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Revision Guide

Cambridge International AS and A Level

Physics

Robert Hutchings
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Contents

How to use this Book vii Chapter 4   Dynamics 21


Introduction 21
Chapter 1   Physical Quantities and Units 1
Newton’s laws of motion 21
Physical quantities 1 Mass 21
SI units (Système International d’unités) 2 Linear momentum 22
Estimating physical quantities 2 Newton’s third law 23
Scientific equations 3 Conservation of momentum 24
Vectors and scalars 3 The deduction of the principle from Newton’s
Combining vectors 3 third law 24
Resolution of vectors 4 The use of the principle of conservation
Progress Check 5 of momentum 25
Elastic and inelastic collisions 25
Chapter 2   Measurement Techniques 6 Progress Check 27
Introduction 6
Record taking 6
Chapter 5   Forces, Density and Pressure 28
Graphical work 7 Types of force 28
Analogue scales and digital displays 7 Forces in fluids 28
Experimental uncertainty 8 Resistive forces 29
Precision and accuracy 8 Centre of gravity 29
Choice of measuring instrument 9 Turning forces 30
Calibration curves 10 Equilibrium 30
Estimating uncertainties 10 The principle of moments 31
Progress Check 12 Density 32
Examination Questions I 12 Pressure 32
Atmospheric pressure 32
Chapter 3   Kinematics 14 Pressure due to a column of liquid of constant density 33
Progress Check 33
Distance and displacement 14
Examination Questions II 36
Speed and velocity 14
Acceleration 15
Graphs for motion 15
Chapter 6   Work, Energy and Power 37
Distance–time graphs 15 Work and energy 37
Velocity–time graphs 15 Work 37
Derivation of equations of motion for uniformly Energy 37
accelerated motion in a straight line 16 Examples of work done or energy supplied 38
Weight 17 Power 40
Measurement of the acceleration of free fall, g 17 Efficiency 40
The effect of air resistance on a falling body 18 Progress Check 42
Objects moving under gravity in two dimensions 18 Examination Questions III 43
Progress Check 20
iv  Contents

Chapter 7   Deformation of Solids 47 Electrical resistivity 80


Progress Check 80
Introduction 47
Tension and compression 47
Chapter 12   Direct Current (D.C.) Circuits 82
Springs 47
Elastic and plastic deformation of a material 48 Introduction 82
The Young modulus 48 Electromotive force, e.m.f. and potential difference, p.d. 83
Categories of materials 50 Internal resistance 83
Strain energy 51 Kirchhoff ’s laws 83
Progress Check 52 Kirchhoff ’s first law 84
Examination Questions IV 53 Kirchhoff ’s second law 84
Combinations of resistors 84
Chapter 8   Waves 56 Resistors in series 84
Resistors in parallel 85
Introduction 56 Electrical circuits 85
Wave motion 56 Warning of common mistakes 85
Wave terminology 57 Sample circuits 86
Energy transfer by a progressive wave 58 The effect of a voltmeter being used 86
Transverse and longitudinal waves 59 The potentiometer 87
Experimental techniques 60 Progress Check 89
The electromagnetic spectrum 61 Examination Questions VI 90
The Doppler effect 62
Progress Check 63
Chapter 13   Nuclear Physics: Part A 93
Chapter 9   Superposition 64 Introduction 93
Structure of the atom 93
Introduction 64 Discovery of the nucleus of atoms 93
Stationary waves 64 Isotopes 94
Diffraction 66 Definitions and data 94
Interference 66 Nuclear reactions 95
The diffraction grating 68 Experiments with radioactive materials 96
Progress Check 69 Properties of alpha (α), beta (β) and gamma (γ) radiations 97
Examination Questions V 70 Antiparticles 98
Fundamental particles 98
Chapter 10   Electric Fields: Part A 72 Beta decay 99
Electric field definition 72 Progress Check 100
Electric field diagrams 72 Examination Questions VII 101
Potential difference 73
The movement of charges in electric fields 73 Chapter 14  Physical Quantities, Units and
Progress Check 75 Measurement Techniques 103
Amount of substance 103
Chapter 11   Current of Electricity 76 Experimental techniques 103
Charge and current 76
Introduction 76 Chapter 15   Motion in a Circle 104
Conductors and insulators 76
Angular measure 104
Potential difference 77
Angular velocity 104
Resistance 78
The relationship between angular velocity w  and speed v 104
Equation summary 78
Small angle approximations for angles 105
Current–potential difference (I–V) characteristics 79
Circular motion 105
1. A wire at a constant temperature 79
Acceleration at constant speed 105
2. A filament lamp 79
Acceleration in circular motion at constant speed 106
3. A semiconductor diode 79
The force required for a centripetal acceleration 106
Temperature characteristics 79
Progress Check 108
Ohm’s law 79
Contents  v

Chapter 16   Gravitational Field 109 Chapter 21   Ultrasound 149


Introduction 109 The piezo-electric transducer 149
Gravitational field strength 109 Ultrasound scanning 149
Newton’s law of gravitation 109 Absorption coefficients 151
The relationship between g and G 110 Progress Check 152
Gravitational potential 110
Space travel 111 Chapter 22   Communicating Information 153
Circular orbits 112
The principles of modulation 153
Geostationary satellites 112
Introduction 153
Progress Check 114
Signal modulation 153
Examination Questions VIII 114
Bandwidth 153
Comparison between amplitude modulation (AM) and
Chapter 17   Ideal Gases 117
frequency modulation (FM) 155
Introduction 117 Frequencies and wavelengths used in
The equation of state for an ideal gas 117 telecommunications 156
Standard temperature and pressure, S.T.P. 118 Digital information 156
The kinetic theory of gases 118 Sampling rates 156
The Boltzmann constant, k 119 Modes of communication 158
Progress Check 120 Attenuation 158
Comparison of channels of communication 159
Chapter 18   Temperature 121 Satellite communication 160
Satellite orbits 160
Introduction 121
Progress Check 162
Thermal equilibrium 121
Examination Questions XI 163
Measurement of temperature 121
The potential divider in use 122
Chapter 23   Electric Fields: Part B 164
The thermistor 123
Temperature scales 124 Introduction 164
Progress Check 125 Coulomb’s law 164
The electric field strength at a distance r from a
Chapter 19  Thermal Properties of point charge 164
Materials 126 Electrical potential 165
Comparison between electric fields and
Specific heat capacity 126 gravitational fields 165
Change of state 127 The definition of electrical potential 166
Melting 127 Progress Check 168
Boiling and evaporation 128
Internal energy 129 Chapter 24   Capacitance 169
The first law of thermodynamics 130
Progress Check 132 Introduction 169
Examination Questions IX 133 The definition of capacitance 169
Capacitors in series and in parallel 169
Chapter 20   Oscillations 136 Capacitors in parallel 169
Capacitors in series 170
Introduction 136 The energy stored in a charged capacitor 172
Patterns of oscillation 136 Progress Check 173
Wave terminology 137
Angular frequency (w ) 138 Chapter 25   Sensing Devices 174
The definition of simple harmonic motion (SHM) 138
Damped oscillations 140 Sensing devices 174
Forced oscillations and resonance 141 The light-dependent resistor 174
Progress Check 144 The negative temperature coefficient thermistor 175
Examination Questions X 144 The piezo-electric transducer 175
Strain gauges 175
Progress Check 177
vi  Contents

Chapter 26   Electronics 178 Smoothing the output from a rectifier circuit 205
Progress Check 206
The operational amplifier (op-amp) 178 Examination Questions XII 207
The properties of an op-amp 178
The op-amp as a comparator 178
Chapter 30   Quantum Physics 211
Adjusting the gain of an op-amp 179
The non-inverting amplifier 179 Introduction 211
Output devices 180 The photoelectric effect 211
Progress Check 181 The Planck constant, h 212
Wave-particle duality 213
Chapter 27   Magnetic Fields 182 Spectra 213
Band theory 214
Introduction 182 Variation of resistance with temperature 215
Concept of a magnetic field 182 Variation of resistance with intensity of light 215
Making magnets 183 Absorption spectra 216
Magnetic flux density 184 The production and use of X-rays 216
The current balance 185 Introduction 216
The force on a charge q moving with velocity v The production of X-rays 216
in a magnetic field 185 The use of X-rays 217
Magnetic field patterns of electric currents in wires Computed tomography (CT) scan 218
and forces on the wires 187 Progress Check 220
The Hall probe 188
Velocity selection 189
Chapter 31   Nuclear Physics: Part B 221
A comparison between the effect on charges in
electric and magnetic fields 189 Energy and mass 221
Magnetic resonance imaging, MRI 190 Nuclear binding energy 221
Introduction 190 Variation of binding energy with nucleon number 222
Precession of nuclei 190 Nuclear fission 223
Nuclear resonance 191 Activity and half-life 223
The MRI scanner 191 Half life 224
Progress Check 192 Progress Check 225
Examination Questions XIII 225
Chapter 28   Electromagnetic Induction 194
Appendix A  Quick tips on exam
Introduction 194
Experiments on electromagnetic induction 194 preparation 228
Definitions of terms used in electromagnetic induction 195
Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction 195 Appendix B  Physical quantities: symbols,
The a.c. generator, often called an alternator 195 definitions and equations 231
Lenz’s law 196
Progress Check 198 Appendix C  SI units, symbols and
definitions 233
Chapter 29   Alternating Currents 199
Introduction 199 Appendix D  Answers to Progress
Power in an a.c. circuit 199 Check questions 235
The transformer 200 Index 244
The theory of a transformer 201
Transformer Losses 203
Rectification 204
Half-wave rectification 204
Full-wave rectification 204
How to use this Book
Deformation of Solids 7
Introduction Introduction that when you reach the other side of the bridge, th
chains go back to their original length.
The application of a pair of squeezing or stretching
Explains the layout of each chapter, helps forces to a solid will cause a change in the shape
Changes in the separation distance between
molecules in the examples quoted above are small
with navigation through the book and of a solid. This chapter will deal only with solids,
and reversible. Any change in the shape of a solid
because for liquids and gases, changes in shape are
gives a reminder of what is important dependent on the container holding them.
as a result of forces being applied to it and which
returns to its original shape when the forces are
about each topic. removed an elastic deformation. Elas
is said to be125
Temperature
Tension and compression
deformation is very common with most objects w
temperature at which Whenice, water androd
a solid waterhasvapour
two forces applied to itTip
Teacher’s in use daily and is usually so small that it is not notic
co-exist (in the absence the way of air). By choosing
shown in Figure this7.1(a), its length increases
temperature as 273.16 K, the size of one degree is Be careful when subtracting temperatures.
Teacher’s tips by a small amount and the rod is said to undergo
almost identical to the size of the old centigrade
tensile deformation. If the forces are reversed
Springs
A temperature change from 6 °C to 80 °C is
degree. The discrepancy between 273.15 and 273.16 obviously 74and
°C. This could Thehave beendescribed
effects written in the previous section can
26  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide
is because the triplethe
Quick suggestions to remind you about point rod is squeezed,
temperature as shown
of water is in Figure
353 K 7.1(b),
− 279 Kits = 74 K. Thebetemperature
exaggerated interval
if the solid is not a straight rod
one hundredth of a length decreases
degree higher thanathe little
ice and
point. it is said to undergo
between two temperatures butmust be theinto
is coiled samea spring. It then becomes easier
A
u
B
U
For elastic
key facts and highlight important points.
collisions only,
equals the velocity of separation.
the velocity of approach
compressive deformation. whether the Celsius scale or the Kelvin scale are
to measure any extension or compression that
Before collision m M used. You must not add on 273 when considering
temperature intervals. takes place. Figure 7.2 shows on the left-hand
Example 2 Rod in tension side a spring without any load on it attached to a
V
(a)
After collision m
v
M On a linear air track, a mass of 120 g is travelling horizontal support. The right-hand side shows the
to the right with a velocity of 83 cm s . It collides
−1
effect of attaching a load to the spring.
Chapter Summary
Figure 4.8 elastically with a mass of 200 g travelling with Rod in compression
velocity 47 cm s in the opposite
−1
✓ direction, as shown
Thermal energy is transferred from a region of higher ✓ The Celsius scale of temperature is based on the
Equating total momentum before the collision (b)
in Figure 4.9. temperature to a region of lower temperature. thermodynamic scale. It is defined by the equation
with momentum after gives ✓ The thermodynamic scale of temperature uses two q/°C = T/K − 273.15 exactly.
Figure 7.1
mu + MU = mv + MV 83 cm s −1 fixed points.
47 cmOne
s−1 is 0 K at absolute zero and the other (This is not a mistake. It makes the temperature of Extension
= 0.83 m s−1 is 273.16=K0.47
at m
thes−1triple point of water. the triple point of water just 0.01K higher than the
The corresponding equation for kinetic energy The fact that the rod can be deformed in these
ice point.)
LOAD
will be ways implies two things for the rod:
1 1 1 1 Figure 7.2
2
mu2 + 2 MU 2 = 2 mv2 + 2 MV 2 ● separation of molecules in the rod can be
A B
As a result of placing the load on the spring, a p
120 g Progress
200 gCheck affected by external forces applied to it, and
To simplify these two equations is not as easy as = 0.12 kg = 0.20 kg of forces causes the extension to occur. The first o
● percentage changes in the separation of
it might seem. It can be made easier by putting all After 18.1 Convert the following Celsius temperatures to kelvin. these forces
18.4 Make estimates of the following is theusing
temperatures, downward force the load exerts
Velocity U 0 °C V
(a)Velocity molecules
(b) 37.4 °C (c) 100are
°C usually very small. the Celsius scale. The temperature of
the terms with an m in them on the left-hand side of (d) 440 °C (e) –80 °C (f) −273.15 °C (a) dry ice,
on the spring. This will be equal to the weight of t
Figure 4.9
the equations and all the terms with M in them on In everyday life, the changes in shapes(b)ofbody most temperature, load provided the load is at rest. The second force
1
the right. The 2 may be cancelled from the kinetic With what velocity do the masses
(g) 5600 °C
18.2 travel
Convertafter solids are
the
the following
Examples
not
kelvin noticed. toWhen
temperatures Celsius.you put your (c) dinner the upward force the support exerts on the spring
hot water for a shower,
collision? (a) 0 K plate
(b) 220down
K on a table you do not notice (d) thathotthe
water in a room radiator
table Once the spring is at rest these two forces are equ
energy equation giving
Answer  Before collision total
(c) 280 K
momentum to
(d)
has450
right
K
sagged A step
a little under by step approach
the weight; when (f) you
a hotsit onto
oven answering
(e) hot water in a pressure cooker,
cooking When an experiment is carried out, a graph
a cake,
mu − mv = MV − MU or 18.3 Temperatures at the centre
a swing youof stars are very
do not large.that the steel chain
notice holding
0.47) why it is unnecessary toquestions,
know whether kelvinguiding you through from start
(g) a red hot ring on an of extension
electric stove, against load might be as shown in
= (0.12 × 0.83) − (0.20 ×Explain
m(u − v) = M(V − U) and Equation I the seatarehasused
stretched as a result. As you(h) drive a car in a lamp.Figure 7.3. Note that when a pair of forces, each o
a filament
or Celsius temperatures in these cases.
mu2 − mv2 = MV 2 − MU 2 or
After the collision total momentum to
right = (0.12 × U ) + (0.20 × V )
over a suspension to fibridge
nish.you are not aware that the magnitude F, stretches a spring, the tension in the
m(u2 − v2) = M(V 2 − U 2) Equation II chains supporting the bridge have become longer, or spring is said to be F and not 2F.
These two terms are equal by the principle of
Now divide the Equation II by Equation I to get conservation of energy, so
m(u 2 − v 2 ) M (V 2 − U 2 ) (0.0996 − 0.0940) = 0.0056 = 0.12U + 0.20V
=
m(u − v ) M (V − U )
Sometimes it is worthwhile multiplying both sides
Both m and M cancel out and both top lines are of an equation by a large number to get rid of all the
differences of two squares so zeroes. Multiplying through by 100 gives
(u + v )(u − v ) (U + V )(U − V )
= (9.96 − 9.40) = 0.56 = 12U + 20V
(u − v ) (U − V )
Neither U nor V can be obtained from this equation
giving but using the fact that the velocity of approach
(u + v ) = (U + V ) equals the velocity of separation gives
or (u − U ) = (V − v ) (0.83 + 0.47) = V − U
The term on the left is the relative velocity of By substituting into the first equation we get
approach, i.e. how fast mass m is catching up mass
M. The term on the right is the relative velocity of 12U + 20(1.30 + U ) = 0.56
separation, i.e. how fast M is moving away from 12U + 26 + 20U = 0.56 so 32U = −25.44 and
mass m. U = −0.795 m s−1 = −80 cm s−1 to 2 sig figs. and
V = 0.505 m s−1 = 51 cm s−1 to 2 sig figs.
How to use this Book
20  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

Progress Check 

3.1 A car travels a distance of 720 km in moving 480 km stopped. Two minutes must be allowed for the train to
south and 370 km west as shown in Figure
114  Cambridge3.11. What isInternational be stationary.
AS and Consider
A LevelaPhysicstrain travelling
Revision at 60 m s−1
Guide
the displacement of the car from its starting point after
completing the journey? Progress check questions
before braking with a deceleration of 2.0 m s−2.
(Deceleration is negative acceleration.) After stopping it
Progress Check
Starting can accelerate at a rate of 1.2 m s−2. Calculate
point
16.1 (a)     Draw a diagram showing the gravitational 
Check your own knowledge and see how
(a) the time taken for the train to stop,
(b) the time taken for the train 1to6.5 accelerate back to
Show that on a trip to the Moon, astronauts pass a point 
Route distance
720 km 480 km Figure 16.5.  well you are getting on by answering
top speed,
field between the pair of binary stars drawn in  where the gravitational field strength of the Earth–Moon 
(c) the distances the train takes to stopsystem is zero at a distance when the astronauts have 
and to speed up,
regular questions. Sample answers for
(d) the delay time of the train as a result
the station.
of stopping at
travelled 90% of the distance to the Moon.
Finishing
point 370 km
these are provided at the back of the book.
   
3.9 A motorist travelling at 25 m s−1 is 40 m behind another
Figure 16.5
     Mass of Earth  = 5.98 × 1024 kg,
         Mass of Moon = 7.35 × 1022 kg.
motorist also travelling at 25 m s−1. The first motorist
Figure 3.11  (b)  How would your diagram change if the star on the 
accelerates in 6.0 s to 30 m s−1 and 1maintains this speed
6.6 Using data from the text on space travel, calculate the 
left was 20 times more massive than the star on the 
difference until he is 50 m in front of thespeed required shortly after the launch of a rocket to be 
other motorist,
3.2 A plane travels 2000 km east and 150 km south on a flight.
right? who keeps to his original speed. Deducetravelling at 5.0 km s−1 when far out in space.
What is the displacement of the plane from its starting
point at the end of the journey? 16.2 The radius of the Earth is 6370 km and g (a) the total at its surface 
time this takes,
6.7 The distance of the Earth from the Sun is 1.50 × 10
(b) the distance the overtaking 1motorist has travelled.
11
 m. 
is 9.83 N kg−1. Calculate the value of the acceleration 
3.3 When travelling in a straight line, a train increases its Use the value of G and the period of rotation of the Earth 
due to gravity 3.10 A steel ball bearing is dropped from above gate 1 and is
velocity from 3 m s−1 to 50 m s−1 in a time of 107 s. What is around the Sun to calculate the mass of the Sun.
 (a)  at a distance of 12 740 km from the centre of the 
timed as it passes through the three light gates shown in
its average acceleration during this time?
Earth, Figure 3.12. 16.8 Explain why a geostationary satellite
3.4 In an X-ray tube an electron has acceleration of
 (b)  at a height of 500 km above the Earth’s surface.  (a)  has to move from west to east,
8.4 × 1016 m s−2 from rest to a velocity of 3.8 × 107 m s−1.  (b)  must be directly over the equator,
16.3 The distance from the centre of the Earth to the centre 
How long does the acceleration take? Gate 1 Lamp 1  (c)  can have its rocket motors switched off.
of the Moon is 3.844 × 108 m. The radius of the Earth 
3.5 What is the minimum time it will take for a racing  m. Assuming that Moon travels on a 
is 6.371 × 10 6
Explain also how a satellite with a period of one day 
53 cm
Examination questions
car to increase its speed from 28 m s tocircular path, calculate
75 m s if the
−1 −1
Gate 2 Lamp 2 would appear to move to an observer on the ground if it 
maximum grip between the car and the (a)  racetrack enables
the centripetal acceleration of the Moon, was travelling with the centre of its path at the centre of 
a maximum acceleration of 17 m s−2 ?  (b)  the angular velocity of the Moon, the Earth but was not travelling along the Equator.
Help prepare for examination by completing the questions
 (c)  the period of the Moon’s rotation around the Earth. 53 cm
3.6 In a sprint, an athlete maintains a constant acceleration of Gate 3 Lamp 3
16.9 Calculate, from g = 9.83 N kg−1 and the radius of the Earth 
7.8 m s−2 for the first 1.5 s of the race. Calculate:
16.4 Calculate the gravitational field strength at the surface  = 6.371 × 106 m, the period of a satellite in a circular orbit 
taken from Cambridge past-examination papers.
(a) the velocity of the athlete after 1.5of Jupiter. Jupiter has a radius of 7.14 × 10
(b) the displacement of the athlete after
s,
the 1.5 s.
7
 m and a 
Path of ball between around the Earth, and hence its speed, when it is at an 
mass of 1.90 × 10 27
 kg. three light gates altitude of 500 km.
3.7 In an old castle there is a well that is so deep that when a
Figure 3.12
bucketful of water is dropped down the well it takes 4.0 s
before the dropped water hits theExamination Questions VIII
water in the well. The The separation between each pair of light gates is 53.0 cm.
acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m s−2. The time interval between gates 1 and 2 is 0.197 46 s and
Estimate: 1. (a)     Define gravitational potential at a point.  [1]
between gates 2 and 3 is 0.124 34 s.
(a) the speed of the dropped water   when (b)  itThe gravitational potential 
hits the f at distance r from point mass M is given by the expression
1
water in the well, (a) Write equations using s = ut + at2 for
2
(b) the depth of the well. (i) the time betweenφgates Gm
= − 1 and 2,
Explain two factors that make your answers unreliable. r 1 and 3.
(ii) the total time between gates
3.8 A railway company is asked to allow   a high-speed
  where G is the gravitational constant.
train (b) Eliminate u, the speed of the ball at gate 1 and
to make a stop at a station where it  had  previously solve the equation to find g.
Explain the significance of the negative sign in this expression. 
not [2]
  (c)  A spherical planet may be assumed to be an isolated point mass with its mass concentrated at its centre. A small mass m is 
moving near to, and normal to, the surface of the planet. The mass moves away from the planet through a short distance h.
    State and explain why the change in gravitational potential energy ΔEP of the mass is given by the expression

ΔEP = mgh

    where g is the acceleration of free fall.  [4]
  (d)  The planet in (c) has mass M and diameter 6.8 × 103 km. The product GM for this planet is 4.3 × 1013 N m2 kg−1.
Chapter summary
    A rock, initially at rest a long distance from the planet, accelerates towards the planet. Assuming that the planet has 
negligible atmosphere, calculate the speed of the rock, in m s−1 as it hits the surface of the planet.  [3]

At the end of each chapter so you can (Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics 9702
Paper 41 Question 1 May/June 2012)
check off the topics as you revise them. Dynamics  27

Chapter Summary

✓  Newton’s first law. Every object continues in its state  ✓  Weight is the force of gravitational attraction acting 
of rest or state of uniform motion in a straight line  on a body. It is measured in newtons.
unless acted upon by a resultant external force. ✓  Momentum is the product of an object’s mass and 
✓  Newton’s second law. The rate of change of  velocity. It is measured in N s. To determine the time 
momentum of a body is proportional to the resultant  t an object takes to stop when a force F is applied, use 
force acting on it. its momentum in the equation mv = Ft.
✓  Newton’s third law. If body A exerts a force on body  ✓  The principle of conservation of momentum states 
B then body B exerts an equal and opposite force on  that in all collisions the total momentum is constant 
body A. provided that there is no resultant external force 
✓  Mass is a measure of how difficult it is to accelerate a  acting.
body. It is measured in kilograms.

Progress Check 

4.1 (a)   Calculate the weight of a new-born baby of mass  4.4 Draw free-body force diagrams for


3.72 kg.  (a)  a person standing on level ground and a case held 
Physical Quantities
and Units 1
You are already familiar with much of this chapter but Other conversions are not necessarily so obvious.
it does contain a large amount of detail that you must Another matter of convention with units
use accurately. Using units and quantities correctly concerns the way they are written on graph axes
and showing your workings are very important and in tables of values. You might often use or
skills to practice so that you avoid making errors, see a statement such as ‘energy/joule’ or in an
particularly when writing up practical work or when abbreviated form ‘E/J’. This means the quantity
writing answers to tests. energy divided by its SI unit, the joule. For example

energy 780 joule


Physical quantities = = 780
joule joule
All measurements of physical quantities require
both a numerical value and a unit in which the The figure 780 is now just a number with no unit.
measurement is made. For example, your height That is what will appear in a table of values or on a
might be 1.73 metres. The number and the unit graph so there is no need to add the unit to every
in which it is measured need to be kept together value in tables or graphs, provided the unit is shown
because it is meaningless to write ‘height = 1.73’. on the heading or axis.
The numerical value is called the magnitude of the In order to answer the questions given, you will
quantity and the magnitude has meaning only when need to use the prefixes on multiples and sub-
the unit is attached. In this particular case it would multiples of units. Table 1.1 shows the meaning of
be correct to write ‘height = 173 centimetres’, since each term you might have to use.
there are 100 centimetres in a metre. You can help
avoid making mistakes when converting units by
Table 1.1
using this method.
Write the conversion as an equation. Prefix Abbreviation Multiplying factor
cm tera T 1012
1.73 m = 1.73 m × 100  m = 173 cm
giga G 109
The m on the top cancels with an m on the bottom mega M 106
so you are certain the conversion is the right way kilo k 103
round. Many students make the mistake of not
reviewing what they have written in an equation to deci d 10−1
make sure it makes sense. centi c 10−2
milli m 10−3
Teacher’s Tip
micro μ 10−6
Look out for incorrect statements. Check you
nano n 10−9
write numbers and units correctly and do not
write, for example, 1.73 cm = 173 m. pico p 10−12
2  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

So, for example, light of wavelength 456 nm is Estimating physical quantities


a wavelength of 456 × 10−9 m. This will equate to
In making estimates of physical quantities it is
4.56 × 10−7 m or 0.000 000 456 m. Always be careful
essential that you do not just guess a value and
with any of these prefixes and double check to see
write it down. It is important to include the method
that you are not using them the wrong way round.
you use, not just the numerical values. Answers
It is amazing how often some students will, for
you write might have numerical values stretching
example, find the speed of a car as an unrealistic
from 10−30 to 1040. You need to remember some
0.0052 m s−1 when it ought to be 52 m s−1. The reason
important values, to one significant figure, in SI
for the difference is that at some stage in the
units. The following list is by no means complete
calculation the student has divided by 100 when
but is a starting point.
he or she should have multiplied.
Do not forget that various atomic sizes and
masses may be given in the exam paper data.
 I units (Système International
S
d’unités) mass of an adult 70 kg
All the units you use during your AS course are mass of a car 1000 kg
called the SI units. They are derived from five base height of a tall man 2 m
units. These are, together with the abbreviation used
for each, as follows: height of a mountain 5000 m

●● the kilogram (kg) as the unit of mass, speed of car on a high-speed road 30 m s−1
●● the metre (m) as the unit of length, speed of a plane 300 m s−1
●● the second (s) as the unit of time,
speed of sound in air at sea level 300 m s−1
●● the ampere (A) as the unit of electric current
and weight of an adult 700 N
●● the kelvin (K) as the unit of absolute
energy requirement for a person for
temperature. 10 000 000 J
one day
The definition of these five units is amazingly power of a car 60 kW
complicated and you are not required to know
the definitions. Each definition is very precise and power of a person running 200 W
enables national laboratories to measure physical pressure of the atmosphere 100 000 Pa
quantities with a high degree of accuracy.
density of water 1000 kg m−3
Although you do not need to know these definitions,
you will need to know how many other definitions A few astronomical values are useful too.
of SI units are derived from the base units. All the distance from the Earth to the Moon 400 000 km
definitions and their corresponding units are given
distance from the Earth to the Sun 150 000 000 km
in this book, when required in appropriate chapters.
Knowledge of units is essential since every numerical radius of the Earth 6000 km
question you might have to answer will be dependent mass of the Earth 6 × 1024 kg
upon using units.
To find the expression of a unit in base units it is
necessary to use the definition of the quantity. For Once you have some basic data you can use it to
­example, the newton (N), as the unit of force, is find an approximate value for many quantities. As
defined by using the equation a general rule, always get your values into SI units,
even though you may well remember some values in
force = mass × acceleration. non-SI units. Never use non-SI units such as miles,
So,  1 N = 1 kg × 1 m s−2  or  1 N = 1 kg m s−2. yards, pounds, etc.
Physical Quantities and Units   3

For example, a question might ask you to estimate Table 1.2


a value for the kinetic energy of a cruise liner.
‘Estimate’ means the values you choose do not have Scalars Vectors
to be precise, but they should be sensible. A suitable mass displacement
answer to this question might look like this:
length velocity
Mass of cruise liner estimated as 20 000 tonnes
time acceleration
1 tonne = 1000 kg
area force
so mass of cruise liner = 20 000 × 1000 = 2 × 10  kg 7
volume momentum

Speed of cruise liner = 15 m s−1 (half the speed of a car) density


speed
1
Kinetic energy = 2  mv 2
pressure
= 0.5 × 2 × 107 × 152
work
= 2 × 109 J (to 1 significant energy
figure).
power

Scientific equations Combining vectors


You also need to be able to check the homogeneity Adding or subtracting scalars is just like adding or
of any equation. This means that both sides of any subtracting numbers, as long as you always remember
equation must have the same units. to include the unit. Adding vectors can be difficult;
For example, consider the equation for kinetic subtracting vectors can be even more difficult.
1
energy Ek = 2  mv 2. Forces are vector quantities. When adding two
The unit of energy (the joule) is the forces together the total force is called the resultant
unit of force × distance, i.e. the unit of force. The resultant force is not an actual force at
mass × acceleration × distance. So the unit of Ek is all. It is just the sum of all the forces acting on an
kg × m s−2 × m, which simplifies to kg m2 s−2. object. The forces that we add might be caused by
Looking at the right-hand side of the equation for different things, for example one force could be a
1
kinetic energy, the unit of 2  mv2 is kg × m2 × s−2, which gravitational force and the other could be an electrical
1 force. It might seem impossible for a force of 8 N to
is the same as the unit of Ek (the 2 has no unit).
be added to a force of 6 N and get an answer 2 N,
This means that the equation for kinetic energy is but it could be correct if the two forces acted in
homogeneous. opposite directions on an object. In fact, for these
If you ever find that the units on both sides of an two forces a resultant force can have any magnitude
equation are not the same, then either the equation between a maximum of 14 N and a minimum of 2 N,
is incorrect or you have made a mistake somewhere. depending on the angle that the forces have with
one another. In order to find the resultant of these
Vectors and scalars two forces, a triangle of forces is used, as shown in
A vector is a quantity that has direction as well as Figure 1.1. The two vectors are drawn to scale, with
magnitude; a scalar is a quantity with magnitude 1 cm representing 2 N.
only. The mathematics of finding the resultant can be
Table 1.2 lists quantities in their correct category. difficult but if there is a right angle in the triangle
things can be much more straightforward.
4  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

8N sum of $37, then instead of $37 − $20 = $17 you can


Resultant 6N think ‘what needs to be added to 20 to get 37’.
2N To subtract vector B from vector A, a triangle
8N of vectors is used in which −(vector B) is added to
vector A. This is shown in Figure 1.2. Note that A +
Resultant (−B) is the same as A − B.
6N
4N
Resolution of vectors
8N
Not only is it possible for you to add vectors, it is
often useful to be able to split a single vector into
two. This process is called resolution of a vector and
Resultant 6N almost always resolution means to split one vector
10 N
into two components at right angles to one another.
This is illustrated in Figure 1.3.
In Figure 1.3(a) an object has velocity v at an
8N
angle q to the horizontal. The velocity can be
considered equi­valent to the two other velocities
6N shown. v sin q is its vertical component and v cos q is
Resultant its horizontal component. In Figure 1.3(b), force F is
13 N the force the sloping ground exerts on a stationary
object resting on it. (This force will be equal and
Figure 1.1  Addition of vectors opposite to the weight of the object.) F can be re-
solved into two components. F sin f is the force along
the slope and is the frictional force that prevents the
Subtracting vectors also makes use of a vector
object sliding down the slope. F cos f
triangle. Note that you can always do subtraction by
is the component at right angles to the slope.
addition. If you want to know how much money you
can spend if you want to keep $20 out of a starting

B
F cos f F
f

A
v
v sin q

F sin f
A + (−B) −B q
v cos q f
(a) (b)

Figure 1.2  Subtraction of vectors Figure 1.3  Resolution of a vector

Chapter Summary

✓✓ Almost all physical quantities require a numerical ✓✓ Some physical quantities have direction. These are
value and a unit. called vectors and can be added using a vector triangle.
✓✓ The units used throughout the book are ✓✓ Quantities without direction are called scalars. These
SI units. are added arithmetically.
Physical Quantities and Units   5

Progress Check

  1.1 Convert   1.7 Using a copy of Figure 1.2, determine the value of
(a) 2.86 kilograms into grams, vector B – vector A.
(b) 0.0543 kilograms into grams,   1.8 A car changes speed from 30 m s−1 to 20 m s−1 while
(c) 48 grams into kilograms, turning a corner and changing direction by 90°. What
(d) 3.8 hours into seconds, is the change in velocity of the car? State the angle of
(e) 6 500 000 seconds into days. the resultant velocity of the car relative to the initial
  1.2 Convert velocity.
(a) 1.00 square metres into square centimetres,   1.9 The Moon moves around the Earth in a circular orbit
(b) 7.38 cubic metres into cubic centimetres, of radius 3.84 × 108 m. Its speed is 1020 m s−1.
(c) 6.58 cubic centimetres into cubic metres, Deduce
(d) a density of 3.45 grams per cubic centimetre into (a) the time taken for a complete orbit of the Earth,
kilograms per cubic metre, (b) the angle the Moon moves through in 1.00 s,
(e) a speed of 110 kilometres per hour into metres (c) the change in velocity of the Moon in 1.00 s.
per second. 1.10 An athlete, just after the start of a race, has a force of
  1.3 Derive the base units for 780 N exerted on her by the ground and acting at an
(a) the joule, the unit of energy angle of 35° to the vertical. What is the weight of the
(b) the pascal, the unit of pressure athlete and what is the force causing her horizontal
(c) the watt, the unit of power. acceleration?
1.11 A kite of weight 4.8 N, shown in Figure 1.4, is being
pulled by a force in the string of 6.3 N acting in a
  1.4 Use base units to show whether or not these
direction of 27° to the vertical.
equations balance in terms of units. (Note: this does

not mean that the equations are correct.) lift
(a) E = mc2
(b) E = mgh
(c) power = force × velocity
(d) p = rgh Force of
wind
  1.5 Estimate the following quantities.
27°
(a) The energy required for you to go upstairs to bed.
(b) The average speed of a winner of a marathon. Weight 6.3 N
(c) The power requirement of a bird in a 4.8 N
migration flight.
(d) The vertical velocity of take-off for a good high Figure 1.4
jumper.
(e) The acceleration of a sports car. (a) Resolve the force in the string into horizontal and
(f ) The density of the human body. vertical components.
(g) The pressure on a submarine at a depth of 1000 m. (b) Assuming that the kite is flying steadily, deduce
  1.6 Explain why these suggested estimates are incorrect. the upward lift on the kite and the horizontal
(a) The power of a hot plate on a cooker is 2 W. force the wind exerts on the kite.
(b) The speed of a sub-atomic particle is 4 × 108 m s−1.
(c) The hot water in a domestic radiator is at a
temperature of 28 °C.
(d) The pressure of the air in a balloon is 15 000 Pa.
(e) The maximum possible acceleration of a racing
car is 9.81 m s−2.
Measurement
Techniques 2
Introduction applying the relationship between the period T of a
simple pendulum, its length l and the acceleration g
Throughout this book reference will be made to
due to gravity.
many experiments that you could carry out yourself.
It will also describe some of the experiments done l
in the past that have had a great influence on our T = 2π
g
understanding of the physical world. In all of these
experiments, there are certain basic techniques
Table 2.1
that need to be used and in this chapter some of
the principles of experimenting will be explained. Length of Number of Total Period g / m s−2
Much of the importance of all experiments depends pendulum / m oscillations time / s T / s
on their reliability. An experiment will always be 0.980 50 99.3 1.986 9.81
unreliable if the experimenter changes results to try
to make the results fit what is expected. This does 0.885 50 94.4 1.888 9.80
not mean that all measured data must be exact, as 0.790 50 89.2 1.784 9.80
this is impossible. The data itself must be found 0.745 40 69.2 1.730 9.83
honestly and an estimate made of its uncertainty.
This chapter will explain the way uncertainties 0.665 40 65.4 1.635 9.82
can be evaluated, but first it will explain methods 0.545 30 44.3 1.477 9.86
for recording readings, for evaluating results from
0.460 30 40.8 1.360 9.82
graphs and with problems associated with obtaining
information from a mixture of both analogue and 0.335 30 34.8 1.160 9.83
digital equipment. 0.245 30 29.8 0.993 9.81

Record taking A few points of detail should be noted.


What should be a golden rule about recording the ●● The average value of g is 9.82 m s−2 with an
results of any experiment is that readings must uncertainty explained later in this chapter.
be written in the form they are taken. In other ●● Keep the number of significant figures constant
words, do not do any arithmetic on readings before in any column unless a figure is lost or gained
writing them down. A simple example is when naturally, as with 0.993 in the fourth column.
measuring the period of oscillation of a simple ll Four significant figures are given in most of
pendulum. If you are able to time 50 oscillations the fourth column in order not to reduce the
then the heading of the first column of your table accuracy given in the third column. 0.993 is
should read ‘length of pendulum’ and the second given to about one part in a thousand. If T
‘number of oscillations’ with 50 as the first entry. were quoted only to three significant figures,
The third column should be headed ‘total time / s’ the first of the period readings, for example,
and the time might be e.g. 86.5 s. Only at the fourth would only be given as 1.99 and be known
column should you include the heading ‘period T / s’. only to one part in 200.
A complete table might look like Table 2.1, after
Measurement Techniques  7

●● Do not drop off final zeroes. In the first column, 4π 2/g and since c is zero the graph will pass through
all the lengths are given to the nearest 5 mm. the origin.
If the first figure was quoted as 0.98, it would The graph is plotted in Figure 2.1.
imply less ­accuracy than the second figure 0.885.
T 2/s2
●● One important part of this experiment is to start
and stop a stopwatch after a complete number 4.0
of ­cycles. The amplitude of swing has made
it ­necessary in this experiment to reduce the
3.5
number of swings when the length is reduced.
●● Whenever swings are being counted, avoid
3.0
counting ‘one’ in your head at the start of the
first swing; ensure you count ‘zero’. If you start
at ‘one’ then all the periods will be too short. 2.5
●● It is preferable for you to time for a larger
number of swings in one count rather than 2.0
to make several repeats of a small number
of swings. Repeating introduces starting and 1.5
stopping errors; a larger number of swings
reduce these errors. 1.0

Graphical work 0.5

Very frequently the best way of analysing results


0
is to make use of a graph. Often an equation can 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 l /m
be rearranged into a form that enables a straight
line graph to be drawn. Graphs can be drawn very Figure 2.1  Graph of T 2 against l
accurately. It is important for you to use a sensible
scale and to mark the points on the graph accurately. When taking the gradient of a straight line graph,
This does mean using the whole range the graph choose two values on major lines as far apart as
paper allows. Do use fractional parts of a small possible. In this case, the obvious values of length
square when putting data on to the graph or when to choose are 0 and 1.
taking readings from the graph. The gradient of the graph is given by
The general equation of a straight line graph is
y = mx + c 4π 2 4.06 − 0
gradient = g = = 4.06
1.00 − 0
where x is the independent variable, y the dependent
variable, m the gradient of the graph and c is the 2
Hence g = 4π = 9.72ms−2
intercept on the y-axis. 4.06
How this graphical technique can be used will be
illustrated by using it for the pendulum experiment  nalogue scales and digital
A
mentioned earlier. Since displays
T = 2π
l
, by squaring both sides we get T 2 =
4π 2
l. A simple metre rule gives an analogue reading
g g while a digital watch gives a digital reading. Do not
assume that a digital reading is more accurate than
This will give a straight line graph provided T 2 is an analogue reading. Most digital readings come
plotted against l. The gradient of this graph will be from analogue readings. A digital thermometer,
8  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

for example, will probably be using a thermistor as its a different meter and if it gives the same reading
source of information. The potential difference (p.d.) there is unlikely to be a serious systematic error.
across the thermistor will be measured; this will be
combined with a calibration curve available from Precision and accuracy
the manufacturer, that gives its resistance at different
temperatures. The value of the p.d. will then be Any readings taken to high precision have low
digitised and finally displayed. random uncertainty. Any readings taken to high
It may seem to you that a reading from a digital accuracy have low systematic uncertainty.
balance of, say, 486 grams, means that the mass This is illustrated in Figure 2.2 where an archery
is exactly 486 grams. This is not the case for three target is marked with the position of arrows fired
reasons. The first is that the original calibration at it.
might not have been done correctly, the second is ●● Figure 2.2(a) shows that the archer is very
that the calibration might have changed as a result skilled, so there is little random uncertainty but
of wear and tear or misuse and the third that any that his equipment has a systematic error in it.
mass between 485.5 and 486.4 would result in the ●● Figure 2.2(b) shows that the archer is
instrument reading 486 grams, if the instrument unskilled, so there is considerable random
reads to just three significant figures. uncertainty but that his equipment has no
systematic error in it. The average position of
his arrows is in the centre of the target.
Experimental uncertainty ●● Figure 2.2(c) shows that the archer is
Experimental uncertainty used to be called unskilled, so there is considerable random
experimental error. However, the change was uncertainty, and that his equipment has a
made because ‘error’ seems to imply that a systematic error in it.
mistake has been made and that is not the issue. ll Figure 2.2(d) shows that an archer has high
All readings have uncertainties. A ruler might precision equipment and great accuracy, so
measure to the nearest millimetre, a clock to the there is minimal random uncertainty and no
nearest second, a thermometer to the nearest systematic error.
degree; so one person using a metre ruler might
record the length as 86.0 cm and another person
measuring the same length might record it as
86.1 cm. This type of variation is called a random
uncertainty. It might come about through the
limitations of the scale on an instrument or
through the way the instrument is used. Checking
measurements will show up the random nature
of readings and taking an average of readings will (a) (b)
minimise the overall uncertainty.
If the instrument itself is faulty or if it is being
used incorrectly, there will be systematic
uncertainty. This might be an error in the
instrument. For example, its zero reading might
be incorrect. Systematic uncertainties or errors
are often much more difficult to detect. There
is no easy way to account for systematic errors
or uncertainties, though one check that can be (c) (d)
made with electrical instruments would be to use
Figure 2.2  Archery target
Measurement Techniques  9

Choice of measuring instrument A Vernier calliper, however, would not be


suitable for measuring the diameter of a wire. For
To say that there is an uncertainty of 1 mm in
measurements such as this a micrometer is needed.
measuring a length is not very helpful by itself. The
This is illustrated in Figure 2.4.
length being measured also needs to be given. For
example, an uncertainty of 1 mm in a distance of Distance
2 km is of very high accuracy, the uncertainty is being Screw thread with
measured pitch of 1 mm
1 part in 2000 000, a fractional uncertainty of only
0.000 000 5 or 0.000 05%, the same uncertainty of 0 5 90
80
1 mm in a metre is a fraction of 0.001 or 0.1%. 70
60
1 mm in 20 mm is a fraction of 0.05 or 5%. 50
A reading that is uncertain to 1 mm when
measuring a wire’s diameter of 0.2 mm is useless. Rotating thimble
This shows that a choice of different instruments
will be necessary for measuring different lengths.
Figure 2.3 shows an instrument called a Vernier Fixed micrometer
frame
calliper. This instrument is useful in measuring
the internal or external diameter of tubes, for Figure 2.4  A micrometer screw gauge
example. It will give a reading to the nearest
0.1 mm or better. A micrometer uses a screw thread and, at its
When the two jaws of the calliper are closed, the simplest, divides up one rotation of the screw
zeroes on both the scales coincide. The jaws are then into 100 divisions. If the pitch of the screw is
opened and the object to be measured is placed 1 mm then each division represents one hundredth
between them as shown. From the diagram it is clear of a millimetre. (The pitch of a screw thread is the
that the object has a diameter of between 1.9 cm and distance the screw moves forward each rotation.)
2.0 cm. However, the size of the scale divisions on the The reading on the micrometer in Figure 2.4 is
sliding or moveable jaw is not quite the same size as 9.74 mm.
those on the fixed jaw. They differ, for this calliper, by Figure 2.5 shows the enlarged reading on a
a tenth of a millimetre. By looking along the Vernier micrometer in which the pitch is only 0.5 mm. This
scale you will see that at 5 divisions along the sliding pitch is very common on micrometers but it does
scale both the main scale and the Vernier scale need careful use. The rotating scale only goes up to
coincide. The distance arrowed, therefore, is 0.5 mm 50 but the main scale shows half millimetres, so you
and the diameter of the object is, therefore, 1.95 cm. need to know whether the reading is under or over
half a millimetre.
Jaw extensions for The reading on this micrometer is 2.5 mm on
measuring inside
diameters
the main scale and 28 divisions on the rotating
of pipes micrometer scale. The full reading is, therefore,
Main scale
2.5 mm + 0.28 mm = 2.78 mm.
0 1 2 3 4

40
0 5 10
35
0 1 2
Vernier scale 30 Micrometer
Fixed
jaw Sliding scale
Main scale 25
jaw
20

Figure 2.3  A Vernier calliper Figure 2.5  Reading on a micrometer


10  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

Calibration curves which of the measurements causes the greatest


uncertainty. The final result of this procedure should
Many measuring devices are checked by the
be expressed in numerical rather than percentage
manufacturer against international standards of
uncertainties, for example as (4.73 ± 0.03) N for a
length, temperature, electric current. Details are
force measurement, rather than (4.73 ± 6%) N.
produced of how any particular instrument’s accuracy
The question that needs answering is “How do you
is dependent on external factors, such as temperature.
find the uncertainty of an experimental result?” The
These details are available from the manufacturer on
answer to the question comes in two stages.
request. The information will often be in the form of a
calibration curve in which the reading obtained under Stage 1  Estimate the uncertainty in each of the
particular conditions, is plotted against a corrected readings you take. The most straightforward way of
value under standard conditions. The shapes of two doing this is to use the smallest division available on
particular calibration curves are shown in Figure 25.1 the instrument you are using. On a clock this will
(the resistance of a light-dependent resistor at different probably be a second, on a stop-watch it might well
levels of illumination) and Figure 25.4 (the resistance be 0.01 s. Unfortunately, this method does tend to
of a thermistor at different temperatures). underestimate uncertainty for the following reasons.
●● All systematic uncertainties will not be
Estimating uncertainties accounted for.
●● It might underestimate some uncertainties
If finding the value of a physical quantity is difficult, badly. A stop-watch might give a reading to
finding the uncertainty in that quantity is even a hundredth of a second but you might have
more difficult. There is almost never any sense pressed the stop button at the wrong ­moment.
in quoting a result as, for example, ●● Poor technique might make readings far less
density = (7.805 ± 0.076) × 103 kg m−3. This reliable than the instrument might otherwise
shows that the uncertainty is much greater than
have given. e.g. If you hold a ruler in your
the final decimal place of the result and that
hand without a firm support, it will not give
density = (7.80 ± 0.08) × 103 kg m−3 would be more
reliable readings.
sensible. The third significant figure is very doubtful
●● An instrument viewed from the wrong
and density = (7.8 ± 0.1) × 103 kg m−3 can be stated
angle will give a parallax error. Keep your
with greater confidence.
eye vertically above a needle on an ammeter
Any reading has uncertainty. As explained above,
so that the scale reading is the one directly
if a measurement of length is made using a ruler,
beneath the needle.
the length obtained will usually be measured to the
●● Any mistaken reading from a scale will
nearest millimetre. If you measure a length as 249 mm
certainly increase uncertainty. The reading on
with an uncertainty of 1 mm at the zero and another
the scale in Figure 2.6 is NOT 2.4 but 2.8.
1 mm at the other end then the reading, together with
its uncertainty is (249 ± 2) mm.
This gives the actual uncertainty as 2 mm, the
fractional uncertainty as 2/249 or 0.0080 and the
2 4
percentage uncertainty as 0.8%. 6

In performing any experiment it is usual to make 0


measurements of several quantities. In order to
find the overall uncertainty of an experiment it is
necessary to know the uncertainty of each quantity Figure 2.6
separately. If these uncertainties are estimated as
percentages then they can be added together to Stage 2  Combine these individual uncertainties to
determine the overall uncertainty of the experiment. find the overall uncertainty.
Percentage uncertainties also make it easy to see Here, examples can show you how to proceed.
Measurement Techniques  11

Example 1 Answer  The maximum possible distance


(Uncertainty in addition of values.) = 260 m s−1 × 18 100 s = 4.71 × 106 m.
An object with momentum (85 ± 2) N s catches up 250 m s−1 × 18 000 s = 4.50 × 106 m so the
with, and sticks to another object with momentum uncertainty is 0.2 × 106 m. The answer should be
(77 ± 3) N s. Find the total momentum of the two written as (4.5 ± 0.2) × 106 m.
objects and its uncertainty after the collision. You can add percentage uncertainties here because
it is a multiplication. The percentage uncertainty in
Answer  (162 ± 5) N s is a straightfor­ward the speed is 4%, the percentage uncertainty in the
­calculation. The maximum value is time is 0.6% and the percentage uncertainty in the
87 + 80 = 167 N s and the minimum is distance is, therefore, 4.6% and 4.6% of 4.5 is 0.2.
83 + 74 = 157 N s. In percentage terms, the
­uncertainties of the initial values are 2.3% and 3.9%, Example 4
­respectively. The ­percentage uncertainty in the ­answer (Uncertainty in values raised to a power.)
is 3.1% so you must not add percentage uncertainties. Determine the value of the kinetic energy, and its
Here you just add values and uncertainties. uncertainty, of a cyclist of mass (63 ± 1) kg when
travelling with speed (12.0 ± 0.5) m s−1.
Example 2
Answer  Here the expression is
(Uncertainty in subtraction of values.) 1 1
A reading on a balance of the mass of an empty kinetic energy = 2 × m × v × v. The 2 has no
beaker is (105 ± 1) g. After some liquid is poured uncertainty. You must not divide your uncertainty
into the beaker, the reading becomes (112 ± 1) g. figure by 2. The percentage uncertainties of the
Deduce the mass of liquid added and its uncertainty. other three terms must be added together. This has
the effect of doubling the uncertainty for v, since it is
Answer  (7 ± 2) g. 113 − 104 = 9 is the maximum squared. A cubic term would involve multiplying its
and 111 − 106 = 5 is the minimum. uncertainty by 3. A square root is a power of a half,
This is not straightforward. It shows that so uncertainty in a square root is halved.
subtracting two nearly equal numbers increases
Percentage uncertainty in m = 1.5%, uncertainty
the uncertainty appreciably. You must subtract
in v = 4% so in v2 is 8%. This gives a total percentage
the values but add the uncertainties. Two readings
uncertainty of 9.5%, round this up to 10%, therefore
with percentage uncertainties about 1% give an
the result is
uncertainty of 29% when subtracted.
Example 3 kinetic energy = (4500 ± 500) J
(Uncertainty in multiplication or division of values.) Note that in quoting the uncertainty only one
These are very common situations. A plane significant figure is used.
travels at a speed of (250 ± 10) m s−1 for a time of
(18 000 ± 100) s. Determine the distance travelled
and its uncertainty.

Chapter Summary

✓✓ When taking experimental readings, always record ✓✓ An instrument with incorrect calibration will result
actual readings as soon as you take them. in a systematic uncertainty.
✓✓ Keep the number of significant figures determined by ✓✓ All readings, even those given by a digital display, will
the instrument you are using. additionally have random uncertainties as a result of
✓✓ Plot graphs on as large a scale as possible but do not the way the readings are taken.
use awkward scales on the axes.
12  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

Progress Check

2.1 An experiment was performed to determine the resistivity r Plot a suitable graph and use the graph to determine
of copper. The resistance R of a length of wire is related to the resistivity of copper. Estimate the uncertainty in
its length l and area of cross-section A by the equation the value you obtain.

ρl 2.2 A cuboid of metal has a measured mass of (4.70 ± 0.2) kg.


R= Its dimensions are: length (50.5 ± 0.2) cm, width
A
(7.60 ± 0.08) cm, depth (5.02 ± 0.02) cm.
The resistance of 1 metre length of copper wire of different
  Deduce (a) the volume of the cuboid, together with
diameters was measured, with the following results: its uncertainty, and (b) the density of the metal of the
Length of wire Diameter of Resistance of cuboid.
l / m wire d / m wire R / ohm 2.3 Explain why the following statements of uncertainty are
1.000 0.559 × 10−3 0.0704 inappropriate. Give a possible correction.
(a) g = 9.81 ± 0.3
1.000 0.315 × 10 −3
0.225
(b) g = 9.810794 ± 0.3
1.000 0.234 × 10 −3
0.402
(c) g = 9.810794 ± 0.34781
1.000 0.152 × 10 −3
0.952 (d) g = 9.8 ± 0.369
1.000 0.122 × 10−3 1.47 (e) g = 9.81 ± 0.39
1.000 0.102 × 10 −3
2.09

Examination Questions I

1. (a) Two of the SI base quantities are mass and time. State three other SI base quantities. [3]

(b) A sphere of radius r is moving at speed v through air of density r. The resistive force F acting on the sphere is given
by the expression
F = Br 2r v k
where B and k are constants without units.
(i) State the SI base units of F, r and v. [3]
(ii) Use base units to determine the value of k. [2]
(Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics 9702
Paper 21 Question 1 October/November 2010)
2. The volume of fuel in the tank of a car is monitored using a meter as illustrated in Figure 1.

FUEL
1/2 3/4
1/4
0 1

Figure 1  Fuel meter


The meter has an analogue scale. The meter reading for different volumes of fuel in the tank is shown in Figure 2.
Measurement Techniques  13

60

50

40

Volume/litre
30

20

10

0
0 1/4 1/2 3/4 1
empty full
Meter reading

Figure 2
The meter is calibrated in terms of the fraction of the tank that remains filled with fuel.
(a) The car uses 1.0 litre of fuel when travelling 14 km. The car starts a journey with a full tank of fuel.
(i) Calculate the volume, in litres, of fuel remaining in the tank after a journey of 210 km. [2]
(ii) Use your answer to (i) and Figure 2 to determine the change in the meter reading during the 210 km journey.  [1]
(b) There is a systematic error in the meter.
(i) State the feature of Figure 2 that indicates that there is a systematic error. [1]
(ii) Suggest why, for this meter, it is an advantage to have this systematic error. [1]
(Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics 9702
Paper 21 Question 1 October/November 2009)
3. Make reasonable estimates of the following quantities.
(a) the frequency, in Hz, of an audible sound wave [1]
(b) the wavelength, in nm, of ultraviolet radiation [1]
(c) the mass, in grams, of a plastic 30 cm ruler [1]
(d) the density of air, in kg m−3 at atmospheric pressure [1]
(Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics 9702
Paper 02 Question 1 May/June 2008)
4. (a) The current in a wire is I. Charge Q passes one point in the wire in time t. State
(i) the relation between I, Q and t, [1]
(ii) which of the quantities I, Q and t are base quantities. [2]
(b) The current in the wire is due to electrons, each with charge q, that move with speed v along the wire. There are n of
these electrons per unit volume. For a wire having a cross-sectional area S, the current I is given by the equation
I = nSqvk,
where k is a constant.
(i) State the units of I, n, S, q and v in terms of the base units. [3]
(ii) By considering the homogeneity of the equation, determine the value of k.  [2]
(Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics 9702
Paper 02 Question 1 October/November 2008)
Kinematics 3
Distance and displacement Speed is defined as the distance travelled per
unit time. It is a scalar quantity.
The distance you travel by a car on a journey, or since
Velocity is defined as displacement per unit time.
the car was bought, is recorded on the instrument
It is a vector and so the direction must be stated.
panel. The distance will be given in miles or
The defining equation for both of these terms is:
kilometres, usually to the nearest tenth of a unit. This
s
recorded distance makes no mention of the direction v=
t
in which any distance travelled has taken place. In SI
units, a distance such as this would be recorded using where v is the speed or velocity,
the standard unit of length, the metre. The metre is s is the distance or displacement, and
defined in a very accurate way, in terms of the speed t is the time interval.
of light, but you need to think of it just as being a Example 1
very accurately defined length, and metre rules
approximate to that accurately defined distance. What is the average speed on a journey of a car in
The term displacement differs from distance in which it travels 620 km in 8 h 25 m?
the sense that it is not only giving a distance but is Answer  Distance (s) = 620 km = 6.2 × 105 m
also stating the direction in which any movement
Time (t) = 8 h 25 min = (8 × 60) + 25 = 505 min
has taken place.
Displacement is a vector quantity while distance 505 min = 505 × 60 = 3.03 × 104 s
is a scalar quantity. ∴ average speed =
When a ball is thrown vertically upwards a s 6.20 × 105 m
distance of 3.0 m, its displacement from its starting = = 20.5ms−1
t 3.03 × 104 s
point, when it reaches the top of its movement, is
3.0 m upwards. By the time it falls back to its point
of throw, its displacement is zero. On the way down Teacher’s Tip
only, its displacement from the top is −3.0 m upwards. Many careless mistakes are made when using
When a ship sails a distance of 3700 km between equations such as v = s/t. Some of these mistakes
Mumbai and Kolkata, its displacement from its can be eliminated if you put units into the
starting point on its arrival in Kolkata will be 1700 km working equation. For example, a train travelling
in a direction N 75° E. This difference arises from the at 136 km h–1 for 6 hours travels a distance of
fact that the ship will have to travel right around the km
south of India, a much greater distance than a straight 136 × 6h = 816km
h
overland distance. It is clear that the unit of time, the hour, cancels
Speed and velocity out from the top and the bottom, leaving the
answer in kilometres. A corresponding answer
As with distance and displacement, one of these for velocity can be worked out in exactly the same
terms, velocity, is a vector and other, speed, is a way, but the answer needs to have a direction
scalar quantity. Therefore, whenever velocity is used included. It could be 609 km due south.
a direction must be given.
Kinematics  15

Acceleration To calculate the object’s speed after 4 s of travel,


the distance travelled in a small interval of time
Acceleration is a vector and is defined as the rate
needs to be taken. This could be from 3.9 s to 4.1 s or
of change of velocity.
even 3.99 s to 4.01 s. Each of these is getting closer to
The average acceleration a of an object is,
the gradient of the graph at a time of 4.0 s.
therefore, given by
The slope (gradient) of a distance–time graph
v −u
a= gives the speed.
t
The slope (gradient) of a displacement–time
where v is the final velocity, u is the starting velocity graph gives the velocity, provided the direction of
and t is the time interval. the change in displacement is given.
The SI unit of acceleration is m s–1 ÷ s or m s–2.
Velocity–time graphs
Graphs for motion
As acceleration is the rate of change of velocity, the
Distance–time graphs
slope (gradient) of a velocity–time graph will be the
A distance–time graph can be used to find the speed acceleration.
of an object. Figure 3.1 shows a distance–time graph Consider an object accelerating uniformly in a
for an object travelling with speed 6.0 m s–1. straight line from a velocity of 8.0 m s–1 to a velocity
of 23.0 m s–1 in a time of 5.0 s. A graph of this motion
30
is shown in Figure 3.3.
25
Distance/m

20 (23)
20

Velocity/m s−1
10
15 B

10
0 (8)
0 1 2 3 4 5
5 A
Time/s
0
Figure 3.1  A distance–time graph 0 1 2 3 4 5
Time/s

After 1 s the object has travelled 6.0 m, after 2 s Figure 3.3
12 m and so on until after 5 s it has travelled 30 m.
The slope of the graph, the acceleration, is given by
The object is travelling at a constant speed.
Figure 3.2 gives another graph where the object acceleration =
increase in velocity
also travels 30 m in 5 s but it has covered a greater time
distance in the last second than it did in the first =
(23.0 − 8.0)ms −1
second. Its speed is not constant. 5.0s
15ms −1
30 = = 3.0ms −2
5.0s
However, this is not the only information that
Distance/m

20
this graph of Figure 3.3 supplies. If the object had
10
remained at a constant velocity of 8.0 m s–1 for all of
the 5.0 s of travel, it would have had a displacement
0
of 8.0 m s–1 × 5.0 s = 40 m. This is shown as area A,
0 1 2 3 4 5 on Figure 3.3. Extending this idea to the accelerated
Time/s motion, the total displacement will be area A plus
Figure 3.2 area B.
16  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

Area A = 40 m 1
s = vt − 2 at2 Equation III
1
Area B = 2 × base × height of the triangle
or the average value of the velocity multiplied by
1 the time, namely
= 2 × 5.0 s × 15 m s–1
u+v
= 37.5 m s= ×t Equation IV
Total displacement = 40 m + 37.5 m 2 
If you look at Equations I to IV, you may notice
= 77.5 m
that Equation I omits s, Equation II omits v,
Derivation of equations of motion for Equation III omits u and Equation IV omits a. All
uniformly accelerated motion in a straight line the equations require t, but this term may not be
given. An equation that does omit t can be obtained
In this section, the symbols used have the following
by some difficult algebra.
meanings:
v2 = u2 + 2as Equation V
s the displacement, The five equations all refer to uniformly
u the velocity at the start of the motion, accelerated motion in a straight line. In other
v the velocity at the end of the motion, words, they do not apply if the acceleration is
t the total time for the acceleration and changing or if the object is going round a corner.
a the acceleration. It is worthwhile for you to be able to quote all of
Directly from the definition of acceleration as the these equations. Two of them are given on the
increase in velocity per unit time, we get, Data and Formulae page of the exam paper.
v −u
a= which can be written as Teacher’s Tip
t 
   at = v − u OR v = u + at Equation I Whenever you use any of these equations always
carefully check the signs. For example, if movement
Figure 3.4 is a velocity–time graph that shows
upwards is positive then movement downwards
these terms as used with uniform acceleration and
is negative.
some connections between them.
v Example 2
at A ball is thrown vertically upwards with a velocity
B
of 28 m s−1 from a point 2.8 m above the ground.
Velocity

u
Calculate
A (a) the maximum height reached, and
0 (b) the time taken before it reaches the ground.
0 t
Time The acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m s–2. Air
Figure 3.4  A velocity–time graph resistance can be neglected.
Area A is ut, Answer  (a) u = 28 m s–1, v = 0, a = g = – 9.8 m s–2
1 1 Note the minus sign; u is taken as positive for
Area B is 2 × t × at = 2 at2
upwards so g must be negative as the acceleration
This gives the total displacement s the area due to gravity is downwards.
beneath the graph Here s is required, so use equation v2 = u2 + 2as to get
1 0 = 282 + (2 × (–9.8) × s)
s = ut + 2 at2 Equation II
This gives 282 = 2 × 9.8 × s
The total area under the graph could equally be 282
given by So, s = = 40 m
19.6
Kinematics  17

(b) The time taken to reach the top can be found force from the air you are passing through. Similarly
using v = u + at an astronaut in the space shuttle has no feeling for
0 = 28 + (–9.8 t) weight. In simulated free fall in a plane, people seem
t = 28/9.8 = 2.86 s to be weightless. This, too, is because we cannot feel
weight.
The time to fall a total distance of 42.8 m can now
1 When you are standing on the Earth you are
be found using s = ut + 2  at2 with all values in the not accelerating because the support force on you,
downward direction provided by contact with the Earth balances your
1 weight. Your weight is the same in both Figure 3.5(a)
42.8 = 0 + 2 × 9.8 × t2
and Figure 3.5(b).
t2 = 2 × 42.8/9.8 = 8.73 The weight of an object is defined as the product
so t = 2.96 of the object’s mass and the acceleration of free fall g.
From the start the total time will be So, if your mass is 68.0 kg and the acceleration of
(2.86 + 2.96) s = 5.82 s free fall is 9.81 m s–2 then your weight is given by,
Part (b) could have been done in one step using Weight = mass × acceleration of free fall
1 = 68.0 × 9.81 = 667 N.
s = ut + 2   at2 and getting
1 Note that weight, being a force, will always
–2.8 = 28t + 2 (−9.8)t2
be measured in newtons. Your weight will vary
But this does involve solving a quadratic equation. slightly from place to place on the Earth because the
What would the negative value of t give? acceleration of free fall varies from place to place on
the Earth’s surface.
Weight
 easurement of the acceleration
M
The weight of any object is the gravitational pull on of free fall, g
the object. Our human body does not have any sense
organs that detect this pull but everybody knows that One way in which g can be measured in the
there is a pull towards the Earth because if we drop laboratory is to release a ball as a timer is started.
something it moves towards the Earth until it hits After falling through a distance s, the timer stops
something. When you stand on the Earth you can feel and records a time t for the fall.
the contact force of the Earth acting upwards on you, 1
Using s = ut + 2  at2, gives
because your body does have a sense of touch. The
forces acting on you when you fall or when you stand 1
s = 0 + 2  gt2
on the ground are shown in Figures 3.5(a) and (b).
and hence g = 2s /t 2
Upward contact One arrangement that will achieve this is shown
forces of the ground
on your feet
in Figure 3.6.
Weight Switch closed before
Weight start so electromagnet holds ball
Earth Earth Off to start
Electromagnet A
(a) (b) Timer

Figure 3.5  Forces acting on you (a) when you fall Steel ball
Off to stop
and (b) when you stand on the ground
S
The forces involved in these diagrams will be
considered in more detail in Chapter 4 but, at present, B

note that when falling in mid-air your weight causes


you to accelerate downwards. At this stage you have
no feeling for your weight, though you might feel a Figure 3.6  Laboratory set-up to measure g
18  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

When switch A is turned off the steel ball starts to The expression terminal velocity is used for this
fall and the timer starts. The ball falls onto switch B situation. For a falling person this happens at a velocity
and when it breaks the circuit the timer stops. of around 50 to 60 m s–1. A parachutist, in contrast,
Some problems with the method are: is slowed down by his parachute and usually hits the
●● t he ball is inclined to stick on the ground when travelling at about 2–3 m s–1. Graphs
electromagnet after switching off, so the showing how the downward acceleration and velocity
current in the electromagnet must be only change with time are given in Figures 3.8(a) and (b).
just large enough to hold the ball, and
●● air resistance increases as the ball falls, 9.8

Acceleration/m s−2
reducing the acceleration.
An improved method, using light gates, is
suggested in Progress Check Question 3.10.
The effect of air resistance 0
0
on a falling body Time/s
(a)
So far in this chapter, air resistance has largely been
ignored. In practice there are situations in real life Terminal
where air resistance is vitally necessary, a parachute Velocity/m s−1 velocity
being the best example. Air resistance on a falling
sphere increases with velocity. It is a force that acts
upwards. This is also true for most other falling
bodies, but area of cross-section also affects the
magnitude of air resistance. Sky divers, for example, 0
0 Time/s
usually spread themselves to give maximum air
(b)
resistance because it increases the time they can be
in free fall before they need to open their parachutes. Figure 3.8
Figure 3.7 shows how air resistance increases as
downward velocity increases. Objects moving under gravity in two
Air resistance increasing dimensions
R=0
Anything moving through the air near the Earth’s
surface is often moving sideways as well as up or
Velocity down. When a golf ball is hit cleanly with a golf club,
increasing W W it will start by moving forwards and upwards and,
W W R=W
W before it hits the ground, by moving forwards and
W
downwards. This is shown in Figure 3.9, where air
W
resistance has again been ignored.
W

Figure 3.7

This causes the resultant downward force on the falling


body to decrease and so there is less acceleration. Horizontal ground
Provided the length of drop is sufficient, air resistance Horizontal velocity constant

increases to become an upward force equal in Vertical velocity changing


magnitude to the body’s weight, at which point the
object has zero acceleration and constant velocity. Figure 3.9  The path of a golf ball when air resistance is
ignored
Kinematics  19

In this idealised case, once the ball has lost Vertical


Initial velocity
64 m s−1
contact with the club there will be zero horizontal component
of initial
force on the ball. Its horizontal velocity, therefore, velocity 37°
remains constant. This is shown by black arrows of Horizontal
constant length. Vertically, however, the weight of component of
the ball will cause a downward acceleration of g. Its initial velocity

vertical velocity, therefore, falls at a constant rate Figure 3.10


of 9.81 m s−2 to 0 at the top of the flight and then
increases at the same rate bringing the ball back to Horizontal component = 64 cos 37° = 51.1 m s−1
the ground. Vertical component = 64 sin 37° = 38.5 m s−1
The following example shows how to calculate the (a) Use v2 = u2 + 2as for the vertical motion only,
range of a golf ball in the absence of air resistance. so v = 0 at the top of the flight. This gives
Air resistance will decrease the range of the ball and
the maximum height it reaches. 0 = (38.5)2 − 2 × 9.81 × s
where s is the vertical rise.
Example 3 Therefore 2 × 9.81 × s = 38.52 and s = 75.5 m.
A golfer strikes a ball so that the ball has a velocity (b) The time for this vertical rise can be obtained
of 64 m s−1 at an angle of 37° to the horizontal. In 1
from s = vt − 2 at2
the absence of air resistance, calculate for horizontal 1
75.5 = 0 − 2 × (−9.81) × t2 and
ground,
so t2 = 2 × 75.5/9.81 = 15.4 and t = 3.93 s
(a) the maximum height reached, (c) Since both halves of this path are symmetrical,
(b) the time taken to reach maximum height, and the time taken to return to the ground will also
(c) the distance the ball travels horizontally before be 3.93 s. The total time is, therefore, 7.86 s. At
hitting the ground for the first time. a constant horizontal velocity of 51.1 m s−1, the
Answer  Start by finding the horizontal and ball will travel a total horizontal distance of
vertical components of the initial velocity, using m
51.1 s × 7.86s = 400m (to 2 significant figures).
Figure 3.10.

Chapter Summary

✓✓ Speed is a scalar and is distance travelled per unit ✓✓ The gradient of a distance–time graph gives the speed
time. (or velocity).
✓✓ Velocity is a vector and is speed in a stated direction. ✓✓ The gradient of a velocity–time graph gives the
✓✓ Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. It is a acceleration.
vector. ✓✓ The area beneath a velocity–time graph gives the
✓✓ Equations of motion for uniform acceleration: distance.
1. vv = ✓✓ The pull of gravity on an object is its weight.
1. =uu++ at
at
1 2 ✓✓ For motion in two dimensions, horizontal velocity
2. ss =
2. = ut
ut + 1 at
+ at 2 is usually considered to be constant; vertical velocity
22 will have acceleration due to gravity downwards.
3. ss = 11 22
3. vt −
= vt − 2 at at These two velocities can be considered separately.
2
4. ss = u+
u + vv t
4. = 2 × ×t
2
5. vv 22 =
5. =u
2
u2 ++ 22asas

20  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

Progress Check

3.1 A car travels a distance of 720 km in moving 480 km stopped. Two minutes must be allowed for the train to
south and 370 km west as shown in Figure 3.11. What is be stationary. Consider a train travelling at 60 m s−1
the displacement of the car from its starting point after before braking with a deceleration of 2.0 m s−2.
completing the journey? (Deceleration is negative acceleration.) After stopping it
Starting can accelerate at a rate of 1.2 m s−2. Calculate
point (a) the time taken for the train to stop,
(b) the time taken for the train to accelerate back to
Route distance top speed,
720 km 480 km (c) the distances the train takes to stop and to speed up,
(d) the delay time of the train as a result of stopping at
the station.
Finishing
point 3.9 A motorist travelling at 25 m s−1 is 40 m behind another
370 km
motorist also travelling at 25 m s−1. The first motorist
Figure 3.11 accelerates in 6.0 s to 30 m s−1 and maintains this speed
3.2 A plane travels 2000 km east and 150 km south on a flight. difference until he is 50 m in front of the other motorist,
What is the displacement of the plane from its starting who keeps to his original speed. Deduce
point at the end of the journey? (a) the total time this takes,
(b) the distance the overtaking motorist has travelled.
3.3 When travelling in a straight line, a train increases its
velocity from 3 m s−1 to 50 m s−1 in a time of 107 s. What is 3.10 A steel ball bearing is dropped from above gate 1 and is
its average acceleration during this time? timed as it passes through the three light gates shown in
Figure 3.12.
3.4 In an X-ray tube an electron has acceleration of
8.4 × 1016 m s−2 from rest to a velocity of 3.8 × 107 m s−1.
How long does the acceleration take? Gate 1 Lamp 1

3.5 What is the minimum time it will take for a racing


car to increase its speed from 28 m s−1 to 75 m s−1 if the 53 cm
Gate 2 Lamp 2
maximum grip between the car and the racetrack enables
a maximum acceleration of 17 m s−2 ?
53 cm
3.6 In a sprint, an athlete maintains a constant acceleration of Gate 3 Lamp 3
7.8 m s−2 for the first 1.5 s of the race. Calculate:
(a) the velocity of the athlete after 1.5 s,
Path of ball between
(b) the displacement of the athlete after the 1.5 s. three light gates
3.7 In an old castle there is a well that is so deep that when a
Figure 3.12
bucketful of water is dropped down the well it takes 4.0 s
before the dropped water hits the water in the well. The The separation between each pair of light gates is 53.0 cm.
acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m s−2. The time interval between gates 1 and 2 is 0.197 46 s and
Estimate:
between gates 2 and 3 is 0.124 34 s.
(a) the speed of the dropped water when it hits the 1
water in the well, (a)  Write equations using s = ut +   at2 for
2
(b) the depth of the well.  (i)  the time between gates 1 and 2,
Explain two factors that make your answers unreliable. (ii)  the total time between gates 1 and 3.
3.8 A railway company is asked to allow a high-speed train (b)  Eliminate u, the speed of the ball at gate 1 and
to make a stop at a station where it had previously not solve the equation to find g.
Dynamics 4
Introduction Newton’s second law
You need some background knowledge about The rate of change of momentum of a body is
motion to understand dynamics. In the proportional to the resultant force acting on it.
seventeenth century Sir Isaac Newton transformed More detail about momentum will be given
ideas about motion. He stated three laws of shortly. Here it refers to the product of the mass and
motion that are now known as Newton’s laws of velocity of an object. It is a vector quantity.
motion. The most important difference between Newton’s first law is actually the special case of the
pre-Newton ideas and his own ideas was that second law when the resultant force is zero. In that
Newton realised that increased force resulted in case there will be no rate of change of momentum,
increased acceleration and that zero force resulted so there will be a constant velocity.
in zero acceleration. Previously zero force was Newton’s third law
assumed to be the condition for zero velocity.
In its traditional wording, it is:
It may appear obvious that force is required for
If body A exerts a force on body B then body B
motion but it is not so. The Earth, for example,
exerts an equal and opposite force on body A.
is travelling at about 30 kilometres per second in
A different version of this law will be given in a
its orbit around the Sun. Nothing is pushing it to
Teacher’s Tip on page 24.
keep it at this speed and it has been travelling with
a speed like this for the last 4 500 000 000 years.
Similarly an artificial space probe, far out in space Mass
might be travelling with constant velocity of Whereas weight is a force and is, therefore,
5 km s−1 for years. It only requires its rocket motor measured in newtons, mass is not a force. Mass is
to be switched on when it is required to change its a measure of how difficult it is to accelerate a body.
velocity. It is often referred to as the inertia of a body or its
reluctance to accelerate. Mass is measured in the
Teacher’s Tip familiar unit, the kilogram.
Zero resultant force implies constant velocity and If an object has a mass of 100 kg, it will be 100
zero acceleration. A resultant force will cause an times more difficult to accelerate it than the standard
acceleration in the direction of the resultant force. 1 kilogram mass. Another way of looking at this
is that if a force can give the standard kilogram a
certain acceleration, then the same force on a 100 kg
Newton’s laws of motion
mass will cause one hundredth of this acceleration.
The formal statements of the laws are as follows. One important point about an object’s mass is that
it is constant throughout the Universe. The weight
Newton’s first law of a 5.000 kilogram mass on Earth may vary from
Every object continues in its state of rest or state 49.15 N at the North Pole to a lower force of 48.90 N
of uniform motion in a straight line unless acted at the equator. On the Moon the weight would be
upon by a resultant external force. about 8.0 N only. It would be very easy to lift the mass
22  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

on the Moon but if you kicked it, that is, accelerated change in momentum
it, the feel of it on your toes would be exactly the same This gives  F = k × change in time
 Equation I
as if you kicked it on the Earth. In all these situations, where k is a constant.
the mass remains the same at 5.000 kg. dp
It is confusing that in everyday life, weights are For those of you studying calculus this is F = k .
dt
given in kilograms. Postal services in many countries, For a constant mass this becomes
for example, charge for parcels according to weight—
m × change in v
and then give weights in kilograms. For your physics F=k×
change in t
course it is best to remember the difference between
mass and weight as shown in the Teacher’s Tip. Since change in v/change in t is the acceleration
we get
Teacher’s Tip F = kma Equation II
●● The mass of an object is always measured in
You may be familiar with this equation, apart
kilograms.
from the k term in it. Making k equal to 1 comes
●● The gravitational force pulling an object
about from the definition of the unit of force, the
towards the Earth, its weight, is always
newton.
measured in newtons.
A force of 1 newton (N) is the force that causes
If your own mass is 70 kg, your weight is a mass of 1 kilogram to have an acceleration of
70 kg × 9.81 m s−2 = 687 N. 1 m s-2.
Note that the unit for g, the acceleration of free fall So, 1 N = k × 1 kg × 1 m s−2
due to gravity, is not only m s−2 but since acceleration
can be calculated from force divided by mass, the unit This makes k = 1 so long as the units used are
of acceleration can also be written as newtons, kilograms and metres second−2. It also
N means that force in newtons can be defined as being
. equal to the rate of change of momentum.
kg
With k = 1, equation II becomes the familiar,
Therefore, 9.81 m s−2 is 9.81 newtons per kilogram,
F = m × a.
and when written this way it is referred to as the
In this equation F and a are vectors and m is a
Earth’s gravitational field strength. Gravitational field
scalar. This means that F and a must always be in the
strength is defined as the force per unit mass acting
same direction. A resultant force on an object will
due to gravity.
accelerate the object only in the direction that the
Linear momentum force is acting. This reinforces the comment made
in Chapter 3 about a ball travelling through the air
Momentum was stated earlier to be the product of a (see Figure 3.9). In Figure 4.1 the ball is following a
body’s mass m and velocity v. The symbol normally curved path.
used for momentum is p, so
p=m×v Path of ball
(There is another momentum called angular
momentum. It involves rotation and is not included Acceleration
Velocity
in this physics course. Therefore, whenever you see
Pull of Earth
the word momentum in this course you can assume
it is linear momentum for an object travelling in a Ground
straight line.)
Figure 4.1
Newton’s second law states that the rate of change
of momentum of an object is proportional to the
resultant force acting on the object.
Dynamics  23

The velocity of the ball is at a tangent to the curve, The gravitational force of the Earth on the apple
but the force acting on the ball is the gravitational downwards equals the gravitational force of the
attraction of the Earth pulling vertically downwards, apple on the Earth upwards.
so the acceleration must also be vertically downwards. The forces
Equation I gives a more meaningful SI unit for
●● are equal in magnitude,
momentum than the artificial kg m s−1. Rearranging
●● are opposite in direction,
the equation gives
●● are both gravitational
change in momentum = force × time ●● and act on different objects.
and, therefore, an SI unit of momentum is the The downward force on the small mass of the
newton second, N s. apple causes its acceleration, the force of the same
magnitude acting upwards on the vast mass of the
Newton’s third law Earth has virtually no effect on the Earth’s movement.
This law effectively states that forces always come in Now consider the situation at the instant the apple
pairs. A’s push on B is always accompanied by B’s push hits the ground. Figures 4.3(a) and (b) show so-called
on A, and that these two forces are equal in magnitude free-body diagrams for both the Earth and the apple.
and opposite in direction. The two forces are also always The apple is touching the Earth but the diagrams get
of the same type and never act on the same object. confused with one another if they are shown touching.
For example, when a tennis racket hits a tennis
Contact force Ground
ball, the contact force of the racket on the ball equals of ground on
the contact force of the ball on the racket. apple 15 N
This does not mean that they somehow cancel one
another out.
If the contact force on the ball is 60 N forwards
then it accelerates forwards at a rate dependent on
its mass. The contact force on the racket is 60 N Gravitational Contact force Gravitational
of apple on pull of apple
backwards and it will decelerate at a rate depending pull of Earth
ground 15 N on Earth 2 N
on apple 2 N
on its mass, and any other forces acting on it. (a) (b)
Now consider an apple falling from a tree. (This
is an appropriate example because Newton, by Figure 4.3 
common agreement, is assumed to have written his The gravitational forces are exactly the same as
laws after thinking about a falling apple!) Figure 4.2 has just been discussed. They are now taken to be
shows the Earth and the apple. 2 N in magnitude. The difference is that now there
is an upward contact force of the ground on the
Apple
apple, taken as 15 N, and consequently a downward
Force Earth exerts contact force of 15 N of the apple on the ground.
Force apple on apple The apple is decelerated by a resultant upward force
exerts on
Earth of 13 N. The Earth is almost unaffected by the 15 N
Equator
downward contact force on it.
Once the apple has stopped, the free-body force
diagrams are shown in Figures 4.4(a) and (b).
Earth These diagrams are very similar to those in
Figures 4.3(a) and (b). The only difference is that the
15 N forces have dropped in magnitude down to 2 N.
Figure 4.2  As an apple falls the force the Earth exerts on
The resultant force on the apple is zero and so at rest
it is equal and opposite to the force the apple exerts on the on the ground it has zero acceleration.
Earth. (The figure is not drawn to scale!)
24  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

shape, any mass, any velocity, any strength and any


Contact force Gravitational
of ground on pull of Earth
stickiness. After the collision, the two blocks may stick
apple 2 N on apple 2 N together, may bounce off one another or may break up
into thousands of bits. To simplify things the following
(a)
analysis assumes that the blocks hit one another head
on but the analysis is equally true if done for two or
Contact force
of apple on three dimensions rather than one. Figure 4.5 shows
ground 2 N the arrangement with A, of mass M, moving in one
direction with velocity U. It also shows B, of mass m,
Gravitational moving in the opposite direction with velocity u.
pull of apple
on Earth 2 N
U u
(b) A B

Figure 4.4  mass m

In studying this topic it is important to note that mass M

contact forces can vary; the gravitational attraction Figure 4.5


does not, for a given object in a given place. When
walking, for example, you vary the contact force On hitting B, A will exert a force on it which
between your shoes and the ground in a complicated might vary with time as shown in Figure 4.6(a).
way. There are only a few special moments when the
magnitude of the contact force happens to be equal
to the magnitude of your weight.
Force A exerts on B

Teacher’s Tip
0
Learn Newton’s third law in a longer, but more Time
precise form.
If body A exerts a force on body B then
body B exerts a force on body A that is equal in
magnitude, opposite in direction, and the two
forces are of the same type. (a)

So, it is incorrect to apply Newton’s third law


to two forces acting on the same body that might
happen to be equal and opposite to one another even
Force B exerts on A

though they are different types of force. Newton’s


0
third law says nothing about a gravitational force Time
being equal and opposite to a contact force. The two
different forces may be equal and opposite, but this is
not related to Newton’s third law.

Conservation of momentum (b)

The deduction of the principle from Figure 4.6 


Newton’s third law The area beneath this graph is a product of the
Consider a collision between two blocks of matter average force exerted F and the time t. F × t is the
far out in space. The blocks can be of any size, any change in momentum of B.
Dynamics  25

Newton’s third law states that if body A exerts a velocity v and velocities u and U and get masses m
force on body B, then body B exerts an equal and and M the wrong way round. A typical sketch is
opposite force on body A. The force that B exerts given in Figure 4.7.
on A is, therefore, shown in Figure 4.6(b). The Zero velocity
u
two graphs must be exactly mirror images of one
another. The area beneath the top graph shows the Before collision Car Car
950 kg
gain in the momentum of B. The area beneath the 1200 kg

bottom graph shows that all the momentum gained


by B is exactly matched by the momentum lost by A.
It is a loss of momentum of A because the force on A After collision 1200 kg 950 kg
7.3 m s−1
is in the opposite direction to its motion. The force
on A slows A down. Figure 4.7
Gain of momentum of B = loss of momentum of A.
The total momentum of the two bodies is
Using the principle of conservation of momentum
unchanged.
Total momentum total momentum
This is a fundamental principle of physics that has =
before collision after collision
never been known to have been broken. It is called
(1200 × u) = (1200 + 950) × 7.3
the principle of conservation of linear momentum.
Therefore, u = (2150 × 7.3)/1200 = 13.1 m s−1.
One interesting point about this collision is that
The use of the principle of conservation although momentum is conserved in the collision,
of momentum kinetic energy is not conserved. This must be the
A formal statement of the principle of conservation case, since even if no other energy is lost there will
of linear momentum is as follows. be a lot of sound energy produced in the crash.
In any collision between bodies the total You are probably familiar with kinetic energy being
momentum remains constant provided that there 1
2
 mv2. This will be considered in more detail later
is no resultant external force acting.
but here,
The principle holds however many systems
Kinetic energy of 1200 kg car before the collision
are involved but, for example, when a collision 1
takes place between two cars, not only are the cars = 2 × 1200 × 13.12 = 103 kJ
involved but the ground has forces exerted on it as  inetic energy of both cars after the collision
K
well and so does the air surrounding the collision 1
as air resistance might be involved. The following = 2 × (1200 + 950) × 7.32 = 57 kJ
example shows how this difficulty can be minimised So, 46 kJ has been lost in heating the road and the
and how the principle of conservation of momentum cars and in producing sound energy.
can be used.
Elastic and inelastic collisions
Example 1
A car of mass 950 kg is at rest and a car of mass A collision such as the one detailed in the example
1200 kg travelling at an unknown velocity u hits above is known as an inelastic collision because
it from behind. From skid markings on the road kinetic energy has been lost. In an elastic collision
an investigator deduces that the speed of both there is no loss of kinetic energy. A special situation
vehicles immediately after the collision was 7.3 m s−1. arises with an elastic collision.
Calculate the value of u. Consider the following elastic collision in a
straight line between body A of mass m and velocity
Answer  It is always worthwhile with these u with body B of mass M and velocity U as shown
problems to sketch a diagram on which known in Figure 4.8. The velocities after the collision are
details can be added. It is all too easy to confuse v and V.
26  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

A
B For elastic collisions only, the velocity of approach
Before collision m
u
M
U equals the velocity of separation.

Example 2
V
After collision m
v
M On a linear air track, a mass of 120 g is travelling
to the right with a velocity of 83 cm s−1. It collides
Figure 4.8 elastically with a mass of 200 g travelling with
velocity 47 cm s−1 in the opposite direction, as shown
Equating total momentum before the collision
in Figure 4.9.
with momentum after gives
mu + MU = mv + MV 83 cm s−1 47 cm s−1
= 0.83 m s−1 = 0.47 m s−1
The corresponding equation for kinetic energy
will be
1 1 1 1
2
 mu2 + 2  MU 2 = 2  mv2 + 2  MV 2
A B
120 g 200 g
To simplify these two equations is not as easy as = 0.12 kg = 0.20 kg

it might seem. It can be made easier by putting all After


Velocity U Velocity V
the terms with an m in them on the left-hand side of
Figure 4.9
the equations and all the terms with M in them on
1 With what velocity do the masses travel after the
the right. The 2 may be cancelled from the kinetic
collision?
energy equation giving
mu − mv = MV − MU  or  efore collision total momentum to right
Answer  B
= (0.12 × 0.83) − (0.20 × 0.47)
m(u − v) = M(V − U) and Equation I
   After the collision total momentum to
mu2 − mv2 = MV 2 − MU 2  or right = (0.12 × U ) + (0.20 × V )
m(u2 − v2) = M(V 2 − U 2) Equation II
 ese two terms are equal by the principle of
Th
Now divide the Equation II by Equation I to get conservation of energy, so
m(u 2 − v 2 ) M (V 2 − U 2 ) (0.0996 − 0.0940) = 0.0056 = 0.12U + 0.20V
=
m(u − v ) M (V − U )
Sometimes it is worthwhile multiplying both sides
Both m and M cancel out and both top lines are of an equation by a large number to get rid of all the
differences of two squares so zeroes. Multiplying through by 100 gives
(u + v )(u − v ) (U + V )(U − V )
= (9.96 − 9.40) = 0.56 = 12U + 20V
(u − v ) (U − V )
Neither U nor V can be obtained from this equation
giving but using the fact that the velocity of approach
(u + v ) = (U + V ) equals the velocity of separation gives
or (u − U ) = (V − v ) (0.83 + 0.47) = V − U
The term on the left is the relative velocity of By substituting into the first equation we get
approach, i.e. how fast mass m is catching up mass
M. The term on the right is the relative velocity of 12U + 20(1.30 + U ) = 0.56
separation, i.e. how fast M is moving away from 12U + 26 + 20U = 0.56 so 32U = −25.44 and
mass m. U = −0.795 m s−1 = −80 cm s−1 to 2 sig figs. and
V = 0.505 m s−1 = 51 cm s−1 to 2 sig figs.
Dynamics  27

Chapter Summary

✓✓ Newton’s first law. Every object continues in its state ✓✓ Weight is the force of gravitational attraction acting
of rest or state of uniform motion in a straight line on a body. It is measured in newtons.
unless acted upon by a resultant external force. ✓✓ Momentum is the product of an object’s mass and
✓✓ Newton’s second law. The rate of change of velocity. It is measured in N s. To determine the time
momentum of a body is proportional to the resultant t an object takes to stop when a force F is applied, use
force acting on it. its momentum in the equation mv = Ft.
✓✓ Newton’s third law. If body A exerts a force on body ✓✓ The principle of conservation of momentum states
B then body B exerts an equal and opposite force on that in all collisions the total momentum is constant
body A. provided that there is no resultant external force
✓✓ Mass is a measure of how difficult it is to accelerate a acting.
body. It is measured in kilograms.

Progress Check

4.1 (a) Calculate the weight of a new-born baby of mass 4.4 Draw free-body force diagrams for
3.72 kg. (a) a person standing on level ground and a case held
(b) Calculate the mass and the weight on the Earth of in their hand,
a satellite that has a weight on the Moon of 1130 N. (b) a person driving a car and the car accelerating in a
The gravitational field of the Moon at its surface is straight line,
1.62 N kg−1. (c) a car and a caravan, with the car accelerating.
4.2 For each of the following situations, which quantity, mass 4.5 A cannonball has mass 25 kg and it is fired horizontally
or weight, is mainly involved? Give reasons for your with velocity 75 m s−1 from a cannon of mass 320 kg.
answers. Calculate the initial velocity of recoil of the cannon.
(a) Buying a loaf of bread
(b) Lifting a group of people in a lift 4.6 A head-on elastic collision takes place between a
(c) Starting a Grand Prix racing car in a race stationary nucleus of uranium, mass 235 u, and a neutron,
(d) Posting a parcel mass 1.00 u. The neutron was travelling with velocity
(e) Hitting a wall in an accident in a car 4.70 × 106 m s−1. Calculate the speed of the two particles
(f) Checking the load in a helicopter after the collision.
(g) Rock climbing
[Note: Provided all the mass units are the same in the
4.3 In using the equation F = kma, what value will k have conservation of momentum equation, there is no need
if the mass is measured in grams, the acceleration is to convert masses in u to masses in kilograms because
measured in cm s−2 and F is to be found and measured the conversion factor would cancel out throughout your
in newtons? equation.]
Forces, Density and
Pressure 5
Types of force The definitions for gravitational field and electric
field are directly comparable. The definition for
A force is often described as a push or a pull, but if
magnetic field is more complicated, particularly
we want to know more about this term, then first we
concerning direction.
have to learn how a force can be produced.
These three causes of force appear to omit
Outside of the nucleus of an atom, there are three
ordinary forces between touching objects like
ways in which a force can be generated. It can be
knocks, hits, pushes, tensions, etc. This is because all
generated:
of these forces are actually electrical forces. It is the
●● on a mass in a gravitational field, electrical force that holds all solid objects together.
●● on a charge in an electric field, and All atoms contain charged particles and solid objects
●● on an electric current in a magnetic field. remain solid because of the attractive force between
these particles. All forces of contact are, in fact,
The first of these three has been mentioned
electrical forces, even though you do not regard
in Chapter 4. A mass m in a gravitational field g
touching a table as having an electric shock.
experiences a force mg. For example, in the Earth’s
gravitational field of 9.81 N kg −1 a 20.0 kg mass will Forces in fluids
experience a force of 20.0 kg × 9.81 N kg −1 = 196.2 N
in the direction of the field. Swimming is possible because the water you swim
The other two types of force will be considered in provides an upward force on you. This becomes
in more detail later in the book but, for the sake of very clear when you snorkel on the surface of deep
completeness they are given here and described in water. When you look down to the bottom of the
outline. sea, provided the water is clear and perhaps the Sun
A charge q in an electric field E experiences a force is shining, it almost looks as if you are in danger of
qE. For example, a charge of 3.6 microcoulombs (µC) falling from a great height, but you know that the
in an electric field of 23 000 N C −1 experiences a force water is holding you up. The support force acting on
given by you is a contact force from the water and is called an
upthrust. Upthrust is the force that allows all boats
F = qE = 3.6 × 10 −6 C × 23 000 N C −1 = 0.083 N in
to float. A boat in equilibrium will have an upthrust
the direction of the field.
on it that is equal and opposite to its total weight. If
A current I flowing through a wire of length l it rises a little, then the weight will be greater than
when placed at right angles to a magnetic field of flux the upthrust and if it falls a little, then the upthrust
density B will experience a force F given by F = BIl. will be greater than the weight. So, when out of
For example, a current of 6.2 A flowing through equilibrium, the resultant force will tend to push it
a 3.0 cm length of wire, when placed at right angles back into equilibrium.
to a magnetic field of flux density 0.026 tesla (T) will The origin of upthrust is due to the increase in
experience a force F given by pressure in a liquid with depth. More detail will
F = BIl = 0.026 T × 6.2 A × 0.030 m = 0.0048 N be given about pressure later in the chapter but its
This force will be at right angles to both the definition is that pressure is force per unit area. Be
current and the magnetic field. careful with the use of the word pressure because
Forces, Density and Pressure   29

in everyday speech people often use the term through a fluid, the terms viscous force or drag are
‘pressure’ when they should have correctly used used. Fluid means ‘something that can flow’ and so
‘force’. Pressure is correctly measured in the unit a fluid substance is a liquid or a gas. In air, the term
newtons per square metre unit or the pascal. air resistance is frequently used and fluid friction is
1 N m−2 is a pressure of 1 pascal, 1 Pa. another term used generally for viscous forces.
Generally the magnitude of viscous force
Atmospheric pressure is about 100 000 Pa. increases with speed but only under special non-
Meteorologists (scientists who study the weather turbulent conditions is viscous force proportional
and climate) use the unit 1 bar for 100 000 Pa and to speed. Friction between solids is usually
often measure atmospheric pressure as, say, independent of speed once the object is moving.
998 mbar (= 0.998 bar). You must have noticed that it is easier to keep
A cube submerged in a liquid will have forces something moving than it is to get it moving in the
acting on it due to the pressure of the liquid. This is first place. This is because the frictional force on a
shown in Figure 5.1. stationary object is greater than that on the same
object when it is moving.
Friction is frequently considered to be a nuisance.
However, friction is an absolutely essential force for
almost everything. Life, as we know it, would not
exist without friction. All clothing is held together
by friction. All houses require friction to remain
standing. Nails, screws, nuts and bolts all hold
together because of friction. Cars not only require
tyres to grip a road using friction, they are held
together by friction. Even mountains would not
Figure 5.1  Forces acting on a solid exist if there was no such force as friction.
submerged in a liquid
Centre of gravity
The sideways forces cancel out; the upward forces
are greater than the downward forces, so there is a Any large object may be made up of many parts and
resultant of all these forces in an upward direction. each part made of innumerable numbers of molecules.
This resultant is the upthrust. It is almost impossible to make any calculation about
the overall acceleration of the object by considering
Resistive forces each molecule separately. This problem is overcome by
When there is movement of an object across a using the concept of the centre of gravity of an object.
surface, there is usually a force on the object that The centre of gravity of an object is defined as
is in the opposite direction to its motion. The force the single point where the weight of the object
on the object is called friction when the object is may be considered to act. For most regular objects,
moving across a solid. When the object is moving the centre of gravity (c of g) of the object is at its
geometrical centre, as shown in Figure 5.2.

C of G C of G
C of G

C of G

Sphere Cylinder Cube Uniform bar

Figure 5.2  For regular objects, centre of gravity is the geometrical centre
30  Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Revision Guide

Steel head of
sledge hammer

C of G

C of G
Wooden handle
C of G

Ring L-shaped bar

Figure 5.3  For some objects, centre of gravity lies outside of the object

For some objects the centre of gravity may be Here, in Figure 5.4(a) a beam is pivoted at X with
difficult to find or may even be outside of the body a 200 N force applied to it at a distance of 1.4 m from
altogether, as shown in Figure 5.3. its axis of rotation. The clockwise moment of the
Note that the weight of an object does not act at the force is 200 N × 1.4 m = 280 N m.
centre of gravity. It acts on all the molecules that make When the force is not at right angles to the beam, in
up the object. It is just that for the sake of calculations, Figure 5.4(b) it is the perpendicular distance from the
the same answer is obtained by assuming that the line of action of the force to the pivot that is needed.
whole weight does act at the centre of gravity. With an angle of 25° the clockwise moment
becomes
Turning forces 200 N × 1.4 × cos 25° = 254 N m.
So far with the study of Newton’s laws of motion, it A couple is a pair of equal forces that tend to
has been stated that a resultant force will cause an produce rotation only. They will, therefore, not
acceleration of a body. This is true, but a force may produce any linear acceleration. See Figure 5.5.
also cause rotation of the body. 20 N
There is a series of terms associated with turning
forces. These are now defined with the warning that
they need to be used with care.
The moment of a force is the product of the 16 cm
force and its perpendicular distance from the axis of
rotation. This is illustrated in Figures 5.4(a) and (b).

1.4 m
X 20 N

Figure 5.5

200 N
The torque of a couple is equal to one of the forces
(a) multiplied by the perpendicular distance between them.
For Figure 5.5 the torque is 20 N × 0.16 m = 3.2 N m.

1.4
m Equilibrium
A body is said to be in equilibrium when there is
X 25° 200 N no resultant force or resultant torque acting on the
body. Note that this does not mean that the body is
not moving. When you are travelling at 800 kilometres
(b)
per hour in a comfortable airline seat during a smooth
Figure 5.4 flight, you are in equilibrium. This is because you are

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