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Physics Notes

8.4: Moving About

8.4.1: Vehicles do not typically travel at a constant speed Identify that a typical journey involves speed changes
Typical journeys involve various speed changes e.g.:
o Acceleration/Deceleration
o Coming to rest/Moving from rest
Furthermore, most typical journeys begin at a speed of zero, meaning
speed must change for the journey to take place Distinguish between instantaneous speed and average speed of

vehicles and other bodies
Instantaneous speed exact speed of a vehicle/body at a particular
instant of time
Average speed/velocity indicated by the change in total
distance/displacement divided by the time taken during a given

v avg =
t Distinguish between scalar and vector quantities in equations

Scalar quantities only magnitude is specified
Vector quantities both magnitude AND direction must be specified
In equations whether the values are scalar/vector must be taken into
E.g. If a question asks for the velocity of a moving body, DIRECTION as
well as magnitude must be given

Scalar Vector
Area Force
Age Velocity
Volume Displacement
Height Acceleration
Speed Momentum
Distance Drag Compare instantaneous and average speed with instantaneous

and average velocity
Instantaneous speed vs. Instantaneous velocity
o Instantaneous speed is a scalar quantity, instantaneous velocity a
vector quantity (has direction)
o Both provide a value at an exact point in time
Average speed vs. Average velocity
o Average speed is a scalar quantity, average velocity a vector
quantity (has direction, again)
o Average speed is calculated using all the values in the journey,
average velocity is only start to finish Define average velocity as:

v av =
Average velocity is equal to the change in displacement divided by the
change in time
Calculated by using starting and ending positions and time taken

8.4.2: An analysis of the external forces on vehicles helps to

understand the effects of acceleration and deceleration Describe the motion of one body relative to another
The motion of a body can be described in different perspectives
E.g. Car A moving at 40km/hr East would be moving at 40km/hr East to a
stationary observer. However, another car B moving at 40km/hr West would
perceive this car to be moving faster.
Exactly how fast does car A appear to be travelling relative to B?
i. e V A / B =40 km/hr East40 km/hr West

40 km/hr East + 40 km/hr East

= 80 km/ hr East

Thus, the velocity of object A relative to object B is given by the equation:

V A / B=V A V B Identify the usefulness of using vector diagrams to assist solving

Vector diagrams can give a general idea of the overall displacement of a
body in many motion questions
Vector diagrams are used to add vectors (Head to Tail), to find a resultant
This can be used to find average velocity, total displacement, etc.
o (Change in velocity = final velocity initial velocity) Explain the need for a net external force to act in order to change
the velocity of an object
Newtons First Law of Motion (An object will remain at rest or moving at
constant velocity unless acted upon an external unbalanced force)
Thus, according to this law the velocity of an object can only change when
there is a net external force applied to the object Describe the actions that must be taken for a vehicle to change
direction, speed up and slow down
According to Newtons First Law, a net external force must be applied to a
vehicle to change direction/speed
This can be seen in a typical drivers journey, pressing on the
accelerator/brake (providing thrust/driving force) or using the steering wheel
to change speed/direction
On earth there are however other forces such as gravity, air resistance
and friction which slow a car down Describe the typical effects of external forces on bodies including

friction and air resistance
External forces such a friction and air resistance usually oppose the motion
of bodies
E.g. friction between tyres of vehicles and roads and air resistance occurring
when vehicles are in motion
Most real life journeys consist of these net external forces (and thus, it is
hard to observe Newtons First Law of Motion being applied) Define average acceleration

aav =
v u
aav =
Average acceleration is as stated above
It is the change in velocity over the change in time

Average acceleration only takes into account the beginning and ending
points Define the terms mass and weight with reference to the effects
of gravity
Mass is the amount of matter in a body (does not change despite location)
Weight is the force a body exerts at a particular area, i.e. on Earth this is
shown by:
o W = mg
Where W = weight in newtons, m = mass and g = force due to
gravity (9.8m/s/s) on Earth Outline the forces involved in causing a change in the velocity of

a vehicle
Coasting with no pressure on the accelerator: gradually the
vehicle will slow down until it reaches a velocity of zero. This is caused
by friction from the road and air resistance
Pressing on the accelerator: the tyres exert a greater force to the
road and the road applies an equal and opposite reaction force to the
car. This net force causes the car to accelerate
Pressing on the brakes: frictional force is applied to the wheels, the
tyres apply a force to the road and the road applies an equal and
opposite force to the car which causes it to slow down. If we call the
direction of motion positive applying the brakes produces a net force
on the car in the negative direction.
Passing over an icy patch on the road: if there is no friction
between the road and the tyres the driver cannot apply braking,
accelerating or turning forces to the road. Because there is no net
force on the car it would continue in a straight line at constant
velocity; the car will gradually come to rest after a long time due to air
Climbing and descending hills: weight of the car due to gravity, is
in direction of motion. This means that that to maintain a constant
velocity the engine must exert a greater force to overcome this
gravitational force pulling it down; when descending the force of
gravity is acting in the direction of motion, to maintain a constant
speed the brakes must be applied to produce a negative force to
counteract this gravitational force acting down the hill
Following a curve in the road: to drive around a corner a net force
must be applied to the car towards the centre of the corner. Turning
the steering wheel to the right causes the tyres to push the road to
the left, so that the resulting reaction force on the car is towards the
centre of the curve and causes the direction of the velocity to change
to the right
Following a curve in the road requires acceleration to travel at a
constant speed, this is centripetal acceleration (directed towards the

centre of the circle) and can be calculated using the formula: a=
where a is the magnitude of acceleration (ms -2), v is the constant
speed (ms-1) and r is the radius of the curve/circle (m)
Centripetal force (net force on an object travelling in a circular path at
a constant speed) is calculated by the formula: F=ma= where
F is the centripetal force (N), m is the mass of the object (kg) Interpret Newtons Second Law of Motion and relate it to the

Newtons second law states that the net force is equal to the product of
mass and acceleration
The acceleration of an object is proportional to the net force and
inversely proportional to the mass Identify the net force in a wide variety of situations involving

modes of transport and explain the consequences of the application of
that net force in terms of Newtons Second Law of Motion
The net force is the sum of all forces acting on a body
The net force is in the direction of where the vehicle is travelling in
transportation (thrust/driving force overcomes friction/resistance forces)
The net force is proportional to acceleration and depends on mass according
to Newtons Second Law of Motion
If acceleration is kept constant this force will depend on mass, thus heavier
objects will have more net force than lighter ones
8.4.3: Moving vehicles have kinetic energy and energy
transformations are an important aspect in understanding motion Identify that a moving object possesses kinetic energy and that
work done on that object can increase that energy
All moving objects have kinetic energy, this energy being quantified in the
1 2
KE= m v
Where KE=Kinetic Energy ( Joules ) m=mass (kg)

v =velocity ( ms1 )
If work is applied to the object, the velocity increases (thus increasing KE)
KE is directly proportional to the square of the velocity of an object
(mass is constant)
Work is defined through the equation:
W =Fs
Where W = work, F = Net force, S = Displacement Describe the energy transformations that occur in collisions

There are two types of collisions: elastic and inelastic
Elastic collisions are when two bodies collide then rebound off each other
o In elastic collisions KE of each body can change BUT it is
Inelastic collisions are when two bodies collide then stick together and move
off as a single body
o In inelastic collisions KE IS NOT conserved, but rather
transformed into other types of energy (sound, etc.)
For inelastic collisions this formula must be used:
m1 u1 +m2 u 2=( m1 +m 2) v c Define the law of conservation of energy

The law of conservation states that In an isolated system, energy
cannot be created nor destroyed but only transformed from one
form to another
This is similar to the law of conservation of mass, however energy can be
transformed into different forms
E.g. when a car crashes into a tree, the kinetic energy does not just
disappear, but is rather transformed into different forms of energy such as
deformation, heat, light and sound
8.4.4: Change in momentum relates to the forces acting on the
vehicle or the driver Define momentum as:
Momentum is the quantity of motion of a moving body; it is a vector
The law of reflection states that momentum is equal to the product of mass
and velocity
Momentum can be seen in real life, e.g. a person running, cars moving, the
momentum of a tennis ball as it is hit Define impulse as the product of force and time

I =Ft
Impulse is defined as the product of force and time, i.e. the measurement
of a force over a period of time
Impulse is also change in momentum, therefore change in momentum is
equal to the product of force and time Explain why momentum is conserved in collisions in terms of

Newtons Third Law of motion
According to Newtons Third Law for every action there is an equal and
opposite reaction (action-reaction forces)
In collisions this still applies, therefore the momentums before and after the
collisions must be equal
This can be proven mathematically:

Given vehicle A and B are involved in a collision

F A =F B [ Newto n' s 3 rd Law ]

m A a A =mB aB

Now , v=u+at


v A u A v u
m A( )=mB ( B B )
t t

m A v A m A u A =mB v B + mB u B

mA u A +mB uB =m A v A + mB v B
8.4.5: Safety devices are utilised to reduce the effects of changing
momentum Define the inertia of a vehicle as its tendency to remain in uniform
motion or at rest
Inertia is the tendency for an object to remain in uniform motion or at
E.g. if a car suddenly stops the passenger in the vehicle continues to go
forward (because of his/her inertia)
The car in this sense may have forces slowing it down; friction, etc., however
the passenger does not and may be injured in such a situation
This can also be seen in the images below where the coin remains at rest
and drops into the glass when the cardboard is flicked fast Discuss reasons why Newtons First Law of Motion is not apparent
in many real world situations
There are various reasons why Newtons First Law of Motion is not apparent
in real life situations:
o There are many external forces on Earth which can oppose a bodys
o E.g. friction, air resistance, gravity and drag
o Thus, the law is not apparent in real life situations
o If there was no friction an object moving at uniform speed would

maintain it forever Assess the reasons for the introduction of low speed zones in
built-up areas and the addition of air bags and crumple zones to vehicles
with respect to the concepts of impulse and momentum
Low speed zones in built-up areas (such as school zones) were introduced
because it gives drivers more time to stop
In terms of physics this can be seen through the momentum
formula: p = mv (the less velocity, the less momentum, thus the
faster u can stop)
It can also be seen through the stopping distance formula:
s= (by decreasing initial velocity the stopping distance
decreases significantly, stopping distance proportional to
square of initial velocity, assuming mass and friction are
Where s = stopping distance, m = mass, u = initial velocity, F = friction
Air bags and crumple zones provide essential safety for drivers and
reduction in possible damage of vehicles
Air bags and crumple zones increase time of collisions for vehicles as
well as passengers
Since Impulse is given by: I = Ft, increasing the time of the collision
therefore, decreases the force of the impact Evaluate the effectiveness of some safety features of motor

Safety Feature Advantages Disadvantages
Air Bags Cushions head to Can be activated
prevent impact on unnecessarily
dashboard Can suffocate children
Reduces force acting Rapid deployment of
on occupant by airbags can injure
increasing time unrestrained passengers
Crumple Zones Absorbs energy at After destruction car will
collision by converting be unusable
KE into thermal energy Passengers may still
Reduces continue to move at the
damage/impact collision
Can be at front and
back for more
Increases distance
over the whole force is
acting, thus decreasing
average force
Seat Belts Prevents ejection from Can result in injuries due
vehicle to the fibres of the seat
Minimises bodys belt causing harm to
contact with interior of chest/abdominal regions
car, thus preventing May cause serious
injuries damage to back
Spread the force of Can be uncomfortable
impact over larger
parts of the body,
reducing severity of
Head Can save lives by May cause back injuries
Restraints preventing severe neck Can be uncomfortable
Provides a force that
acts against the
passengers head in
accords to inertia

8.2: The World Communicates

8.2.1: The wave model can be used to explain how current
technologies transfer information Describe the energy transformations required in a mobile
Energy transformation in mobile phone
o Sound Electrical Radio EM Electrical Radio EM
Electrical Sound
Built in microphones change sound waves into electrical signals
Electrical signals are then digitised (binary) and transmitted as radio waves
to base station
Cable networks then carry signals to another tower as electrical impulses
which have each been produced by radio energy
From the other tower, the electrical signal transforms into radio waves to get
to the receiving antenna of the phone.
At the antenna, the radio impulse is converted back to electrical and the
speaker converts the electrical energy to sound. Describe waves as a transfer of energy disturbance that may
occur in one, two or three dimensions, depending on the nature of the
wave and the medium
Wave is a travelling disturbance that transfers energy not matter
They are formed as a result of vibrations within wave particles (oscillation)
Transfer of energy is always from the source of vibration
Can travel in different number of dimensions
o 1D slinky spring, rope medium is confined to the spring/string
(1 direction)
o 2D water wave from a point source medium confined to
surface of water (2-dimension direction)
o 3D sound, light medium is the air (3D space) Identify that mechanical waves require a medium for propagation

while electromagnetic waves do not
Mechanical waves travel through a medium, through oscillation
(vibration) of particles
o Some loss of energy from friction
Electromagnetic waves can self-propagate by oscillating and
alternating electric and magnetic fields Define and apply the following terms of the wave model: medium,
displacement, amplitude, period, compression, rarefaction, crest, trough,
transverse waves, longitudinal waves, frequency, wavelength, velocity
Medium: material in which the wave is travelling, e.g. wood, steel, air
Transverse Waves: particles travel at right angles to the direction of
Longitudinal Waves: particles travel parallel to the direction of transfer
Compression: (longitudinal wave) region of higher density of the medium
Rarefaction: (longitudinal wave) region of lower density of the medium
Displacement: distance from zero displacement/equilibrium
Amplitude: amount of energy wave is carrying the maximum
displacement of a particle from the
equilibrium position
Wavelength (): distance between two
corresponding points
Crest: highest point and maximum
displacement of a wave
Trough: lowest point and maximum
displacement of a wave
Period (T): time taken for one wave/pulse to
pass a fixed point
Frequency (f): number of waves passing a fixed point (in a second)
o Hertz; in sound, determines pitch
Velocity (v): how fast the wave travels Describe the relationship between particle motion and the

direction of energy propagation in transverse and longitudinal waves
Transverse waves particles move perpendicular to direction of energy
propagation, e.g. light, water
Longitudinal waves particles move parallel to direction of energy
propagation, e.g. sound, spring Quantify the relationship between velocity, frequency and

wavelength for a wave:

Therefore, , where v is velocity (m/s), f is frequency (hertz), is

wavelength (m)
8.2.2: Features of a wave model can be used to account for the
properties of sound Identify that sound waves are vibrations or oscillations of particles
in a medium
Sound waves are longitudinal waves in any medium formed by
compressions and rarefactions of particles
A drum causes difference in air pressure (gas) due to vibration of drum
membrane Relate compressions and rarefactions of sound waves to the

crests and troughs of transverse waves used to represent them
Longitudinal waves can be represented as a transverse wave by replacing
displacement (of transverse wave particles) with pressure

The areas when displacement of the wave is above the equilibrium

represent the zones of compressions
The areas when displacement of the wave is below the equilibrium
represent the zones of rarefaction. Explain qualitatively that pitch is related to frequency and volume

to amplitude of sound waves
Pitch is how high or low a note is, directly related to frequency:
o The higher the pitch, the higher the frequency as there are more
o Amplitude remains the same
Volume is how loud or soft a note is, directly related to amplitude:
o The higher the volume, the higher the amplitude as there is more
energy emitted
o Frequency remains the same Explain an echo as a reflection of a sound wave

Echo occurs as sound is reflected from an object back to the source
o Source does not absorb much energy, therefore sound wave is
heard again, softer
Adopted in SONAR technology including depth sounding
Speed of sound is = 340 m/s
o E.g. sound from a distance of 17 metres = echo in 0.1 seconds (0.05
to and back) Describe the principle of superposition and compare the resulting

waves to the original waves in sound
Occurs when two or more sources of vibration interfere with each other
Superposition: the amplitude of the combined wave is equal to sum of
amplitudes of component waves
o Constructive interference (reinforcement) and destructive
interference (cancellation)

Interference can occur in sound two loudspeakers connected to same

oscillator (so, same amplitude and wavelength
o Regions of increased loudness (constructive)
o Regions of quietness (destructive) nodes
Also occurs with light, with regions of light and dark
8.2.3: Recent technological developments have allowed greater use
of the electromagnetic spectrum Describe electromagnetic waves in terms of their speed in space
and their lack of requirement of a medium for propagation
Is a self-propagating wave changing electric and fields which oscillate
perpendicular to each other
Does not require a medium to propagate
Travel at the speed of light = m/s in a vacuum
o Since velocity is the same for all EM waves, frequency and
wavelength change Identify the electromagnetic wavebands filtered out by the
atmosphere, especially UV, X-rays and gamma rays

Atmosphere has two main filters ionosphere and stratosphere, humans

live in troposphere
Ionosphere, 50 to 500 km above Earth, composed of ionised gases
Regions D, E and F
o D: 50-80 km, gamma rays and shorter Hard X-rays absorbed
o E: 80-145 km, longer Soft X-rays absorbed
o F: 145-300 km, short UV absorbed
Stratosphere: longer UV absorbed Identify methods for the detection of various wavebands in the

electromagnetic spectrum Explain that the relationship between the intensity of

electromagnetic radiation and distance from a source is an example of the
inverse square law
1 k
I I=
d d
Intensity is the energy that is received per square meter per second at a
distance away from the source
The inverse square law is applied to electromagnetic waves.
o Intensity is inversely proportional to d (distance squared)
Measured in (J/s)/m or W/m or lux
A light source with 16,000 lx: Outline how the modulation of amplitude or frequency of visible
light, microwaves and/or radio waves can be used to transmit information
Amplitude Modulation
Only amplitude varies, frequency remains constant
Changing amplitudes are the codes for the information being carried
Carrier waves and audio waves are added in an electric circuit called a
Resulting AM waves are amplified and transmitted from an antenna
Involves the adding of amplitudes together using superposition

Frequency Modulation
Only frequency varies
The information is coded into the different frequencies.
Carrier and audio wave are combined in the modulator circuit
Resulting FM wave increases in frequency to indicate a crest in the audio
wave and decreases to indicate a trough in the audio waves.
The frequencies of the audio signals and the carrier wave are added
together by superposition.

Radio Waves
Energy carried by waves can be varied to transmit information by varying
frequency or amplitude
o Frequency Modulation (FM) or Amplitude Modulation (AM)
o Information is carried through signals by superposition of a carrier
wave tuning frequency
o Signal occupies a range of frequencies around the carrier frequency
Receiver subtracts carrier wave from signal and interprets variation in
frequency/amplitude demodulation
AM advantage uses much narrower range of frequencies more stations
fit into limited bandwidth
FM advantage not dependent on amplitude changes, so strength of
signal does not change (frequency difficult to change due to interference)
Greater available bandwidth (20,000 phone calls), higher transmitted
energy (less spread out)
Reception in buildings more difficult due to short , range affected by
atmospheric conditions (oxygen)
High energy laser light using amplitude modulation (frequency
bandwidth too small for light)
Fibre optic cables required only reliable to 200 m in open air, due to
more interference (narrow frequency) Discuss problems produced by the limited range of

electromagnetic spectrum available for communication purposes
Congestion of frequencies bandwidth allocations required
There is a limited spectrum that is allowed through the atmosphere and
Because of this there is a battle for bandwidth due to the lack of
Therefore, there are great demands and competitions due to the limited
amount of bandwidth.

8.2.4: Many communication technologies use applications of

reflection and refraction of electromagnetic waves Describe and apply the law of reflection and explain the effect of
reflection from a plane surface on waves
Angle of incidence, in relation to the normal, is equal to the angle of
Normal is a line perpendicular to the reflecting surface at point of incidence
Where the incident ray, reflected ray and normal must all lie on the
same plane Describe ways in which applications of reflection of light, radio

waves and microwaves have assisted information transfer
Forms virtual images of objects placed in front of plane mirror, both real
and virtual from curved mirrors
o Telescopes use parabolic concave mirrors to reflect light from stars
Torches and driving lights have parabolic reflectors adjust light source
for flood or spot beams
Light can be repeatedly reflected off optic fibre boundaries

Radio Waves
Radio sky waves bounce off ionosphere essentially bouncing off a plane
Radio space waves pass the ionosphere and reflect off satellite

Radar uses microwaves, reflects off an object to determine distance of the
Used in telephone communication worldwide.
Due to the curvature of the earth waves may not reach the other side of
Earth without the use of reflection Describe one
application of reflection for
plane surfaces, concave surfaces,
convex surfaces and radio waves being reflected by
the ionosphere

Plane surface: Virtual image, as object appears behind the mirror

o The reflected image is upright and the same size as the original
o Used in household mirrors light reflects off mirror surface into the
Concave surface: Has a reflecting surface with focal plane in front of mirror
o Reflected image depends on the position of the object in relation to
the focal point
o If its closer to the mirror than the focal point, the image is upright
and magnified
o If its further than the focal point, the image is inverted (upside down)
o Used in car headlights light source at focus will create parallel
beams of light
Convex surface: Has a reflecting surface with a focus behind the mirror
o Image is upright and reduced in size
o Used in driving mirrors wider field of view
Radio waves reflected off ionosphere: long wavelength waves reflect
well off ionosphere
o Radio waves travel for long distances but eventually the curvature of
the earths atmosphere gets in the way.
o Radio waves between 3 50 MHz are reflected, above 50 MHz passes
straight through.
o Works best with longer wavelength AM signals.
o Shorter wavelength TV signals and FM radio doesnt work as well. Explain that refraction is related to the velocities of a wave in

different media and outline how this may result in the bending of a
Refraction change in velocity when travelling from one medium to
another (causing change in direction)
Travelling into a more dense medium = bending towards normal
Travelling into a less dense medium = bending away from normal
Frequency does not change, but
wavefronts are closer (= shorter
wavelength), indicating lower
Wavelength decreases in a
denser medium, increases in a
less dense medium Define refractive index in terms of changes in velocity of a wave

in passing from one medium to another
Refractive index (n) a ratio of how much a wave slows down or
speeds up going into another medium
Absolute Refractive Index ratio of velocity of wave in vacuum to
velocity in the medium Define Snells Law

Relative refractive index the refractive index of the boundary between
two media

Where n1 and n2 are the absolute refractive index of each medium

Relative refractive index will be > 1 if medium 1 less dense than
medium 2 and < 1 if medium 1 more dense Identify the conditions necessary for total internal reflection with
reference to the critical angle
When wave travels to a less dense medium, ray bends away from normal
Ray can be refracted so that angle of refraction is bent to 90 from
o Angle of incidence is the critical angle
Critical angle measured by using Snells Law:

Total internal reflection when angle of incidence bigger than critical

angle Outline how total internal reflection is used in optical fibres

Light from laser transmitted through optical fibres made of pure, bubble
free glass
Uses total internal reflection where core has higher refractive index
and cladding has lower refractive index, with an outer plastic sheath to
prevent stray light from entering
After the EM radiation enters the optical fibres, it is totally internally
reflected at the interface between the core and the cladding. The light is
trapped internally and continually moves forward through the optical fibre.
Used for: communication by carrying signals precisely faster than energy
o Medicine to view inaccessible sites with optical fibres in instruments

8.2.5: Electromagnetic waves have potential for future

communication technologies and data storage technologies Identify types of communication data that are stored or
transmitted in digital form
Digital communication changes analog signals to binary (1 or 0)
Amplitude is measured by the binary in 8-bit processing, amplitude is
broken into 8 sections (0 to 7)
Frequency is automatically included more often oscillation of
amplitude = higher frequency of signal
Data superimposed on carrier wave then decoded by digital-to-analog
converter (DAC)
Advantage: if interference occurs, easier to distinguish a pulse or not
easily removed
o Analog interference more difficult to remove, and retransmission
causes degradation
CDs and DVDs
CD (Compact Disc): Plastic, metal coated disc with data stored in pits lack
of pit is 0
o Light reflected off surface and intensity of reflected light is translated
into electrical signal
DVD (Digital Versatile Disc): increased storage capacity pits are smaller
and closer
Telecommunications use of computers for communication
Modems (MOdulate and DEModulate) convert digital output from
computers into analog, to be sent over a telephone line
Global Positioning System (GPS)
24 satellites orbiting Earth, emitting microwave signals
o Receiver must be in direct line of sight, and measures distance from
satellite (by checking time)
In the diagram:
o First satellite positions receiver to a circumference of a circle
o Second satellite positions receiver to two points
o Third satellite positions the receiver to one point