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Chapter 1: Introduction to Physics

Physical quantities QUANTITIES that are measurable

Base quantities PHYSICAL QUANTITIES that cannot be defined in terms of other physical
quantities but has its own definition

Derived quantities PHYSICAL QUANTITIES that are derived from base quantities by multiplication or
division or both

Scientific notation/ POWERS of the base number 10 to show a very large or small number
standard form

Prefixes GROUP OF LETTERS placed at the beginning of a word to modify its meaning,
which act as multipliers

Scalar quantity QUANTITY which has only magnitude or size

(time, temperature, mass, volume, distance, density, power)

Vector quantity QUANTITY which has both magnitude or size and direction
(force, velocity, displacement, acceleration, momentum)

Error DIFFERENCE between actual value of a quantity and the value obtained in

Systematic errors CUMULATIVE ERRORS that can be corrected, if the errors are known.
(zero error, incorrect calibration of measuring instrument)

Random errors ERRORS that arise from unknown and unpredictable variations in condition, and
will produce a different error every time. Random errors are caused by factors
that are beyond the control of observers.
(human limitations, lack of sensitivity, natural errors, wrong technique)

Zero error ERROR that arises when the measuring instrument does not start from exactly

Parallax error ERROR in reading an instrument because the observer’s eyes and the pointer are
not in a line perpendicular to the plane of scale

Measurement PROCESS of determining value of a quantity using a scientific instrument with a

standard scale

Consistency ABILITY to register the same reading when a measurement is repeated

(improve – eliminates parallax error, greater care, not detective instrument)

Accuracy DEGREE to which a measurement represents the actual value

(improve – repeat readings, avoid parallax/zero error, high accuracy instrument)

Sensitivity ABILITY to detect quickly a small change in the value of a measurement

(thermometer – thin wall bulb, narrow capillary)

Inferences EARLY CONCLUSION that you draw from an observation or event using
information that you already have on it

Hypothesis GENERAL STATEMENT that is assumed to be true regarding the relationship

between the manipulated variable and responding variable
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Chapter 2: Forces and Motion

Distance how far a body travels during motion

Displacement CHANGE IN POSITION of an object from its initial position in a specified direction

Speed RATE OF CHANGE of distance

Velocity RATE OF CHANGE of displacement

Mass MEASURE of an object’s inertia

AMOUNT of matter in the object

Acceleration RATE OF CHANGE of velocity

Inertia PROPERTY of matter that causes it to resist any change in its motion or state of rest

Momentum PRODUCT of mass and velocity

Force pulling or a pushing ACTION on an object

Impulsive force LARGE FORCE which acts over a very short time interval
RATE OF CHANGE in momentum

Gravity FORCE originated from centre of the Earth that pulls all objects towards the ground

Free fall FALLING of an object without encountering any resistance from a height towards
the earth with an acceleration due to gravity

Forces in An object is said to be in a state of equilibrium when forces act upon an object and
equilibrium it remains stationary or moves at a constant velocity

Resultant force SINGLE FORCE which combines two or more forces which act on an object

Work Work is done when a force causes an object to move in the direction of the force.

Energy CAPACITY of a system to do work

Gravitational PE ENERGY STORED in the object because of its height above the earth surface

Elastic PE ENERGY STORED in the object as a result of stretching or compressing it

Kinetic energy ENERGY possessed by a moving object

Power RATE at which work is done or energy is changed and transferred

Efficiency ABILITY of an electrical appliance to transform energy from one form to another
without producing useless energy or wastage

Elasticity PROPERTY of an object that enables it to return to its original shape and dimensions
after an applied force is removed

Spring constant FORCE needed to extend a spring per unit length

Elastic limit MAXIMUM STRETCHING FORCE which can be applied to an elastic material before it
ceases to be elastic

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Hooke’s Law Hooke’s law states that the force, F applied to a spring is directly proportional to
the spring’s extension or compression, x, provided the elastic limit is not exceeded.

Principle of Principle of conservation of energy states that total energy in an isolated system is
conservation of neither increased nor decreased by any transformation. Energy cannot be created
energy nor destroyed, but it can be transformed from one kind to another, and the total
amount stays the same.

Principle of The principle of conservation of momentum states that, in any collision or

conservation of interaction between two or more objects in an isolated system, the total
momentum momentum of the system will remain constant; that is, the total initial momentum
will equal the total final momentum.

Newton’s first Newton’s first law of motion states that a body will either remain at rest or
law of motion continue with constant velocity unless it is acted on by an external unbalanced

Newton’s Newton’s second law of motion states that the acceleration a body experiences is
second law of directly proportional to the net force acting on it, and inversely proportional to its
motion mass. F =ma

Newton’s third Newton’s third law of motion states that to every action there is an equal but
law of motion opposite reaction.

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Chapter 3: Forces and Pressure

Pressure FORCE acting normally on a unit surface area

Gas pressure FORCE per unit area exerted by the gas particles as they collide with the walls of
their container (due to the rate of change of momentum)

Buoyant force NET FORCE acting upwards due to the difference between the forces acting on
the upper surface and the lower surface


Law of Flotation Law of floatation states that the weight of an object floating on the surface of a
liquid is equal to the weight of water displaced by the object.
(weight of object = weight of water displaced)

Pascal’s Principle Pascal’s principle states that a pressure applied to a confined fluid is transmitted
uniformly in all directions throughout the fluid.

Archimedes’ Archimedes’ principle states that the buoyant force on a body immersed in a fluid
principle is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by that object
(buoyant force = weight of water displaced)

Bernoulli’s Bernoulli’s principle states that the pressure of a moving fluid decreases as the
principle speed of the fluid increases, and the converse is also true.

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Chapter 4: Heat

Temperature DEGREE of hotness of an object

Thermometric PHYSICAL PROPERTY of a substance which is sensitive to and varies linearly with the
property temperature change

Thermal A STATE when heat transfer between the two objects are equal and the net rate of
equilibrium heat transfer between the two objects are zero

Heat capacity HEAT ENERGY required to raise its temperature by 1°C or 1 K

Specific heat HEAT ENERGY required to produce 1°C or 1 K rise in temperature in a mass of 1 kg.

Latent heat HEAT ABSORBED OR RELEASED when a substance changes its state without a
change in temperature is called the latent heat of the substance

Specific latent HEAT ENERGY required to change 1 kg of a substance from solid state to liquid
heat of fusion state, without a change in temperature

Specific latent HEAT ENERGY required to change 1 kg of a substance from liquid state to gaseous
heat of state, without a change in temperature


Boyle’s Law Boyle’s Law states that the pressure of a fixed mass of gas is inversely proportional
to its volume provided the temperature of the gas is kept constant
(PV = k)

Pressure Law The pressure law states that the pressure of a fixed mass of gas is directly
proportional to its absolute temperature (in Kelvin), provided the volume of the gas
is kept constant
(P/T = k)

Charles’ Law Charles’ law states that the volume of a fixed mass of gas is directly proportional to
its absolute temperature (in Kelvin), provided the pressure of the gas is kept
(V/T = k)

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Chapter 5: Light

Refraction PHENOMENON where the direction of light is changed when it crosses the
boundary between two materials of different optical densities as a result of a
change in the velocity of light.

Apparent depth, d DISTANCE of the image from the surface of water (or the boundary between
the two mediums involved)

Real depth, D DISTANCE of the object from the surface of the water (or the boundary
between the two mediums involved)

Total internal TOTAL REFLECTION of a beam of light at the boundary of two mediums, when
reflection the angle of incidence in the optically denser medium exceeds a specific critical

Critical angle GREATEST ANGLE OF INCIDENCE in the optically denser medium for which the
angle of refraction, r = 90°

Power of lens MEASURE OF ITS ABILITY to converge or diverge an incident beam of light


Laws of Reflection - the angle of incidence, i, is equal to the angle of reflection, r (i = r)

- the incident ray, normal and reflected ray will all lie in the same plane

Law of Refraction - The incident ray and the refracted ray are on the opposite sides of the
normal at the point of incidence, all three lie in the same plane
- Obey snell’s law

Snell’s Law The value of sin i is a constant.

sin r

Virtual an image which cannot be projected (focused) onto a screen
Real an image which can be projected (focused) onto a screen
Laterally inverted an image which left and right are interchanged
Upright an image which in vertical position
Diminished image formed is smaller than the object
Magnified image formed is larger than the object

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Chapter 1 – Waves

Waves A TYPE OF DISTURBANCE produced by an oscillating or vibrating motion in which a

point or body moves back and forth along a line about a fixed central point produces

Wavefront LINE OR PLANE on which the vibrations of every points are in phase and are at the
same distance from the source of the wave.
In phase = same direction, same displacemen

Transverse Wave WAVE in which the vibration of particles in the medium is perpendicular to the
direction of propagation of the wave
(water waves, light waves, electromagnetic waves)

Longitudinal Wave WAVE in which the vibration of particles in the medium is parallel to the direction of
propagation of the wave
(sound waves, ultrasound)

Amplitude MAXIMUM DISPLACEMENT form its equilibrium position

MEASURE of height of the wave crest or depth of the wave trough.

Period TIME TAKEN to complete an oscillation, from one extreme point to the other and back
to the same position.

Frequency NUMBER OF COMPLETE OSCILLATIONS made by a vibrating system in one second

Wavelength, λ DISTANCE between successive points of the same phase in a wave

Damping DECREASE in the amplitude of an oscillating system is called damping.

(Internal damping: extension and compression of molecules
External damping: frictional force/ air resistance)

Resonance Resonance occurs when a system is made to oscillate at a frequency equivalent to its
natural frequency by an external force. The resonating system oscillates at its
maximum amplitude.

Natural frequency FUNDAMENTAL FREQUENCY of which an object vibrates. It is the frequency of a system
which oscillates freely without external force

Reflection of wave Reflection of wave occurs when a wave strike an obstacle

direction ≠ ; f = ; a = ; λ =

Refraction of wave Refraction of wave occurs when a wave travel from one medium to another
f = ; v ≠ ; λ ≠ ; direction ≠

Diffraction of waves PHENOMENON in which waves spread out as they passed through an aperture or round
a small circle
f = ; λ = ; speed = ; v ≠ ; direction ≠

Interference of SUPERPOSITION of two waves originating from two coherent sources

waves coherent = same frequency, amplitude and in phase

Constructive Constructive interference occurs when the both crests or both troughs of both waves
interference coincide to produce a wave with crests and troughs of maximum amplitude

Destructive Destructive interference occurs when the crest of one wave coincides with the trough
interference of the other wave, thus cancelling each other with the result that the resultant
amplitude is zero.

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Antinode POINT where constructive interference occurs.

Node POINT where destructive interference occurs.

Electromagnetic PROPAGATING WAVES in space with electric and magnetic components. These
waves components oscillate at right angles to each other and to the direction of propagation
of wave.

Monochromatic LIGHT with only one wavelength and colour



Principle of Principle of superposition states that at any instant, the wave displacement of the
superposition combined motion of any number of interacting waves at a point is the sum of the
displacements of all the components waves at that point.

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Chapter 2 – Electricity

Charge, Q WORK DONE to move a unit of voltage in a circuit

Current, I RATE of flow of charge

Potential WORK DONE in moving one coulomb of charge from one point to another in an electric field
difference, V

Electric field A FIELD in which electric charge experiences an electric force

A FIELD in which electric force acts in a particle with electric charge

Circuit CLOSED LOOP through which charge can continuously flow

Resistance, R RATIO of the potential difference across the conductor to the current flowing through it
MEASURE of the ability of the conductor to resist the flow of an electric current through it

Superconductor CONDUCTOR in which its resistance will suddenly become zero when it is cooled below a
certain temperature called the critical temperature

Electromotive TOTAL ENERGY supplied by a cell to move a unit of electrical charge from one terminal to the
force (e.m.f.) other through the cell and the external circuit

Power rating RATE at which it consumes electrical energy.


Ohm’s Law Ohm’s law states that the electric current, I flowing through a conductor is directly
proportional to the potential difference across the ends of conductor, if temperature and other
physical conditions remain constant. That is, ܸ ‫ܫ ן‬

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Chapter 3 – Electromagnetism

Electromagnet DEVICE in which magnetism is produced by an electric current

TEMPORARY MAGNET which acts as a magnet when the current is switched on and ceases
to be a magnet when the current is switched off

Magnetic field REGION in which a magnetic material experiences a force as the result of a magnet or a
current-carrying conductor

Radial field MAGNETIC FIELD with the field lines pointing towards or away from the centre of a circle.

Electromagnetic PRODUCTION of an electric current by a changing magnetic field (conductor cuts across a
induction magnetic flux –OR– a change of magnetic flux linkage with a coil)

Root mean square VALUE of a steady current/ voltage, which would produce the same heating effect in a given
current/ voltage resistor.

Transformer EQUIPMENT to raise or lower the potential difference of an alternating current supply


Faraday’s Law The magnitude of the induced electromotive force (e.m.f.) is directly proportional to the
rate of change of magnetic flux linkage with the solenoid or the rate at which a conductor
cuts through the magnetic flux.

Lenz’s Law Lenz’s law states that an induced electric current always flows in such a direction so as to
oppose the change (or motion) producing it.

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Chapter 4 – Electronics

Thermoionic EMISSION of electrons from hot metal surface


Work function MINIMUM ENERGY required to eject electrons from surface

Cathode ray fast moving ELECTRONS travel in a straight line in vacuum

Cathode ray measuring and testing INSTRUMENT used in study of electricity and electronics

Conductor MATERIAL which allows current to flow thorugh them

Semiconductor MATERIAL whose resistance is between good conductor and insulator
Insulator MATERIAL which does not conduct electric current

Junction POTENTIAL DIFFERENCE acting from n-type to p-type material of a diode across the depletion
voltage layer

Rectification CONVERSION of a.c. to d.c. by diode

Smoothing PROCESS where output is smoothed by connecting a capacitor across load that acts as a
reservoir and maintains potential difference across load

Logic gates ELECTRONIC SWITCHES with one or more inputs and one output.

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Chapter 5 – Radioactivity

Atom An atom consists of a nucleus which is made up of protons and neutrons, with
electrons orbiting the nucleus.

Nuclide TYPE of nucleus with particular proton number and nucleon number

Proton number NUMBER of protons in the nucleus of an atom

Nucleon number NUMBER of protons and neutrons in an atom

Isotopes ATOMS of an element which have the same proton number but different nucleon
(similar chemical properties but differs in physical properties)

Radioactivity SPONTANEOUS DISINTEGRATION of unstable nucleus into a more stable nucleus

with the emission of energetic particles or protons

Radioactive decay PROCESS where an unstable nucleus becomes a more stable nucleus by emitting

Radioisotope ISOTOPE that has unstable nucleus that tends to undergo radioactive decay

Half life TIME TAKEN for the activity of atoms to fall to half its original value
TIME TAKEN for half the atoms in a given sample to decay

Nuclear fission PROCESS involving the splitting of a heavy nucleus into two nuclei of roughly equal
mass and shooting out several neutrons at the same time.

Nuclear fusion PROCESS involving the fusion of two or more small and light nuclei come together
to form a heavier nucleus.


Einstein’s Principle of The change of energy is linked to the change of mass by the equation ‫ ܧ‬ൌ ݉ܿ ଶ
Mass-Energy Conservation

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