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1 GLOSSARY OF PHYSICS TERMS Scalar: A quantity that has magnitude only. Vector: A quantity that has magnitude and direction. Speed is the distance travelled per unit time. OR the rate of change of distance. Velocity is the displacement of an object per unit time. OR the rate of change of displacement. Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. The equation is Whereby a: acceleration v: the final velocity u: the initial velocity t: time taken a = v-u t Newton s first law states that every object continues in its state of constant velocity or rest unless a net force acts on it to change its motion. Inertia is a property of a mass which resists change from its state of rest or motion. OR It refers to the reluctance of the object to start moving if it is stationary in the first instance or the reluctance of the object to stop moving if it is moving in the first instance. Newton s second law states that for an object of constant mass the product of the mass and the acceleration is equal to the resultant force acting on the object, the acceleration being in the same direction as the resultant force. F = ma Newton s third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Centripetal force: A force that is acting perpendicularly to the instantaneous velocity which only change its direction but not its magnitude. It is necessary for circular motion which requires a net force on an object directed towards the centre of the circle or orbit. Density of a substance is its mass per unit volume. Mass is the measure of the amount of substance in a body. (SI unit: kilogram) Weight: The weight of a body is the pull of gravity on the body.(si unit: newton) 1 P a g e

2 The "centre of gravity of an object" is the point through which all of the weight of an object appears to act for any orientation of the object. Stable Equilibrium: when tilted slightly it will not topple over. Unstable Equilibrium: will topple over if tilted slightly. Neutral Equilibrium: it will stay in its new position if it is slightly displaced or rolled. The Moment of a force is defined as the turning effect of the force about a pivot and is given by the product of the force and the perpendicular distance from the line of action of the force to the pivot. Unit: Nm Moment of a force = F x s The Principle of Moments states that for an object to be in equilibrium, the sum of clockwise moments about any point (acting as a pivot) equals the sum of the anticlockwise moments about the same point. Unit: Nm Hooke s law states that the extension is directly proportional to the stretching force within the elastic limit Pressure is defined as the force acting per unit area. Pressure cannot change the volume of liquids is the principle behind all hydraulic systems. Boyle s Law states that for a given mass of gas at constant temperature, the volume of the gas is inversely proportional to the pressure of the gas. PV = constant OR states that the pressure of a fixed amount of gas is inversely proportional to the volume of the gas when the temperature is held constant. Energy is defined as the capacity of a body to do work. SI unit: Joule (J) Kinetic Energy, energy possessed by an object, resulting from the motion of that object. The magnitude of the kinetic energy depends on both the mass and the speed of the object according to the equation KE = ½ mv² where m is the mass of the object and v² is its speed multiplied by itself or energy possessed by a body due to its motion. Potential Energy, stored energy possessed by a system as a result of the relative positions of the components of that system. For example, if a ball is held above the ground, the system comprising the ball and the earth has a certain amount of potential energy; lifting the ball higher increases the amount of potential energy the system possesses (or) Gravitational Potential Energy of a body near the surface of the Earth is the product of its weight mg and its height h above a reference level. GPE = mgh 2 P a g e

3 Principle of Conservation of Energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed in any process. It can be converted from one form to another or transferred from one body to another, but the total amount remains constant. Work done by a force is given as the product of the force and the distance moved in the direction of the force. W = Fs where W = work done (J) F = constant force (N) s = distance moved in direction of the force (m) Power is the rate at which work is done or the energy is transferred. It is measured in Watt. Efficiency is defined as the ratio of useful work to total work, expressed as a percentage. Absolute Zero is the temperature at which the molecules have zero energy. It is the zero of the Kelvin (or absolute) scale. Freezing: the process of changing a liquid to a solid Boiling: is the change of state from a liquid into a vapour occurring at a constant temperature. Evaporation is the change in state from a liquid to a gaseous state that occurs at any temperature. Conduction is the transfer of thermal energy without any flow of the material medium. Convection is the transfer of thermal energy by means of currents in the material medium (liquid or gas) due to density difference. Radiation is the transfer of thermal energy in the form of infra-red without the aid of material medium. Heat capacity is the energy required to increase the temperature of a substance by 1 o C. Specific Heat Capacity is the energy required to increase the temperature of 1kg of substance by 1 o C. Latent Heat is the amount of energy needed to change the state of matter of a substance at constant temperature. Specific Latent Heat is the amount of energy needed to change the state of matter of 1kg of a substance at constant temperature Specific Latent heat of Fusion is the amount of energy needed to change 1kg of solid to liquid or vice versa at constant temperature. Specific Latent heat of Vaporisation is the amount of energy needed to change 1kg of liquid to gas or vice versa at constant temperature. Expansion is the increase in volume when the temperature of a substance increases 3 P a g e

4 Contraction is the decrease in volume when the temperature of a substance decreases. Evaporation is the change of state from liquid to gas at any temperature which occurs only at the surface. Transverse Waves: the oscillation of the particles is perpendicular to the direction of the wave motion. Longitudinal Waves: the oscillation of the particles is parallel to the direction of the wave motion. Compressions are places where air pressure is slightly higher than the surrounding air pressure. Amplitude is the maximum displacement of a particle from its mean position Frequency is the number of complete oscillations made by a particle in one second. Wavelength is the distance between the successive particles which are in same phase and same position. Time period is the time taken for one complete oscillation of a particle. Rarefactions are places where air pressure is slightly lower than surrounding air pressure. 1st law of reflection: The incident ray, the reflected ray and the normal to the surface all lie in the same plane 2nd law of reflection: The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection Refractive index: is the ratio of sin i to sin r of a ray of light for a given set of medium It can also be calculated by Refractive index = real depth / apparent depth. "Glass has a refractive index of 1.5" means that the ratio of the sine of the incident angle to the sine of the refracted angle is st law of refraction: The incident ray, the normal and the refracted ray all lie on the same plane. 2nd law of refraction (Snell s Law): For two particular media, the ratio of the sine of the angle of incidence to the sine of the angle of refraction is constant. Critical angle is the angle of incidence for which the angle of refraction is 90 o Total internal reflection: when the angle of incidence is greater than the critical angle, there will be no more refracted ray but instead the light is strongly reflected. Ultra sound is the sound wave which has a frequency more than Hz. The Law of Magnetic Poles states that like poles repel and unlike poles attract. Magnetic Induction is a process whereby magnetic materials become a temporary magnet when place in a magnetic field 4 P a g e

5 A Magnetic field is the region where a magnetic force is exerted on any magnetic objects placed within the influence of the field. Maxwell s Right Hand Grip Rule determines the direction of the circular magnetic field around a current carrying wire. Like charges repel each other and Unlike charges attract each other. Ohm s Law states that the current flowing in a metallic (ohmic) conductor is proportional to the voltage across it, provided the physical conditions remain the same. An Electric Current is a measure of the rate of flow of electric charge through a given cross-section of a conductor. The electromotive force [e.m.f.] of a cell is defined as the energy converted from non-electrical forms to electrical form, when one coulomb of positive charge passes through the cell. OR e.m.f. of a cell is defined as the energy converted from non-electrical forms to electrical form when one coulomb of positive charge passes through the cell. E= W /Q where W is energy converted from non-electrical form to electrical form in Joules, Q is positive charges in coulombs Potential Difference (p.d.) between two points is defined as the energy converted from electrical to other forms when one coulomb of charge passes between the two points. Fleming s Left Hand Rule (Motor Principle) states that a force acts at right angles to both the current direction and direction of the magnetic field. Use this if we want to find direction of motion of charged particle or current carrying conductor. Faraday s Law of Induction states that the e.m.f. (electromotive force) generated in a conductor is proportional to the rate of change of magnetic flux linking the circuit. Lenz s Law: the direction of the induced e.m.f. and hence the induced current in a closed circuit is always such as to oppose the change in magnetic flux producing it. Fleming s Right Hand Rule (Generator Principle): The induced current s direction acts at right angles to both the direction of the magnetic field at the force. Use this if we want to find direction of induced current. Isotopes are atoms of the same element with different numbers of neutrons but the same number of protons. Radioactivity is the emission of high energetic particles or rays from the nucleus of certain elements Half life is the time taken by the given radioactive sample to decay by half of its original value. Radioisotopes are manmade isotopes. 5 P a g e

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