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7592678 iGCSE Cam Physics title.

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Contents
Getting the best from the book................................4 Section 5
Atomic physics......................................... 334
a) The nuclear atom..................................................336
Section 1 b) Radioactivity..........................................................343
General physics............................................. 8  c) Exam-style questions..........................................359
a) Length and time..................................................... 10
b) Motion....................................................................... 16
 c) Mass and weight.................................................... 33 Doing well in your examinations........ 363
d) Density....................................................................... 39 Introduction................................................................363
e) Forces.......................................................................... 48 Overview......................................................................363
f) Momentum.............................................................. 76 Assessment objectives and weightings............363
g) Energy, work and power...................................... 84 Examination techniques.........................................364
h) Pressure...................................................................112 Answering questions...............................................365
 i) Exam-style questions.........................................124

Developing experimental skills........... 367


Section 2 Introduction................................................................367
Thermal physics....................................... 132 1. Using and organising techniques,
a) Simple kinetic molecular model apparatus and materials....................................367
  of matter..................................................................134 2. Observing, measuring and recording...........369
b) Thermal properties..............................................147 3. Handling experimental observations
 c) Thermal processes...............................................167 and data...................................................................372
d) Exam-style questions..........................................180 4. Planning and evaluating investigations.......374

Section 3 Glossary................................................................... 380


Properties of waves................................ 184 Answers.................................................................... 385
a) General wave properties...................................186 Index......................................................................... 394
b) Light..........................................................................195
 c) Sound.......................................................................222
d) Exam-style questions..........................................231

Section 4
Electricity and magnetism.................... 234
a) Simple phenomena of magnetism................236
b) Electrical quantities.............................................246
 c) Electric circuits......................................................272
d) Dangers of electricity.........................................297
e) Electromagnetic effects.....................................305
f) Exam-style questions..........................................328
3Contents

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This section covers concepts that will be important throughout
your course. First, you will look at how to measure quantities such
as length and time. Then you will look at speed, velocity and
acceleration before considering mass, weight and density. You will
then consider forces and their different effects, before looking at
energy, work, power and pressure.

STARTING POINTS
1. What would you use to measure: a) the width of this book; b) the
length of the school playing field; c) the amount of milk needed
to make a dessert?
2. How could you find the time taken to: a) finish your physics
homework; b) run 100 metres?
3. What do we mean when we say a car is travelling at
30 kilometres per hour?
4. If an object is stationary, What must be true about the forces
acting on a stationary object?
5. In physics, what do we mean when we say an object is
accelerating?
6. How are mass and density related?
7. List four different forms of energy.

CONTENTS
a) Length and time
b) Motion
c) Mass and weight
d) Density
e) Forces
f) Momentum
g) Energy, work and power
h) Pressure
i) Exam-style questions

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1
General
physics

∆∆In this topic you will learn about the forces at


work on this parachutist.

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Length and time
INTRODUCTION
Making measurements is very important in
physics. Without numerical measurements,
physicists would have to rely on descriptions,
which could lead to inaccurate comparisons.
Imagine trying to build a house if the only
descriptions were ‘big’ and ‘small’.

You also need to make sure that you are


consistent in your use of units. For example,
the Mars Climate Orbiter mission failed in
1999 because not all of the scientists were
∆∆Fig. 1.1 Using a micrometer.
using the same units.

KNOWLEDGE CHECK
✓✓Know how to use a rule to measure lengths to the nearest millimetre.
✓✓Know how to use a stopwatch to measure time to the nearest second.
✓✓Know how to use a measuring cylinder to measure volume.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
✓✓Be able to use and describe the use of rules and measuring cylinders to calculate a
length or volume.
✓✓Be able to use and describe the use of clocks and devices for measuring an interval
of time.
✓✓Be able to obtain an average value for a small distance and for a short interval of
time by measuring multiples (including the period of a pendulum).
✓✓EXTENDED Understand that a micrometer screw gauge is used to measure very
small distances.

MAKING MEASUREMENTS
When making measurements, physicists use different instruments,
such as rules to measure lengths, measuring cylinders to measure
volume and clocks to measure time.
A physicist always takes care to make the measurements as accurate as
possible. If she is using a rule, she will place the rule along the object
to be measured, and read off the scale the positions of the beginning
General physics

and the end of the object. The length is the difference between these
two readings. When the rule is nearer to her eye than the object being
measured, the reading will appear to change as she moves her eye. The
correct reading is obtained when her eye is directly above the point
being measured.
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correct incorrect
position position
for eye for eye

∆∆Fig. 1.2 Making accurate measurements.

To improve accuracy further, she may take several readings and use the
average of these readings as a better result.

∆∆Fig. 1.3 The Maglev train runs for 30 km between Shanghai and Pudong Airport, and
completes the journey in 7 minutes, reaching a top speed of 430 km/h. The train uses magnets
to hover 10 mm above the track. The track must be placed within a few millimetres of the
planned route, requiring great accuracy in all measurements.

To use a measuring cylinder, she will first make sure that the cylinder is
standing on a level table. Then she will make sure that her eye is at the
Length and time

same level as the liquid inside the cylinder. The surface of most liquids
will bend up or down near the walls of the measuring cylinder. This
bent shape is known as a meniscus. However, most of the surface is
flat, and measurements are made to this flat surface.
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REMEMBER
Warning: Some measuring cylinders have unusual scales and one
division may represent an unexpected quantity, perhaps 2 cm3 or
0.5 cm3. Check carefully.

In this book, volumes will usually be measured in cm3 (or perhaps in m3).
In other places, such as on some measuring cylinders, you will see the
millilitre.
A volume of 1 ml is the same as a volume of 1 cm3.
1000 cm3 = 1000 ml = 1 l (or 1 dm3 to avoid confusion between the
number 1 and the letter l)
For measuring large volumes we also use the cubic metre.
1 m3 = 1000 dm3 = 1 000 000 cm3

Times are measured by using a stopwatch or stopclock.


­Hand-​­operated stopwatches have an accuracy that is limited by the
delay between your eye seeing the moment to start, your brain issuing
the command to start the watch and your finger pressing the start
button. The total delay is typically around 0.2 s. This delay is known as
your ‘reaction time’, and it increases the danger of some tasks, such as
driving a car.
When measuring time accurately is critical, such as in athletics, the
clock has to be started and stopped automatically by the athlete
breaking a light beam that shines across the track.
If you are measuring the time of an oscillation, such as the swing of a
pendulum, it is very easy to improve the accuracy of the measurement
by timing a number of swings, perhaps 10 or 20.
It is important to count correctly. Let the swing go, count zero and start
the stopwatch as the pendulum crosses a mark at the bottom of the
swing (we call this the fiducial mark). The next time the pendulum
crosses the fiducial mark going in the same direction count one, and so
on. In this way the count will be correct.
After measuring the time for 20 swings, say, divide the total time by 20
to give the period of one oscillation of the pendulum.

EXTENDED
You may need to use specialised measuring equipment. For example,
the micrometer is used to measure very small distances, such as the
General physics

diameter of a piece of wire.


The micrometer (Fig. 1.4) is designed so that the gap between the jaws
changes by 0.5 mm for every complete turn of the thimble. By
measuring the exact position of the thimble when an object is being
held, the thickness of the object can be measured very accurately.
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A physicist will always check that the jaws of the micrometer are clean,
and will then check that the reading is 0 mm when the jaws are closed
gently. Most micrometers allow the zero reading to be reset, but this
may need to be done by a trained person. Most micrometers also have
a special ratchet fitted onto the end of the thimble, which slips and
emits a clicking sound when sufficient force has been applied. Extra
care should be taken not to distort the object being measured if the
micrometer does not have one of these.
To measure the thickness of an object, open the jaws of the micrometer
and close them gently onto the object in question. A scale on the barrel
will show by how many complete turns the jaws have been opened, with
every two turns indicating another millimetre. The scale around the
edge of the thimble is calibrated from 0 to 50. So a reading of 40
indicates that a further 0.40 mm must be added to the thickness.
However, be careful: a reading of 5, say, indicates that only 0.05 mm is
to be added.
In Fig. 1.4, the marks along the top of the line along the barrel show
that the jaws have been opened to 5 mm, and the fact that an
additional mark has become visible below the line shows that they are
opened beyond 5.5 mm. Therefore you know that the answer must be
between 5.5 mm and 6.0 mm. Next you look at the scale on the
thimble. The reading of 32 shows that you must add 0.32 mm to the
reading. So the final answer is 5.82 mm.
thimble

∆∆Fig. 1.4 Reading a micrometer.

END OF EXTENDED
Length and time
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End of topic checklist
Key terms
fiducial mark, meniscus, micrometer

During your study of this topic you should have learned:


❍❍How to use and describe the use of rules and measuring cylinders to calculate a
length or a volume.

❍❍How to use and describe the use of clocks and devices for measuring time.
❍❍How to measure and describe how to measure a short interval of time (including
the period of a pendulum).

❍❍EXTENDED How to use and describe the use of a mechanical method of


measuring when quantities are small (including the use of a micrometer
screw gauge).
General physics
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End of topic questions
Note: The marks awarded for these questions indicate the level of detail required in the
answers. In the examination, the number of marks awarded for questions like these may
be different.
1. Rules that are 30 cm long are often made of wood or plastic that is thicker in the
middle and thinner along the edges where the scale is printed. Explain why the
user is less likely to make an error if the rule is thinner at the edge, and suggest
reasons why the rule is thicker in the middle. (3 marks)

2. A plastic measuring cylinder is filled with water to the 100 cm3 mark. A student
measures the column of water in the cylinder with a rule and finds that it is
20 cm high.
a) The student pours 10 cm3 of the water out of the cylinder. How high will the
column of water be now? (2 marks)

b) The student then refills the cylinder back to the 100 cm3 mark by holding it
under a dripping tap. She finds that it takes 180 drops of water to do this. What
is the volume of one of these drops? (3 marks)

c) What is the c­ ross-​­sectional area of the cylinder? (Hint: The volume of a cylinder
is given by the equation: volume = ­cross-​­sectional area × length.) (3 marks)

d) From your answer to part c), what is the internal diameter of the measuring
cylinder? (3 marks)

3. A student tries to measure the period of a pendulum that is already swinging left
and right. At the moment when the pendulum is fully to the left, she counts ‘one’
and starts a stopwatch. She counts successive swings each time that the
pendulum returns to the left. When she counts ‘ten’ she stops the stopwatch, and
sees that it reads 12.0 s.
a) What was her mistake? (2 marks)

b) What is the period of swing of this pendulum?  (3 marks)

c) In this particular experiment, explain the likely effect of her reaction time on
her answer. (3 marks)

4. EXTENDED What is the distance that has been measured by this micrometer
screw gauge? thimble (1 mark)
Length and time
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