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MCAT Physics

QuestionAnswer
a branch of mechanics which provides the basic tools for describing the motion of objects kinematics
the rate of change of the velocity acceleration
the rate of change of the position velocity
a continuous change in the position of a body relative to a reference point motion
magnitude of the velocity speed
numerical description of how far apart objects are at any given moment in time distance
the vector that specifies the position of a point or a particle in reference to an origin or to a previous position displacement
a simple physical quantity that does not depend on direction, and is therefore not changed by coordinate system rotations scalar
a physical quantity characterized by both magnitude and direction vector
motion in which an object moves with constant speed along a circular path uniform circular motion
motion with no acceleration other than that provided by gravity free fall
a particular perspective from which the universe is observed, providing a set of axes from which an observer can measure the position and motion of all points in a system frame of reference
the path a moving object follows through space trajectory
represents the location of an object in space in relation to an arbitrary inertial frame of reference position vector
the world's most widely used system of units international system of units
the nominal acceleration due to gravity at the Earth's surface at sea level standard gravity
the science of mechanics that deals with the motion, behavior, and effects of projectiles ballistics
rate of change of the acceleration jerk
the fourth derivative of the displacement vector with respect to time, with the first, second, and third derivatives being velocity, acceleration, and jerk, respectively snap
anything that can cause a massive body to accelerate. may be experienced as a lift, a push, or a pull force
a fundamental concept in physics, roughly corresponding to the intuitive idea of how much matter there is in an object mass
the branch of classical mechanics that is concerned with the effects of forces on the motion of objects dynamics
a measurement of the gravitational force acting on an object weight
the external force required to make a body follow a circular path at constant speed. the force is directed inward, toward the center of the circle centripetal force
the force that opposes the relative motion or tendency toward such motion of two surfaces in contact friction
a dimensionless quantity used to calculate the force of friction (static or kinetic) coefficient of friction
the component, perpendicular to the surface of contact, of the contact force exerted by the surface normal force
a force between two objects that are touching each other contact force
the SI derived unit of force Newton
the property of an object to remain at constant velocity unless acted upon by an outside force inertia
a vector produced when two or more forces act upon a single object. also called a resultant net force
states that forces occur in pairs, one called the action and the other the reaction Newton's third law
a mechanism by which particles interact with each other and which cannot be explained in terms of another interaction fundamental interaction
when two solid surfaces slide against each other sliding friction
Newton's first and second laws of motion are valid, ie. neither is rotating nor accelerated inertial frame of reference
a reaction force applied by a stretched string, rope, or a similar object, upon the objects which stretch it tension
the frictional resistance that occurs when an object rolls. it is usually much smaller than sliding friction rolling resistance
a unit of force specified in the centimeter-gram-second (cgs) system of units dyne
an apparent force that acts on all masses in a non-inertial frame of reference arising from the acceleration of the non-inertial frame itself fictitious force
defined as a work one system does (or can do) on another system energy
the extra energy which it possesses due to its motion, defined as the work needed to accelerate the body from rest to its current speed kinetic energy
energy stored within a physical system potential energy
the amount of energy transferred by a force mechanical work
states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant, although it may change forms conservation of energy
the rate at which work is performed or energy is transmitted. It is the amount of energy required or expended for a given unit of time power
the SI unit of energy joule
the SI derived unit of power, equal to one joule per second watt
any device that only requires the application of a single force to work simple machine
a flat surface whose endpoints are at different heights inclined plane
a rigid object that is used with an appropriate fulcrum or pivot point to multiply the mechanical force that can be applied to another object lever
a wheel with a groove along its edge for holding a rope or cable or belt pulley
the factor by which a mechanism multiplies the force put into it mechanical advantage
a unit of energy often used also in theoretical physics as a unit of mass. It is the amount of kinetic energy gained by a single unbound electron when it passes through an electrostatic potential difference of one volt, in vacuo electronvolt
a force that does zero net work on a particle that travels along any closed path in an isolated system conservative force
the energy which causes or is released by the physical distortion of a solid or a fluid elastic energy
the amount of energy required to pull all of the material apart, to infinity, of an object consisting of loose material, held together by gravity alone gravitational binding energy
a unit of measurement for energy equal to the amount of heat required to raise a gram of water one degree celsius. In most fields, it has been replaced by the joule calorie
an English unit of work or energy. It is the amount of energy expended when a force of one pound acts through a distance of 1 foot along the direction of the force foot-pound
a unit of energy used globally in the power, steam generation and heating and air conditioning industries British thermal unit
the effectiveness of a machine and is defined as the ratio of mechanical advantage to velocity mechanical efficiency
the unit of energy and mechanical work in the centimetre-gram-second (CGS) system of units erg
the product in classical mechanics of the mass and velocity of an object momentum
a specific point at which, for many purposes, the system's mass behaves as if it were concentrated center of mass
the action of bodies striking or coming together collision
a collision in which the total kinetic energy of the colliding bodies after collision is equal to their total kinetic energy before collision elastic collision
a collision in which some of the kinetic energy of the colliding bodies is converted into internal energy in at least one body such that kinetic energy is not conserved inelastic collision
the simple product of the force and time, when both the force and mass are constant impulse
states that a particular measurable property of an isolated physical system does not change as the system evolves conservation law
equal to the rate of change of the backward momentum resulting when a gun is fired recoil
a fractional value representing the ratio of velocities before and after an impact coefficient of restitution
a way to describe the efficiency of rocket and jet engines. It represents the impulse per unit of propellant specific impulse
a device that demonstrates conservation of momentum and energy. It is constructed from a series of pendulums (usually 5) abutting one another Newton's cradle
can informally be thought of as rotational force or angular force which causes a change in rotational motion. It is defined by linear force multiplied by a radius torque
a movement of an object in a circular motion, around a center for a point, around a line called an axis for a three dimensional object rotation
the measure of the extent to which the object will continue to rotate about that point unless acted upon by an external torque angular momentum
specifies the angular speed at which an object is rotating along with the direction in which it is rotating angular velocity
the rotational analog of mass. That is, it is the inertia of a rigid rotating body with respect to its rotation moment of inertia
the angle through which a point or line has been rotated in a specified sense about a specified axis angular displacement
the kinetic energy due to the rotation of an object; sometimes called angular kinetic energy rotational energy
a scalar measure of rotation rate. It is the magnitude of the angular velocity angular frequency
the rate of change of angular velocity angular acceleration
when the sum of the forces and torques on each particle of the system is zero mechanical equilibrium
a unit of frequency: the number of full rotations completed in one minute around a fixed axis revolutions per minute
the branch of physics concerned with the analysis of loads, ie. forces and torques, on physical systems in static equilibrium statics
an idealization of a solid body of finite size in which deformation is neglected rigid body
a device based on the principle of conservation of angular momentum. The essence of the device is a spinning wheel on an axle gyroscope
the angle subtended by an arc length equal to the radius of the circle radian
the SI unit of angular velocity radian per second
a system of forces with a resultant moment but no resultant force. Its effect is to create rotation without translation couple
a change in the direction of the axis of a rotating object precession
a quantity that transforms like a vector under a proper rotation, but gains an additional sign flip under an improper rotation; axial vector pseudovector
a rotating disk used as a storage device for kinetic energy flywheel
a mechanical model that is used to explain rotating systems. Three angles are required to orient such an object in space rigid rotor
the motion of a simple oscillator simple harmonic motion
an object that is attached to a pivot point so it can swing freely pendulum
a nonnegative scalar measure of a wave's magnitude of oscillation, the magnitude of the maximum disturbance in the medium during one wave cycle amplitude
the measurement of the number of occurrences of a repeated event per unit of time frequency
a flexible elastic object used to store mechanical energy usually made out of hardened steel spring
the weight on the end of a pendulum bob
the variation of some measure about a central value (often a point of equilibrium) or between two or more different states oscillation
a system which, when displaced from its equilibrium position, experiences a restoring force proportional to the displacement harmonic oscillator
the SI unit of frequency; its base unit is the cycle per second Hertz
any effect that tends to reduce the amplitude of oscillations of an oscillatory system damping
a function that repeats its values after some definite period has been added to its independent variable periodic function
the quality of occurring at regular intervals or periods in time or space periodicity
the fraction of a cycle corresponding to an offset in the displacement from a specified reference point at time t = 0 phase
refers to mechanical oscillations about an equilibrium point. The oscillations may be periodic such as the motion of a pendulum or random such as the movement of a tire on a gravel road vibration
the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude at a certain frequency resonance
a useful simplification of the laws of trigonometry which is only approximately true for finite angles, but correct in the limit as the angle approaches zero small-angle approximation
having an equal time difference or occurring simultaneously isochronous
a system of two simple pendulums on a common mounting which move in anti-phase double pendulum
a natural phenomenon by which all objects with mass attract each other gravitation
the cyclic rising and falling of Earth's ocean surface caused by the tidal forces of the Moon and the Sun acting on the oceans tides
a vector field pointing directly towards the particle giving the magnitude of the force per unit mass for the array of points in space gravitational field
the path that an object makes around another object while under the influence of a centripetal force such as gravity orbit
the speed where the kinetic energy of an object is equal in magnitude to its potential energy in a gravitational field escape velocity
performed in 1797 - 1798, was the first experiment to measure the force of gravity between laboratory masses Cavendish experiment
the time it takes a planet (or another object) to make one full orbit orbital period
a satellite whose orbital track on the Earth repeats regularly over points on the Earth over time geosynchronous satellite
an orbit around the Earth with an orbital period matching the Earth's sidereal rotation period geosynchronous orbit
a geosynchronous orbit directly above the Earth's equator, with orbital eccentricity of zero. From the ground, such an object appears motionless in the sky geostationary orbit
an elliptic orbit with the eccentricity equal to zero circular orbit
the locus of points on a plane where the sum of the distances from any point on the curve to two fixed points is constant ellipse
a unit of length nearly equal to the semi-major axis of Earth's orbit around the Sun astronomical unit
the point at which an object in orbit around the Earth makes its closest approach to the Earth perigee
a term used in astronomy to describe alterations to an object's orbit caused by gravitational interactions with other bodies perturbation
the point of greatest or least distance of the elliptical orbit of an astronomical object from its center of attraction apsis
the theory that the sun is at the center of the Universe and/or the Solar System helocentrism
generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth's surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km low Earth orbit
the sum of its potential energy and kinetic energy per unit mass specific orbital energy
the product of the gravitational constant and the mass standard gravitational parameter
Created by: kameyer85