resistance 0.8 is connected to 3 resistors with conductances of 3, 2 and 1 Siemens. A voltmeter is connected across the 3 and 2 Siemens resistors. An ammeter is placed in the circuit, between the battery and the first terminal of the voltmeter, and reads 2A. What is the reading on the voltmeter?

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A sensor is a device which converts a physical property into an electrical property (such as resistance). A sensing system is a system (usually a circuit) which allows this electrical property, and so the physical property, to be measured.

Temperature Sensor
A common example of a sensing system is a temperature sensor in a thermostat, which uses a thermistor. In the most common type of thermistor (an NTC), the resistance decreases as the temperature increases. This effect is achieved by making the thermistor out of a semiconductor. The thermistor is then used in a potential divider, as in the diagram on the right. In this diagram, the potential difference is divided between the resistor and the thermistor. As the temperature rises, the resistance of the thermistor decreases, so the potential difference across it decreases. This means that potential difference across the resistor increases as temperature increases. This is why the voltmeter is across the resistor, not the thermistor.

Use of a potential divider and thermistor to measure temperature

There are three main properties of sensing systems you need to know about:

This is the amount of change in voltage output per. unit change in input (the physical property). For example, in the above sensing system, if the voltage on the voltmeter increased by 10V as the temperature increased by 6.3C: V/C

This is the smallest change in the physical property detectable by the sensing system. Sometimes, the limiting factor is the number of decimal places the voltmeter can display. So if, for example, the voltmeter can display the voltage to 2 decimal places, the smallest visible change in voltage is 0.01V. We can then use the sensitivity of the sensor to calculate the resolution.

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Response Time
This is the time the sensing system takes to display a change in the physical property it is measuring. It is often difficult to measure.

Signal Amplification
Sometimes, a sensing system gives a difference in output voltage, but the sensitivity is far too low to be of any use. There are two solutions to this problem, which can be used together:

An amplifier can be placed in the system, increasing the signal. The main problem with this is that the signal cannot exceed the maximum voltage of the system, so values will be chopped off of the top and bottom of the signal because it is so high.

Wheatstone Bridge
This solution is far better, especially when used prior to amplification. Instead of using just one pair of resistors, a second pair is used, and the potential difference between the two pairs (which are connected in parallel) is measured. This means that, if, at the sensing resistor (e.g. thermistor / LDR) the resistance is at its maximum, a signal of 0V is produced. This means that the extremes of the signal are not chopped off, making for a much better sensor.
A wheatstone bridge, using a thermistor


An LDR's resistance decreases from a maximum resistance of 2k to a minimum resistance of 0 as light intensity increases. It is used in a distance sensing system which consists of a 9V power supply, a 1.6 k resistor, the LDR and a multimeter which displays voltage to 2 decimal places measuring the potential difference across one of the two resistors. 1. Across which resistor should the multimeter be connected in order to ensure that, as the distance from the light source to the sensor increases, the potential difference recorded increases? 2. In complete darkness, what voltage is recorded on the multimeter? 3. When a light source moves 0.5m away from the sensor, the voltage on the multimeter increases by 2V. What is the sensitivity of the sensing system when using this light source, in V m-1? 4. When the same light source is placed 0m from the sensor, the potential difference is 0V. When the light source is 1m away, what voltage is displayed on the multimeter? 5. What is the resolution of the sensing system? 6. Draw a circuit diagram showing a similar sensing system to this, using a Wheatstone bridge and amplifier to improve the sensitivity of the system. 7. What is the maximum potential difference that can reach the amplifier using this new system (ignore the amplification)? 8. If this signal were to be amplified 3 times, would it exceed the maximum voltage of the system? What would the limits on the signal be? Worked Solutions

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Resistivity and Conductivity

Resistivity and conductivity are material properties: they apply to all examples of a certain material anywhere. They are not the same as resistance and conductance, which are properties of individual artefacts. This means that they only apply to a given object. They describe how well a material resists or conducts an electric current.

Symbols and Units

Resistivity is usually represented by the Greek letter rho (), and is measured in m. Conductivity is usually represented by the Greek letter sigma (), and is measured in S m-1.

The formula relating resistivity () to resistance (R), cross-sectional area (A) and length (L) is:

Conductivity is the reciprocal of resistivity, just as conductance (G) is the reciprocal of resistance. Hence:

You should be able to rearrange these two formulae to be able to work out resistance, conductance, cross-sectional area and length. For example, it all makes a lot more sense if we write the first formula in terms of , A and L:

From this, we can see that the resistance of a lump of material is higher if it has a higher resistivity, or if it is longer. Also, if it has a larger cross-sectional area, its resistance is smaller.

1. the substation of the bar bus is made up of 2-inches round copper bars 20ft long.what is the resistance of each bar if resistivity is1.72410? 2. A pure copper wire has a radius of 0.5mm, a resistance of 1 M, and is 4680 km long. What is the resistivity of copper? 3. Gold has a conductivity of 45 MS m-1. What is the resistance of a 0.01m across gold connector, 0.05m long? 4. A strand of metal is stretched to twice its original length. What is its new resistance? State your assumptions. 5. Which has the greater resistivity: a plank or a piece of sawdust, made from the same wood? Worked Solutions

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A semiconductor has a conductivity between that of a conductor and an insulator. They are less conductive than metals, but differ from metals in that, as a semiconductor heats up, its conductivity rises. In metals, the opposite effect occurs. The reason for this is that, in a semiconductor, very few atoms are ionised, and so very few electrons can move, creating an electric current. However, as the semiconductor heats up, the covalent bonds (atoms sharing electrons, causing the electrons to be relatively immobile) break down, freeing the electrons. As a result, a semiconductor's conductivity rises at an increasing rate as temperature rises.

Silicon, doped with phosphorous

Examples of semiconductors include silicon and germanium. A full list of semiconductor materials is available at Wikipedia. At room temperature, silicon has a conductivity of about 435 S m-1. Semiconductors are usually 'doped'. This means that ions are added in small quantities, giving the semiconductor a greater or lesser number of free electrons as required. This is controlled by the charge on the ions.

1. What is the resistivity of silicon, at room temperature? 2. What sort of variable resistor would a semiconductor be useful in? 3. If positive ions are added to silicon (doping it), how does its conductivity change? Worked Solutions

See Also
The book on Semiconductors.

Stress, Strain & the Young Modulus

Stress is a measure of the internal force an object is experiencing per unit cross sectional area. Hence, the formula for calculating stress is the same as the formula for calculating pressure:

where is stress (in Newtons per square metre but usually Pascals, commonly abbreviated Pa), F is force (in Newtons, commonly abbreviated N) and A is the cross sectional area of the sample.

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Tensile Strength
The tensile strength is the level of stress at which a material will fracture. Tensile strength is also known as fracture stress. If a material fractures by 'crack propagation' (i.e., it shatters), the material is brittle.

Yield Stress
The yield stress is the level of stress at which a material will deform permanently. This is also known as yield strength. with mathematical form ax+by=c

Stress causes strain. Putting pressure on an object causes it to stretch. Strain is a measure of how much an object is being stretched. The formula for strain is: , where is the original length of some bar being stretched, and l is its length after it has been stretched. l is the

extension of the bar, the difference between these two lengths.

Young's Modulus
Young's Modulus is a measure of the stiffness of a material. It states how much a material will stretch (i.e., how much strain it will undergo) as a result of a given amount of stress. The formula for calculating it is:

The values for stress and strain must be taken at as low a stress level as possible, provided a difference in the length of the sample can be measured. Strain is unitless so Young's Modulus has the same units as stress, i.e. N/m or Pa.

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Stress-Strain Graphs
Stress () can be graphed against strain (). The toughness of a material (i.e., how much it resists stress, in J m-3) is equal to the area under the curve, between the y-axis and the fracture point. Graphs such as the one on the right show how stress affects a material. This image shows the stress-strain graph for low-carbon steel. It has three main features:

Elastic Region
In this region (between the origin and point 2), the ratio of stress to strain (Young's modulus) is constant, meaning that the material is obeying Hooke's law, which states that a material is elastic (it will return to its original shape) if force is directly proportional to extension of the material

Hooke's Law

Stressstrain curve for low-carbon steel.

Hooke's law of elasticity is an approximation that states that the Force (load) is in direct proportion with the extension of a material as long as this load does not exceed the elastic limit. Materials for which Hooke's law is a useful approximation are known as linear-elastic

The relation is often denoted

The work done to stretch a wire or the Elastic Potential Energy is equal to the area of the triangle on a Tension/Extension graph, but can also be expressed as

Plastic Region
In this region (between points 2 and 3), the rate at which extension is increasing is going up, and the material has passed the elastic limit. It will no longer return to its original shape. After point 1, the amount of stress decreases due to 'necking', so the cross-sectional area is going down. The material will 'give' and extend more under less force.

Fracture Point
At point 3, the material finally breaks/fractures and the curve ends.

Other Typical Graphs

In a brittle material, such as glass or ceramics, the stress-strain graph will have an extremely short elastic region, and then will fracture. There is no plastic region on the stress-strain graph of a brittle material.

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1. 10N of force are exerted on a wire with cross-sectional area 0.5mm2. How much stress is being exerted on the wire? 2. Another wire has a tensile strength of 70MPa, and breaks under 100N of force. What is the cross-sectional area of the wire just before breaking? 3. What is the strain on a Twix bar (original length 10cm) if it is now 12cm long? 4. What is this strain, expressed as a percentage? 5. 50N are applied to a wire with a radius of 1mm. The wire was 0.7m long, but is now 0.75m long. What is the Young's Modulus for the material the wire is made of? 6. Glass, a brittle material, fractures at a strain of 0.004 and a stress of 240 MPa. Sketch the stress-strain graph for glass. 7. (Extra nasty question which you won't ever get in an exam) What is the toughness of glass? 8. Wire has a tensile strength of 0.95Mpa, and breaks under 25N of force. what is the cross-sectional area of the wire before and after breaking? Worked Solutions

There are several physical properties of metals you need to know about:

Electrical Conductivity
Metals consist of positive metal ions in a 'soup' or 'sea' of free (delocalized) electrons. This means that the electrons are free to move through the metal, conducting an electric current.

The electrostatic forces of attraction between the negatively charged electrons and the positively charged ions holds the ions together, making metals stiff.

Metals are constructed from positive ions in a sea of electrons. This explains many of their properties.

Since there are no permanent bonds between the ions, they can move about and slide past each other. This makes metals ductile.

Metals are tough for the same reason as they are ductile: the positive ions can slide past each other while still remaining together. So, instead of breaking apart, they change shape, resulting in increased toughness. This effect is called plasticity.

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When a metal is stretched, it can return to its original shape because the sea of electrons which bonds the ions together can be stretched as well.

The opposite of tough: a material is likely to crack or shatter upon impact or force. It will snap cleanly due to defects and cracks.

Metals are maleable because their atoms are aranged in flat planes that can slide past each other.

Diffusive transformation: occur when the planes of atoms in the material move past each other due to the stresses on the object. This transformation is permanent and cannot be recovered from due to energy being absorbed by the structure Diffusionless transformation: occurs where the bonds between the atoms stretch, allowing the material to deform elastically. An example would be rubber or a shape memory metal/alloy (often referred to as SMA) such as a nickel-titanium alloy. In the shape memory alloy the transformation occurs via the change of phase of the internal structure from martensitic to deformed martensitic, which allows the SMA to have a high percentage strain (up to 8% for some SMA's in comparison to approximately 0.5% for steel). If the material is then heated above a certain temperature the deformed martensite will form austenite, which returns to twinned martensite after cooling.

1. Would you expect a metal to have more or less conductivity than a semiconductor? Why? 2. How can the stress-strain graph for a metal be explained in terms of ions in a sea of electrons? 3. As a metal heats up, what happens to its conductivity? Why? Worked Solutions

A simple polymer consists of a long chain of monomers (components of molecules) joined by covalent bonds. A polymer usually consists of many of these bonds, tangled up. This is known as a bulk polymer.

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A bulk polymer may contain two types of regions. In crystalline regions, the chains run parallel to each other, whereas in amorphous regions, they do not. Intermolecular bonds are stronger in crystalline regions. A polycrystalline polymer consists of multiple regions, in which the chains point in a different direction in each region.

Polymers which are crystalline are usually opaque or translucent. As a polymer becomes less polycrystalline, it becomes more transparent, whilst an amorphous polymer is usually transparent.

In some polymers, such as polythene, the chains are folded up. When they are stretched, the chains unravel, stretching without breaking. When the stress ceases, they will return to their original shape. If, however, the bonds between the molecules are broken, the material reaches its elastic limit and will not return to its original shape.

Polycrystalline glass

Polymer chains may be linked together, causing the polymer to become stiffer. An example is rubber, which, when heated with sulfur, undergoes a process known as vulcanization. The chains in the rubber become joined by sulfur atoms, making the rubber suitable for use in car tyres. A stiffer polymer, however, will usually be more brittle.

When a polymer is stretched, the chains become parallel, and amorphous areas may become crystalline. This causes an apparent change in colour, and a process known as 'necking'. This is when the chains recede out of an area of the substance, making it thinner, with fatter areas on either side.
Amorphous rubber

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Polymers consist of covalent bonds, so the electrons are not free to move according to potential difference. This means that polymers are poor conductors.

Boiling Point
Polymers do not have boiling points. This is because, before they reach a theoretical boiling point, polymers decompose. Some polymers do not have melting points for the same reason.

1. Different crystalline structures have different refractive indexes. Why does this mean that a polycrystalline polymer is translucent? 2. What sort of polymer is a pane of perspex? 3. What sort of polymer does the pane of perspex become when shattered (but still in one piece)? 4. What sort of polymer is a rubber on the end of a pencil? 5. What happens to the translucency of an amorphous polymer when it is put under stress? Worked Solutions

[1] http:/ / www. ocr. org. uk/ Data/ publications/ key_documents/ cquartetOCRTempFileuzyy4kbLM6. pdf [2] C. A. Heaton, The Chemical industry, page 113.

Understanding Processes

What is a wave?
At this point in the course, it is easy to get bogged down in the complex theories and equations surrounding 'waves'. However, a better understanding of waves can be gained by going back to basics, and explaining what a wave is in the first place.

A wave, at its most basic level, is a disturbance by which energy is transferred because this disturbance is a store, of sorts, of potential energy. This begs the question "How is this disturbance transferred across space?" In some cases, this is easy to answer, because some waves travel through a medium. The easiest example to think about is a water wave. One area moves up, pulling the next one up with it, and pressure and gravity pull it back to its original position.

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However, some waves (electro-magnetic waves) do not appear to travel through a medium. Physicists have puzzled over how light, which behaves like a wave in many situations, travels for a long time. One theory was that there was a mysterious 'ether' which pervaded all of space, and so light was just like water waves, except that the water was invisible. This theory is widely regarded to be incorrect, but, since light is assumed to be a wave, what is it a disturbance in?

Features of a wave

Another explanation is that light is not a wave, but instead is a stream of particles. This idea would explain away the need for an 'ether' for light to travel through. This, too, has its problems, as it does not explain why light behaves as a wave. So, we are left with a paradox. Light behaves as both a wave and a particle, but it can be shown not to be either. Quantum physics attempts to explain this paradox. However, since light behaves as both a wave and a particle, we can look at it as both, even if, when doing this, we know that we don't fully understand it yet. The image on the right shows a waveform. This plots the distance through the medium on the x-axis, and the amount of disturbance on the y-axis. The amount of disturbance is known as the amplitude. Wave amplitudes tend to oscillate between two limits, as shown. The distance in the medium between two 'peaks' or 'troughs' (maxima and minima on the waveform) is known as the wavelength of the wave.

Types of Waves
Waves can be categorised according to the direction of the effect of the disturbance relative to the direction of travel. A wave which causes disturbance in the direction of its travel is known as a longitudinal wave, whereas a wave which causes disturbance perpendicular to the direction of its travel is known as a transverse wave. !Transverse wave




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One feature of waves is that they superpose. That is to say, when they are travelling in the same place in the medium at the same time, they both affect the medium independently. So, if two waves say "go up" to the same bit of medium at the same time, the medium will rise twice as much. In general, superposition means that the amplitudes of two waves at the same point at the same time at the same polarisation add up.

Consider two identical waveforms being superposed on each other. The resultant waveform will be like the two other waveforms, except its amplitude at every point will be twice as much. This is known as constructive interference. Alternatively, if one waveform moves on by half a wavelength, but the other does not, the resultant waveform will have no amplitude, as the two waveforms will cancel each other out. This is known as destructive interference. Both these effects are shown in the diagram below:

These effects occur because the wavefronts are travelling through a medium, but electromagnetic radiation also behaves like this, even though it does not travel through a medium.

Velocity, frequency and wavelength

You should remember the equation v = f from earlier in this course, or from GCSE. v is the velocity at which the wave travels through the medium, in ms-1, f (or nu, ) is the frequency of the wave, in Hz (no. of wavelengths per. second), and is the wavelength, in m. This equation applies to electromagnetic waves, but you should remember that there are different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, and that different colours of visible light have different wavelengths. You also need to know the wavelengths of the different types of electromagnetic radiation:

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1. Through what medium are sound waves propagated? 2. What aspects of the behaviour of light make it look like a wave? 3. What aspects of the behaviour of light make it look like a particle? 4. Consider the diagram on the right. White light is partially reflected by the transparent material. Some of the light, however, is refracted into the transparent material and reflected back by the opaque material. The result is two waves travelling in the same place at the same time at the same polarisation(the light is not a single beam). Why does, say, the red light disappear? (Variations on this question are popular with examiners.) 5. What is the wavelength of green light? 6. The lowest frequency sound wave humans can hear has a frequency of approximately 20Hz. Given that the speed of sound in air is 343ms-1, what is the wavelength of the lowest frequency human-audible sound? Worked Solutions

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Consider the image on the right. It shows a wave travelling through a medium. The moving blue dot represents the displacement caused to the medium by the wave. It can be seen that, if we consider any one point in the medium, it goes through a repeating pattern, moving up and down, moving faster the nearer it is to the centre of the waveform. Its height is determined by the amplitude of the wave at that point in time. This is determined by a sine wave. Phasors are a method of describing waves which show two things: the displacement caused to the medium, and the point in the repeating waveform which is being represented. They consist of a circle. An arrow moves round the circle anticlockwise as the wave pattern passes. For every wavelength that goes past, the arrow moves 360, or 2c, starting from the right, as in trigonometry. The angle of the arrow from the right is known as the phase angle, and is usually denoted , and the radius of the circle is usually denoted a. The height of the point at the end of the arrow represents the displacement caused by the wave to the medium, and so the amplitude of the wave at that point in time. The time taken to rotate 360 is known as the periodic time, and is usually denoted T.

A phasor

Phase difference is the difference between the angles () of two phasors, which represent two waves. It is never more than 180, as, since the phasor is moving in a circle, the angle between two lines touching the circumference will always be less than or equal to 180. It can also be expressed in terms of , where is the total wavelength (effectively, 360). You can use trigonometry to calculate the displacement from the angle, and vice-versa, provided you know the radius of the circle. The radius is equal to the maximum amplitude of the wave. Phasors can be added up, just like vectors: tip-to-tail. So, for example, when two waves are superposed on each other, the phasors at each point in the reference material can be added up to give a new displacement. This explains both constructive and destructive interference as well. In destructive interference, the phasors for each wave are pointing in exactly opposite directions, and so add up to nothing at all. In constructive interference, the phasors are pointing in the same direction, so the total displacement is twice as much.

1. A sine wave with wavelength 0.1m travels through a given point on the surface of the sea. A phasor arrow representing the effect of this wave on this point rotates 1000. How many wavelengths have gone past in the time taken for the phasor to rotate this much? 2. A sine wave has a maximum amplitude of 500nm. What is its amplitude when the phasor has rotated 60 from its start position? 3. Two waves have a phase difference of 45. When the first wave is at its minimum amplitude of -0.3m, what is the total amplitude of the superposed waveforms? Worked Solutions

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Standing Waves
When two coherent waves - waves of equal frequency and amplitude - travel in opposite directions through the same area, an interesting superposition effect occurs, as is shown in the following animation:

Some areas of the resultant waveform consistently have an amplitude of 0. These are known as nodes. At other points (half-way between the nodes), the resultant waveform varies from twice the amplitude of its constituent waveforms in both directions. These points are known as antinodes. Everywhere in between the nodes and antinodes varies to a lesser degree, depending on its position.

Standing wave with nodes labelled in red

This effect only occurs if the two waveforms have the same amplitude and frequency. If the two waves have different amplitudes, the resultant waveform is similar to a standing wave, except that it has no nodes, and 'moves'. Because of these conditions, standing waves usually only occur when a waveform is reflected back on itself. For example, in a microwave oven, the microwaves are reflected by the metal on the other side of the oven from the transmitter. This creates nodes and antinodes. Since nothing cooks at the nodes, a turntable is necessary to ensure that all of the food passes through the antinodes and gets cooked.

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Consider a string, attached at either end, but allowed to move freely in between. If you pluck it, you create a wave which travels along the string in both directions, and is reflected at either end of the string. This process keeps on happening, and so a standing wave pattern is created. The string goes up, and then down, as shown in the first row of the diagram on the right. If you imagine the top arc as the first half of a waveform, you can see that when the string is vibrating at the fundamental frequency, the string is half as long as the wavelength: it is long. If you were to pinch the string in the middle, and then pluck it on one side, a different standing wave pattern would be generated. By plucking, you have created an antinode, and by pinching, you have created a node. If you then let go of the string, the standing wave pattern spreads, and the string length now equals the wavelength. This is known as the first harmonic.

Fundamental frequency, and the first 6 harmonics

As you pinch the string in descending fractions (, , , etc.), you generate successive harmonics, and the total length of the string is equal to additional wavelengths.

Consider a pipe which is open at one end, and closed at the other. In pipes, waves are reflected at the end of the pipe, regardless of whether it is open or not. If you blow across the end of the tube, you create a longitudinal wave, with the air as the medium. This wave travels down the tube, is reflected, travels back, is reflected again, and so on, creating a standing wave pattern. The closed end of the pipe must be a node; it is the equivalent of pinching a string. Similarly, the open end must be an antinode; blowing across it is the equivalent of plucking the string. Harmonics can be present in pipes, as well. This is how musical instruments work: an open hole in a wind instrument creates an antinode, changing the frequency of the sound, and so the pitch.
Standing waves in pipes, showing nodes and antinodes

Tom Duncan states that the fundamental frequency IS the same as the first harmonic (Adavanced Physics 5th edition page 317)

1. The air in a 3m organ pipe is resonating at the fundamental frequency. Organ pipes are effectively open at both ends. What is the wavelength of the sound? 2. A string is vibrating at the second harmonic frequency. How many wavelengths long is the standing wave created? 3. Express, in terms of , the length of a pipe which is closed at one end, where is the length of one wave at the fundamental frequency. Worked Solutions

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Young's Slits
You should be familiar with the idea that, when light passes through a slit, it is diffracted (caused to spread out in arcs from the slit). The amount of diffraction increases the closer the slit width is to the wavelength of the light. Consider the animation on the right. Light from a light source is caused to pass through two slits. It is diffracted at both these slits, and so it spreads out in two sets of arcs. Now, apply superposition of waves to this situation. At certain points, the peaks (or troughs) of the waves will coincide, creating constructive interference. If this occurs on a screen, then a bright 'fringe' will be visible. On the other hand, if destructive interference occurs (a peak coincides with a trough), then no light will be visible at that point on the screen.

Calculating the angles at which fringes occur

If we wish to calculate the position of a bright fringe, we know that, at this point, the waves must be in phase. Alternatively, at a dark fringe, the waves must be in antiphase. If we let the wavelength equal , the angle of the beams from the normal equal , and the distance between the slits equal d, we can form two triangles, one for bright fringes, and another for dark fringes (the crosses labelled 1 and 2 are the slits):

The length of the side labelled is known as the path difference. For bright fringes, from the geometry above, we know that:


Print Version However, bright fringes do not only occur when the side labelled is equal to 1 wavelength: it can equal multiple wavelengths, so long as it is a whole wavelength. Therefore , where n is any integer. Now consider the right-hand triangle, which applies to dark fringes. We know that, in this case:


We can generalise this, too, for any dark fringe. However, if 0.5 is multiplied by an even integer, then we will get a whole wavelength, which would result in a bright, not a dark, fringe. So, n must be an odd integer in the following formula:

Calculating the distances angles correspond to on the screen

At this point, we have to engage in some slightly dodgy maths. In the following diagram, p is path difference, L is the distance from the slits to the screen and x is the perpendicular distance from a fringe to the normal:

Here, it is necessary to approximate the distance from the slits to the fringe as the perpendicular distance from the slits to the screen. This is acceptable, provided that is small, which it will be, since bright fringes get dimmer as they get further away from the point on the screen opposite the slits. Hence:

If we substitute this into the equation for the path difference p:

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So, at bright fringes: , where n is an integer. And at dark fringes: , where n is an odd integer.

Diffraction Grating
A diffraction grating consists of a lot of slits with equal values of d. As with 2 slits, when , peaks or troughs from all the slits coincide and you get a bright fringe. Things get a bit more complicated, as all the slits have different positions at which they add up, but you only need to know that diffraction gratings form light and dark fringes, and that the equations are the same as for 2 slits for these fringes.

1. A 2-slit experiment is set up in which the slits are 0.03 m apart. A bright fringe is observed at an angle 10 from the normal. What sort of electromagnetic radiation was being used? 2. Light, with a wavelength of 500 nm, is shone through 2 slits, which are 0.05 m apart. What are the angles to the normal of the first three dark fringes? 3. Some X-rays, with wavelength 1 nm, are shone through a diffraction grating in which the slits are 50 m apart. A screen is placed 1.5m from the grating. How far are the first three light fringes from the point at which the normal intercepts the screen? Worked Solutions

We have already seen why fringes are visible when light passes through multiple slits. However, this does not explain why, when light is only passing through 1 slit, a pattern such as the one on the right is visible on the screen. The answer to this lies in phasors. We already know that the phasor arrows add up to give a resultant phasor. By considering the phasor arrows from many paths which light takes through a slit, we can explain why light and dark fringes occur. At the normal line, where the brightest fringe is shown, all the phasor arrows are pointing in the same direction, and so add up to create the greatest amplitude: a bright fringe. At other fringes, we can use the same formul as for diffraction gratings, as we are effectively treating the single slit as a row of beams of light, coming from a row of slits. Now consider the central beam of light. By trigonometry: ,

Print Version where = beam angle (radians), W = beam width and L = distance from slit to screen. Since is small, we can approximate sin as , so:


and since = d sin :

1. What is the width of the central bright fringe on a screen placed 5m from a single slit, where the slit is 0.01m wide and the wavelength is 500nm? And that's all there is to it ... maybe. Worked Solutions

Finding the Distance of a Remote Object

In the final section (Section C) of the exam, you have to be able to write about how waves are used to find the distance of a remote object. I would recommend that you pick a method, and then answer the following questions about it: 1. What sort of wave does your system use? What is an approximate wavelength of this wave? 2. What sort of distance is it usually used to measure? What sort of length would you expect the distance to be? 3. Why is measuring this distance useful to society? 4. Draw a labelled diagram of your system. 5. Explain how the system works, and what data are collected. 6. Explain how the distance to the object is calculated using the data collected. 7. What limitations does your system have? (e.g. accuracy, consistency) 8. What percentage error would you expect these limitations to cause? 9. How might these problems be solved?

Some example answers to these questions are given in the following pages: Radar Sonar

Light as a Quantum Phenomenon

We have already seen how light behaves like both a wave and a particle, yet can be proven not to be either. This idea is not limited to light, but we will start our brief look at quantum physics with light, since it is easiest to understand. Quantum physics is the study of quanta. A quantum is, to quote Wiktionary, "The smallest possible, and therefore indivisible, unit of a given quantity or quantifiable phenomenon". The quantum of light is the photon. We are not describing it as a particle or a wave, as such, but as a lump of energy which behaves like a particle and a wave in some cases. We are saying that the photon is the smallest part of light which could be measured, given perfect equipment. A photon is, technically, an elementary particle. It is also the carrier of all electromagnetic radiation.

Print Version However, its behaviour - quantum behaviour - is completely weird, so we call it a quantum.


Evidence for the Quantum Behaviour of Light

Dim Photos
The easiest evidence to understand is dim photographs. When you take a photo with very little light, it appears 'grainy', such as the image on the right. This means that the light is arriving at the camera in lumps. If light were a wave, we would expect the photograph to appear dimmer, but uniformly so. In reality, we get clumps of light distributed randomly across the image, although the density of the random lumps is higher on the more reflective materials (the nuts). This idea of randomness, according to rules, is essential to quantum physics.

Grainy image of a bowl of nuts. Much better images than this one have been taken, clearly showing that light arrives in lumps.

Photoelectric Effect
The second piece of evidence is more complex, but more useful since a rule can be derived from it. It can be shown experimentally that, when light of an adequate frequency falls on a metallic surface, then the surface absorbs the light and emits electrons. Hence, a current and voltage (between the surface and a positively charged terminal nearby) are produced, which can be measured. The amount of current produced varies randomly around a certain point. This point changes depending on the frequency of the The photoelectric effect electromagnetic radiation. Furthermore, if the frequency of the radiation is not high enough, then there is no current at all! If light were a wave, we would expect energy to build up gradually until an electron was released, but instead, if the photons do not have enough energy, then nothing happens. This is evidence for the existence of photons.

The Relationship between Energy and Frequency

The photoelectric effect allows us to derive an equation linking the frequency of electromagnetic radiation to the energy of each quantum (in this case, photons). This can be achieved experimentally, by exposing the metallic surface to light of different colours, and hence different frequencies. We already know the frequencies of the different colours of light, and we can calculate the energy each photon carries into the surface, as this is the same as the energy required to supply enough potential difference to cause the electron to move. The equation for the energy of the electron is derived as follows: First, equate two formulae for energy:

Rearrange to get:

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So, by substituting the previous equation into the equation for energy: , where P = power, E = energy, t = time, I = current, V = potential difference, Q = charge, e = charge of 1 electron = -1.602 x 10-19 C, V = potential difference produced between anode and cathode at a given frequency of radiation. This means that, given this potential difference, we can calculate the energy released, and hence the energy of the quanta which caused this energy to be released. Plotting frequency (on the x-axis) against energy (on the y-axis) gives us an approximate straight line, with a gradient of 6.626 x 10-34. This number is known as Planck's constant, is measured in Js, and is usually denoted h. Therefore:

In other words, the energy carried by each quantum is proportional to the frequency of the quantum. The constant of proportionality is Planck's constant.

1. How much energy does a photon with a frequency of 50kHz carry? 2. A photon carries 10-30J of energy. What is its frequency? 3. How many photons of frequency 545 THz does a 20W bulb give out each second? 4. In one minute, a bulb gives out a million photons of frequency 600 THz. What is the power of the bulb? 5. The photons in a beam of electromagnetic radiation carry 2.5J of energy each. How long should the phasors representing this radiation take to rotate? Worked Solutions

Quantum Behaviour
So far, we have identified the fact that light travels in quanta, called photons, and that these photons carry an amount of energy which is proportional to their frequency. We also know that photons aren't waves or particles in the traditional sense of either word. Instead, they are lumps of energy. They don't behave the way we would expect them to.

Many Paths
In fact, what photons do when they are travelling is to take every path possible. If a photon has to travel from point A to point B it will travel in a straight line and loop the loop and go via Alpha Centauri and take every other possible path. This is the photon's so-called 'quantum state'. It is spread out across all space. However, just because a photon could end up anywhere in space does not mean that it has an equal probability of ending up in any given place. It is far more likely that a photon from a torch I am carrying will end up hitting the ground in front of me than it is that the same photon will hit me on the back of the head. But both are possible. Light can go round corners; just very rarely!

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Calculating Probabilities
The probability of a photon ending up at any given point in space relative to another point in space can be calculated by considering a selection of the paths the photon takes to each point. The more paths considered, the greater the accuracy of the calculation. Use the following steps when doing this: 1. Define the light source. 2. Work out the frequency of the photon. 3. Define any objects which the light cannot pass through. 4. Define the first point you wish to consider. 5. Define a set of paths from the source to the point being considered, the more, the better. 6. Work out the time taken to traverse one of the paths. 7. Work out how many phasor rotations this corresponds to. 8. Draw an arrow representing the final phasor arrow. 9. Repeat steps 6-8 for each of the paths. 10. Add all the phasor arrows together, tip-to-tail. 11. Square the amplitude of this resultant phasor arrow to gain the intensity of the light at this point. It may help to imagine a square rotating around, instead of an arrow. 12. Repeat steps 4-11 for every point you wish to consider. The more points you consider, the more accurate your probability distribution will be. 13. Compare all the resultant intensities to gain a probability distribution which describes the probabilities of a photon arriving at one point to another. For example, if the intensity of light at one point is two times the intensity of light at another, then it is twice as likely that a photon will arrive at the first point than the second. 14. If all the points being considered were on a screen, the intensities show you the relative brightnesses of light at each of the points.

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If we now take this method and apply it to several situations, we find that, in many cases, the results are similar to those obtained when treating light as a wave, with the exception that we can now reconcile this idea with the observable 'lumpiness' of light, and can acknowledge the fact that there is a certain probability that some light will not behave according to some wave laws.

Travelling from A to B
This is the simplest example to consider. If we consider a range of paths going from point A to point B, and calculate the phasor directions at the end of the paths, we get a resultant phasor arrow which gives us some amplitude at point B. Since there are no obstructions, at any point this far away from the source, we will get the same resultant amplitude. It is important to note that different paths contribute to the resultant amplitude by different amounts. The paths closer to the straight line between the two points are more parallel to the resultant angle, whereas the paths further away vary in direction more, and so tend to cancel each other out. The conclusion: light travelling in straight lines contributes most to the resultant amplitude.

Adding phasor arrows to gain resultant amplitude by considering multiple paths, showing variation in paths' contribution to resultant amplitude.

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Young's Slits
Here, we just need to consider two paths: one through each slit. We can then calculate two phasor arrows, add them together to gain a resultant phasor arrow, and square its amplitude to gain the intensity of the light at the point the two paths went to. When calculated, these intensities give a pattern of light and dark fringes, just as predicted by the wave theory.

This situation is very to similar to what happens when light travels in a 'straight line'. The only difference is that we consider the paths which involve rebounding off an obstacle. The results are more or less the same, but the paths from which they were obtained are different. This means that we can assume the same conclusions about these different paths: that most of the resultant amplitude comes from the part of the mirror where the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. In other words, the likelihood is that a photon will behave as if mirrors work according to wave theory.

The most contribution to amplitude comes from the centre of the mirror.

Different paths have different lengths, and so photons take different amounts of time to traverse them (these are known as trip times). In the diagram on the right, the photons again traverse all possible paths. However, the paths with the smallest difference between trip times have phasor arrows with the smallest difference in direction, so the paths with the smallest trip times contribute most to the resultant amplitude. This shortest path is given by Snell's law. Yet again, quantum physics provides a more accurate picture of something which has already been explained to some degree.

Refraction works because the greatest contribution to amplitude is caused by the paths with the shortest trip time.

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Diffraction occurs when the photons are blocked from taking every other path. This occurs when light passes through a gap less than 1 wavelength wide. The result is that, where the amplitudes would have roughly cancelled each other out, they do not, and so light spreads out in directions it would not normally spread out in. This explains diffraction, instead of just being able to observe and calculate what happens.

Electron Behaviour as a Quantum Phenomenon

So far, we have considered how quantum physics applies to photons, the quanta of light. In reality, every other particle is also a quantum, but you only need to know about photons and electrons. The image on the right shows what happens when you fire electrons through a pair of slits: it arrives in lumps, but you get fringes due to superposition as well. The electrons are behaving as both waves and particles. Actually, they are behaving as quanta. The equations describing quantum behaviour in electrons are similar to those describing it in photons.

Frequency and Kinetic Energy

We know that, for photons:

In suggesting that electrons are quanta, we assume that they must have a frequency at which the phasors representing them rotate. We also know that h is a constant; it does not change. So, when adapting the above equation to apply to electrons, all we need to adapt is E. In electrons, this energy is their kinetic energy. If the electron has some form of potential energy, this must first be subtracted from the kinetic energy, as this portion of the energy does not affect frequency. So:

Young's slits, using electrons.

De Broglie Wavelength
If electrons exhibit some wavelike properties, they must also have a 'wavelength', known as the de Broglie wavelength, after its discoverer. This is necessary in order to work out a probability distribution for the position of an electron, as this is the distance the electron travels for each phasor arrow rotation. The de Broglie wavelength is given by the equation: , where h = Planck's constant, p = momentum, m = mass of electron = 9.1 x 10-31kg and v = velocity of electron.

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Potential Difference and Kinetic Energy

Potential difference is what causes electrons to move. You already know how power is related to charge, voltage and time:

Since power is the rate at which work is done: We know that the charge on an electron equals -1.6 x 10-19, and that work done is energy, so:

Energy, in the SI system of units, is measured in Joules, but, sometimes it is measured in electronvolts, or eV. 1 eV is the kinetic energy of 1 electron accelerated by 1V of potential difference. So, 1 eV = 1.6 x 10-19 J.

1. An electron moves at 30,000 ms-1. What is its de Broglie wavelength? 2. What is its frequency? 3. What is its kinetic energy, in eV? 4. Given that it is travelling out of an electron gun, what was the potential difference between the anode and the cathode? 5. An electron is accelerated by a potential difference of 150V. What is its frequency? Worked Solutions
Wave functions of an electron in different orbitals of a hydrogen atom. Brightness corresponds to the probability density function for the position of the electron.


What is a vector?
Two types of physical quantity are scalars and vectors. Scalar quantities are simple: they are things like speed, distance, or time. They have a magnitude, but no direction. A vector quantity consists of two parts: both a scalar and a direction. For example, the velocity of an object is made up of both the speed of an object and the direction in which it is moving. Speed is a scalar; add a direction and it becomes velocity, a vector. Similarly, take a distance and give it a direction and it becomes a displacement, such as '2 miles south-east'. Distance is a scalar, whereas displacement is a vector. Vectors and scalars are both useful. For example, if I run around the room several times and end up back where I started, I may have covered a distance of 50m. My displacement is 0 - the null vector. The null vector is the only vector which has no direction. If I want to calculate how much work I have done, I should use the distance. If I want to know where I am, I should use the displacement. As we shall see, the directional component of a vector can be expressed in several different ways. '2 miles south-east' is the same as saying '2 miles on a bearing of 135', or '1.4 miles east, -1.4 miles north'. The scalar component of a vector is known as the modulus of a vector.

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Vector Notation
You need to be able to understand the following algebraic representations of vectors:
Symbol Meaning A vector from point a to point b. a a or |a| or |a| A vector named 'a'. This is used in typed algebra. A vector named 'a'. This is used in handwritten algebra. The modulus of a vector.

Vector Components
Sometimes, it is useful to express a vector in terms of two other vectors. These two vectors are usually pointing up and right, and work similarly to the Cartesian co-ordinate system. So, for example, 'an acceleration of 3.4 ms-2 west' becomes 'a vertical acceleration of 0 ms-2 and an horizontal acceleration of -3.4 ms-2 east. However, this is a very simple example. Consider the diagram on the right. The vector a consists of a vertical component j and a horizontal component i. a has a modulus |a|. |i| and |j| can be calculated using |a|, the angle between i and a and some basic trigonometry. We know that: and Hence: |i| = |a| cos and |j| = |a| sin . This will be given to you in the formula booklet in the exam.

Calculating the components of a vector.

Vector Addition
You also need to know how to add vectors together. This enables us to answer questions such as, "If I travel 5 miles north-west and then 6 miles east, where am I?", or "If I accelerate at 3 ms-2 in a northerly direction, and accelerate south-east at 1 ms-2, what is my total acceleration?". Vectors can be added 'tip-to-tail'; that is to say, the resultant vector is equal to 'travelling' the first vector, and then travelling the second vector. This is shown in the diagram on the left. When vectors a and b are added together, the resultant vector a + b is produced, joining the tail of the first vector to the tip of the last, with the vectors joined together. In practise, the easiest way to add two vectors together is to calculate (if you do not already know this) the vertical and horizontal components, and add them all together to get two total vertical and horizontal components. You can then use Pythagoras' theorem to calculate the modulus of the resultant vector, and some more basic trigonometry to calculate its direction.
Adding vectors tip-to-tail.

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In algebra: and , where a1 ... an are the vectors to be added together, i1 ... in are their horizontal components, j1 ... jn are their vertical components, and is the angle between the =0 line and the resultant vector an, as shown in the diagram on the right.
Adding lots of vectors tip-to-tail.

Predicting Parabolas
If you use a diagram to represent vectors (making the lengths of the arrows proportional to the modulus of the vectors they represent, and the directions equal), you can predict graphically the trajectory an object (such as a ball) will take. Use the following steps: Draw a vector to represent the velocity of the ball (in ms-1). Since this is the number of metres travelled in 1 second, and each step of the process is 1 second long, this vector represents both the velocity and the displacement of the ball, i.e.

Illustration of how to estimate the parabola of a moving object graphically, taking into account the vectors of its starting velocity, and the change in velocity due to gravity.

Copy this vector, and connect its tail to the tip of the first vector. This new vector represents the velocity and displacement that the ball would have had over the next second, if gravity did not exist. Draw another vector to represent the change in velocity due to gravity (9.81 ms-2) on Earth. This should be pointing downwards, and be to the same scale as the other vectors. This represents the fact that the velocity of the ball changes due to gravity (velocity is a vector, so both the speed and angle of the ball's travel change).

Add these vectors together, as shown above, to give a new vector. This new vector represents the velocity and displacement of the ball over the second second. Repeat this process until the ball hits something (draw the ground, if in doubt).

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1. Which of the following are vectors? 20 cm 9.81 ms-2 towards the centre of the earth 5 km south-east 500 ms-1 on a bearing of 285.3

2. A displacement vector a is the resultant vector of two other vectors, 5 m north and 10 m south-east. What does a equal, as a displacement and a bearing? 3. If I travel at a velocity of 10 ms-1 on a bearing of 030, at what velocity am I travelling north and east? 4. An alternative method of writing vectors is in a column, as follows: , where x and y are the vertical and horizontal components of the vector respectively. Express |a| and the angle between a and in terms of x and y. 5. A more accurate method of modelling the trajectory of a ball is to include air resistance as a constant force F. How would this be achieved? Worked Solutions

There are two types of graphs of motion you need to be able to use and understand: distance-time graphs and velocity-time graphs.

Distance-time Graphs
A distance-time graph plots the distance of an object away from a certain point, with time on the x-axis and distance on the y-axis.There are several types of graphs of motion you need to be able to use and understand: distance-time graphs, position-time graphs, and velocity-time graphs.

Position-time Graphs or Displacement - Time Graphs

Distance-Time Graphs give you speed, but speed is never negative so you can only An object travels at a constant rate for 6 seconds, stops for 5 seconds, returns to its have a positive slope in a distance-time original position in the next 7 seconds, travelling more slowly in the middle section of its return journey. graph. Position-Time graphs show displacement, have direction, and from which you can calculate velocity. If we were to imagine the line on the position-time graph to the right as a function f(t), giving an equation for s = f(t), we could differentiate this to gain: ,

Print Version where s is displacement, and t is time. By finding f'(t) at any given time t, we can find the rate at which distance is increasing (or decreasing) with respect to t. This is the gradient of the line. A positive gradient means that distance is increasing, and a negative gradient means that distance is decreasing. A gradient of 0 means that the object is stationary. The velocity of the object is the rate of change of its displacement, which is the same as the gradient of the line on a distance-time graph. This is not necessarily the same as the average velocity of the object v:


Here, t and s are the total changes in displacement and time over a certain period - they do not tell you exactly what was happening at any given point in time.

Velocity-time Graphs
A velocity-time graph plots the velocity of an object, relative to a certain point, with time on the x-axis and velocity on the y-axis. We already know that velocity is the gradient (derivative) of the distance function. Since integration is the inverse process to differentiation, if we have a velocity-time graph and wish to know the distance travelled between two points in time, we can find the area under the graph between those two points in time. In general: If
An object accelerates for 6 seconds, hits something, accelerates for 5 seconds and then decelerates to a stop in the remaining 6.5 seconds of its journey.

where v is velocity (in ms-1), t is time (in s), and s is the distance travelled (in m) between two points in time t1 and t2. Also, by differentiation, we know that the gradient (or derivative of v = f(t)) is equal to the acceleration of the object at any given point in time (in ms-2) since:

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1. In the following distance-time graph, what is the velocity 4 seconds after the beginning of the object's journey?

2. What is the velocity at 12 seconds? 3. In the following velocity-time graph, how far does the object travel between 7 and 9 seconds?

Print Version 4. What is the object's acceleration at 8 seconds? 5. A car travels at 10ms-1 for 5 minutes in a straight line, and then returns to its original location over the next 4 minutes, travelling at a constant velocity. Draw a distance-time graph showing the distance the car has travelled from its original location. 6. Draw the velocity-time graph for the above situation. The following question is more difficult than anything you will be given, but have a go anyway: 7. The velocity of a ball is related to the time since it was thrown by the equation ball travelled after 2 seconds? Worked Solutions . How far has the


Kinematics is the study of how objects move. One needs to understand a situation in which an object changes speed, accelerating or decelerating, and travelling a certain distance. There are four equations you need to be able to use which relate these quantities.

Before we can understand the kinematic equations, we need to understand the variables involved. They are as follows: t is the length of the interval of time being considered, in seconds. v is the speed of the object at the end of the time interval, in ms-1. u is the speed of the object at the beginning of the time interval, in ms-1. a is the acceleration of the object during the time interval, in ms-2. Has to be a constant. s is the displacement (distance travelled) of the object during the time interval, in metres.

The four equations are as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4.

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It is also useful to know where the above equations come from. We know that acceleration is equal to change in speed per. unit time, so: (*)

(1) We also know that the average speed over the time interval is equal to displacement per. unit time, so:

(2) If we substitute the value of v from equation 1 into equation 2, we get: (3) If we take the equation for acceleration (*), we can rearrange it to get:

If we substitute this equation for t into equation 2, we obtain:


1. A person accelerates from a speed of 1 ms-1 to 1.7 ms-1 in 25 seconds. How far has he travelled in this time? 2. A car accelerates at a rate of 18 kmh-2 to a speed of 60 kmh-1, travelling 1 km in the process. How fast was the car travelling before it travelled this distance? 3. A goose in flight is travelling at 4 ms-1. It accelerates at a rate of 1.5 ms-2 for 7 seconds. What is its new speed? 4. How far does an aeroplane travel if it accelerates from 400 kmh-1 at a rate of 40 kmh-2 for 1 hour? Worked Solutions

Forces and Power

Forces are vectors. When solving problems involving forces, it is best to think of them as lots of people pulling ropes attached to an object. The forces are all pulling in different directions, with different magnitudes, but the effect is in only one direction, with only one magnitude. So, you have to add the forces up as vectors. Forces cause things to happen. They cause an object to accelerate in the same direction as the force. In other words, forces cause objects to move in a direction closer to the direction they are pulling in. If the object is already moving, then they will not cause it to move in the direction of the force, as forces do not create velocities: they create accelerations.

Print Version If a force is acting on an object, it seems logical that the object will not accelerate as much as a result of the force if it has a lower mass. This gives rise to the equation: , where F = force applied (in Newtons, denoted N), m = mass (in kg) and a = acceleration (in ms-2). If we rearrange the equation, it makes more sense:


In other words, the acceleration in a given direction as the result of a force is equal to the force applied per. unit mass in that direction.

Work Done
You should already know how to calculate some types of energy, for example:

The amount of energy converted by a force is equal to the work done, which is equal (as you already know) to the force multiplied by the distance the object it is acting on moves:

When answering questions about work done, you may be given a force acting in a direction other than that of the displacement. In this case, you will have to find the displacement in the direction of the force, as shown in the section on Vectors.

Power is the rate of change of energy. It is the amount of energy converted per. unit time, and is measured in Js-1: , where E = energy (in J) and t = time (in s). Since E = work done, power is the rate at which work is done. Since:

, where P = power (in Watts, denoted W), F = force and v = velocity.

Gravity is something of a special case. The acceleration due to gravity is denoted g, and is equal to 9.81359ms-2. It is uniform over small distances from the Earth. The force due to gravity is equal to mg, since F = ma. Therefore:

Therefore, when things are dropped, they all fall at the same acceleration, regardless of mass. Also, the acceleration due to gravity (in ms-2) is equal to the gravitational field strength (in Nkg-1).

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1. I hit a ball of mass 5g with a cue on a billiards table with a force of 20N. If friction opposes me with a force of 14.2N, what is the resultant acceleration of the ball away from the cue? 2. A 10g ball rolls down a 1.2m high slope, and leaves it with a velocity of 4ms-1. How much work is done by friction? 3. An electric train is powered on a 30kV power supply, where the current is 100A. The train is travelling at 90 kmh-1. What is the net force exerted on it in a forwards direction? Worked Solutions (incorporating Energy and Work Done)

A2 Exams

Rise and Fall of the Clockwork Universe

= =

Field and Particle Pictures

= =

Advances in Physics

The SI System of Units


The SI System of Units

SI units are used throughout science in many countries of the world. There are seven base units, from which all other units are derived.

Base units
Every other unit is either a combination of two or more base units, or a reciprocal of a base unit. With the exception of the kilogram, all of the base units are defined as measurable natural phenomena. Also, notice that the kilogram is the only base unit with a prefix. This is because the gram is too small for most practical applications.
Quantity Length Mass Time Electric Current Name metre Symbol m

kilogram kg second ampere s A K mol cd

Thermodynamic Temperature kelvin Amount of Substance Luminous Intensity mole candela

Derived units
Most of the derived units are the base units divided or multiplied together. Some of them have special names. You can see how each unit relates to any other unit, and knowing the base units for a particular derived unit is useful when checking if your working is correct. Note that "m/s", "ms-1", "ms-1" and are all equivalent. The negative exponent form is generally preferred, for

example "kgm-1s-2" is easier to read than "kg/m/s2".

Quantity Name Symbol In terms of other derived units In terms of base units

Area Volume Speed/Velocity Acceleration

square metre cubic metre metre per second metre per second squared kilogram per cubic metre cubic metre per kilogram ampere per square metre ampere per metre mole per cubic metre


Specific Volume

Current Density

Magnetic Field Strength Concentration

The SI System of Units

hertz newton pascal joule watt coulomb volt Hz N Pa J W C V sA Nm

Frequency Force Pressure/Stress Energy/Work/Quantity of Heat Power/Radiant Flux Electric Charge/Quantity of Electricity Electric Potential/Potential Difference/Electromotive Force Capacitance Electric Resistance Electric Conductance Magnetic Flux Magnetic Flux Density Inductance Celsius Temperature Luminous Flux Illuminance Activity of a Radionuclide

Farad Ohm siemens weber Tesla henry degree Celsius lumen lux bequerel

S Wb T H C lm lx Bq K - 273.15 cd sr Vs

The SI units can have prefixes to make larger or smaller numbers more manageable. For example, visible light has a wavelength of roughly 0.0000005 m, but it is more commonly written as 500 nm. If you must specify a quantity like this in metres, you should write it in standard form. As given by the table below, 1nm = 1*10-9m. In standard form, the first number must be between 1 and 10. So to put 500nm in standard form, you would divide the 500 by 100 to get 5, then multiply the factor by 100 (so that it's still the same number), getting 5*10-7m. The power of 10 in this answer, i.e.,. -7, is called the exponent, or the order of magnitude of the quantity.
Prefix Symbol Factor Common Term peta tera giga mega kilo hecto deca deci P T G M k h da d quadrillions trillions billions millions thousands hundreds tens tenths

The SI System of Units

centi milli micro nano pico femto c m n p f hundredths thousandths millionths billionths trillionths quadrillionths

Homogenous equations
Equations must always have the same units on both sides, and if they don't, you have probably made a mistake. Once you have your answer, you can check that the units are correct by doing the equation again with only the units.

Example 1
For example, to find the velocity of a cyclist who moved 100 metres in 20 seconds, you have to use the formula , so your answer would be This question has the units makes sense. Often, however, it isn't that simple. If a car of mass 500kg had an acceleration of from homogeneous, since the equation uses the units , you could calculate . If you , and therefore the that the force provided by the engines is 100N. At first glance it would seem the equation is not , which should give an answer in . . Here, the equation was correct, and

, and should give an answer in

look at the derived units table above, you can see that a newton is in fact equal to equation is correct.

Example 2
Using the same example as above, imagine that we are only given the mass of the car and the force exerted by the engines, and have been asked to find the acceleration of the car. Using again, we need to rearrange it for , and we now have the formula: . By inserting the numbers, we get the answer . You

already know that this is wrong from the example above, but by looking at the units, we can see why this is the case: . The units are , when we were looking for . The problem is the fact that

was rearranged incorrectly. The correct formula was of . The units for the correct formula are

, and using it will give the correct answer .

Thermal physics


Thermal physics
Thermal physics deals with the changes that occur in substances when there is a change in temperature.

Internal energy
When you heat up a material, it may change state. The molecules vibrate with a greater amplitude, and break apart from one another. The material has been supplied with energy and you can feel it getting hotter. The increased kinetic and potential (from their greater separation) energy of the particles is an increase in what we call internal energy. Internal energy is defined as: The internal energy of a system is the sum of the randomly distributed kinetic and potential energies of its molecules. Therefore, an increase in temperature for a material means an increase in its internal energy.

The thermodynamic temperature scale

The Celsius scale of temperature depends on the properties of water. 0C is the freezing point of water, and 100C is the boiling point of water. It is a relative scale, because it is relative to the freezing and boiling points of water. The thermodynamic scale of temperature (represented by the letter T), however, is an absolute scale of temperuture, and does not depend on the properties of any particular substance. It is also directly proportional to the amount of internal energy a substance possesses.

Absolute zero
This scale of temperature is defined in terms of internal energy, and is measured in kelvins (K). 0K is defined as the temperature at which a substance will have minimum internal energy, and is the lowest possible temperature. This temperature is known as absolute zero. It is at this point at which molecule stop vibrating and electrons stop spinning and orbiting.

Converting between K and C

The divisions of the kelvin scale are identical to the divisions of the Celsius scale, so that an increase of 1C is equal to an increase of 1K. This makes it simple to convert between the two, and if you know that absolute zero is -273.15C, you can simply use the formula:

to convert between C and K.

Thermal physics


Heating up substances
When you apply heat to a substance, the temperature does not simply increase in a straight line. Some extra energy is required to break bonds between particles.

Energy and temperature changes

If we were to heat a block of ice at a steady rate and plot a graph of the temperature against time, we would get the following graph:

This shape is rather surprising. You would expect the line to increase in a straight line, with none of the breaks that you can see above. We should consider what is happening to the molecules of the water at each section of the graph to understand why this is so: AB The ice is below freezing point, but the temperature is increasing. The molecules are vibrating slowly, but begin to vibrate more. BC At 273K (0C) the ice is at melting point. The bonds between molecules are being broken and molecules have greater potential energy. This is the Latent Heat of Fusion CD The water now increases in temperature towards boiling point. The molecules vibrate even more and move around rapidly as their kinetic energy increases. DE At 373K (100C) the water is now at boiling point. Molecules completely break away from each other and their potential energy increases. DE is much larger than BC because ALL bonds need to be broken for a gas to form. (The Latent Heat of Vapourisation.) EF The water is now steam and the molecules are moving around much faster than before. Their kinetic energy continues to increase as energy is supplied. At the sections BC and DE, where there is a change of state, the molcules do not increase in kinetic energy, but increase in potential energy. The heat energy being supplied does not change the temperature at these sections, but is instead used to break the bonds between molecules.

Thermal physics


Specific heat capacity

Some materials will heat up quicker than others. For example, metals are good conductors of heat, and provided they are the same mass and that the energy is supplied at the same rate, copper will increase in temperature quicker than water. The specific heat capacity can tell us how much energy is required to increase the temperature of a substance, and is defined as: The specific heat capacity of a substance is numerically equal to the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1kg of the substance by 1K (or by 1C). This can be represented as:

Or rewritten,


is the energy supplied,

is the mass of the substance,

is the specific heat capacity, and

is the

change in temperature

Measuring the specific heat capacity

To find the specific heat capacity of something, we can control all of the possible variables and then use them to calculate it. From the equation above, we can see that . This means that if we can supply a known

amount of energy to a material of known mass, and measure the change in temperature, we can insert the values into the equation and obtain the specific heat capacity. To supply a known amount of energy, we can use an electric heater. You may recall that electrical energy can be found by , so by measuring the voltage, the current and the time that the circuit is switched on, we will have a value for the energy supplied to the material. In the same time period that the circuit is switched on, we must take measurments for the change in temperature. An ordinary mercury thermometer may be used, although it is recommend to use a temperature sensor with a computer to make more precise and accurate measurements. Once we have taken readings of the temperature and energy at regular intervals of time, we can plot a graph of against . We can calculate the gradient, making sure to use as much of the line in our calculation as possible, and divide it by the mass of the material to obtain the value of the materials specific heat capacity.

Specific latent heat

When you heat up a substance so that it changes state, the temperature stays the same during the change. Different substances will require more energy to change state than others. The specific latent heat will tell us how much energy a substance requires to change state and is defined as: The specific latent heat of a substance is numerically equal to the energy that must be supplied to change the state of 1kg of the substance without any change in temperature. This can be written as the equation:

Or, rewritten,


is the energy supplied,

is the mass of the substance, and

is the specific latent heat.

Thermal physics


The gas laws

There are four properties of a gas, that are related to each other. These properties are the pressure, the temperature, the volume and the mass of the gas, and these relationships are expressed as the gas laws.

Boyle's law
Boyle's law relates the pressure of a gas to its volume. Specifically, it states that: The pressure of a fixed mass of gas is inversely proportional to its volume, provided that the temperature remains constant. This can be expressed as or .

You can picture this at the molecular level, if you were to imagine the number of collisions the particles of a gas make with the container of a particular size, and then imagine the increased number of collisions when the container is reduced in size but the number of particles remain the same. This is observed as an increase in pressure of the gas.

Charles' law
Charles' law relates the volume of a gas with its temperature on the thermodynamic temperature scale, and that: The volume of a fixed mass of gas at constant pressure is proportional to its temperature on the thermodynamic temperature scale. This can be expressed as or .

It is a little more difficult to understand why this is the case, because a gas will always take up the entire volume of its container. If you think about how a particle behaves when it is heated up, it will vibrate more and cause an increase in pressure, or harder and faster collisions of the molecules against the container. However, since pressure is to be kept constant in this case, the volume of the container will need to increase. Therefore by increasing the temperature of the gas, we have increased its volume.

Pressure law
The pressure of a fixed mass of gas at constant volume is proportional to its thermodynamic temperature. This can be expressed as or .

Equation for an Ideal Gas

n is the number of moles of gas, R is the Ideal Gas Constant, R = 8.3144621 8.31 J/(molK) T is the ABSOLUTE temperature, p is the Pressure in Pascal, V is the Volume in m3.

Thermal physics


Properties of an Ideal Gas

1) Its particles should be monatomic 2) The particles are infinitely small 3) There are no bonds between the particles, hence all the energy is kinetic.

Wave Properties
Reflection and Refraction Waves Superposition

When two waves are superimposed the displacement of the resultant wave is equal to the algebraic sum of the individual displacements.

Diffraction and interference

Diffraction is the spreading out of waves as they pass through a narrow gap or obstacle. When light diffracts through two slits, the relationship connecting the separation of the light sources (i.e., the separation of the slits), a, the separation of the fringes of the interference pattern, x, the wavelength of the light and the distance of the screen from the sources, D is as follows:

At a point where two or more waves meet, the instantaneous displacement is the vector sum of the individual displacement due to each wave at that point.

Two waves are said to be coherent with each other if the path difference between them stays constant from the source up to the detection.they may or may not have same wavelengh, frequencies and amplitudes

Waves of a single wavelength or frequency are monochromatic.



Path Difference
Path difference = Path difference = (where n is an integer). for constructive waves. for destructive waves.

Formation of a stationary wave

It forms due to the superposition of wave travelling in 1 direction with a wave of equal amplitude and wavelength travelling in the opposite direction. Stationary waves on a string occur when

Electromagnetic Waves
The electromagnetic spectrum is a family of waves that share the following properties: They are able to transmit through a vacuum. They all travel at the same speed in a vacuum (3108 ms-1). They are all transverse waves consisting of magnetic and electric fields oscillating at right angles to each other. They all transfer energy as photons (the higher the frequency of a particular radiation the greater the energy contained in each photon. They can all be reflected, refracted, diffracted and create interference patterns. Properties of these waves change with their frequency / wavelength so they are divided into seven sub groups which are radio wave, microwaves, infra red waves, visible light, ultraviolet, x rays and gamma rays. Radio Waves Radio waves are used mainly in communication over short or long distances. Shorter wavelengths are used for television and FM radio while longer wavelengths are used for AM radio. Long Wave Wavelength = 1*104m Medium Wave Wavelength = 1*102m Short Wave Wavelength = 1*100m Microwaves Some microwaves pass easily through Earths atmosphere and are used for communications with satellites and or mobile phones. Microwaves are also commonly used for cooking with the aid of a microwave oven. Typical Values are as follows: Wavelength (m) = 3*10-2 Frequency (Hz) = 1*1010 Definitions Transverse Wave The direction of energy transfer is at 90 degrees to the direction of the vibrating particles. Longitudinal Wave The particles vibrate backwards and forwards along the line of the direction of the energy transfer in the wave. Amplitude

Waves The greatest displacement of the wave. Period (T) Is the time taken (in seconds) for one complete cycle of the wave. Frequency (f) The number of cycles of the wave per second. Wavelength () The shortest distance between 2 particles on the wave with the same phase. Speed of wave Distance travelled by the wave in one time period. (/T)


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