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P2 Glossary AW

Glossary of key words for P2- Living for the Future (Energy Resources)

TermDefinition
Alpha particles Radioactive particles which are helium nuclei- helium atoms without the electrons (they have a positive charge).
Alternating current An electric current that is not a one-way flow.
Asteroid Composed of rock or metallic material orbiting the Sun in region between Mars and Jupiter.
Beta particles Particles given off by some radioactive materials (they have a negative charge).
Big bang The event believed by many scientists to have been the start of the Universe.
Biomass Waste wood and other materials which are burned in power stations.
Black hole A region of space form which nothing, not even light, can escape.
Carbon footprint The total amount of greenhouse gases given off by a person in a given time.
Centripetal force Force acting on a body, travelling in a circle, which acts toward the centre of the circle and keeps the body moving in a circle.
Comets Lumps of rock and ice found in space- some orbit the Sun.
Conductors Materials which transfer thermal energy easily; electrical conductors allow electricity to flow through them.
Constellation A group of stars that has been given a name by astronomers because they seem to be close together when seen from Earth; members of a constellation may actually be many light years away from each others.
Direct current An electric current that flows in one direction only.
Dynamo A device that converts energy in movement into energy in electricity.
Efficiency Ratio of useful energy output to total energy input; can be expressed as a percentage.
Elliptical orbit A path that follows and elipse-which looks a bit like a flattened circle.
Galaxy A group made of billions of stars.
Gamma rays Ionising electromagnetic waves that are radioactive and dangerous to human health- but useful in killing cancer cells.
Global warming The increase in the Earth’s temperature due to increases in carbon dioxide levels.
Greenhouse gas Any of the gases whose absorption of infrared radiation from the Earth’s surface is responsible for the greenhouse effect, e.g. carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour.
Joule A unit of energy.
Kilowatt 1000 watts.
Kilowatt hour Unit of electricity equal to 3 600 000J
Light emitting diode(LED) A very small light in electric circuits that uses very little energy.
Light year A unit of distance equal to the distance light travels through space in one year.
Meteors Bright flashes in the sky caused by rocks burning in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Multiplexing Combination of multiple signals into one signal transmitted over a shared medium.
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration- the organisation in the United States responsible for the space programme.
National Grid Network that carries electricity from power stations across the country (it uses cables, transformers and pylons).
Near Earth object Asteroid, comet or large meteor whose orbit crosses Earth’s orbit.
Non-renewable energy Energy which is used up at a faster rate than it can be replaced e.g. fossil fuels.
Nucleus Central part of an atom that contains protons and neutrons.
Payback time The time it takes for the original cost outlay to be recovered in savings.
Photocell A device which converts light into electricity.
Plutonium A radioactive metal often formed as a bi-product from a nuclear power station- sometimes used as a nuclear fuel.
p-n Junction The boundary between two special types of silicon in a photocell and other electronic components.
Power The rate that a system transfers energy, power is usually measured in watts (W).
Probe Unmanned space vehicle designed to travel beyond Earth’s orbit.
Radiation Thermal energy transfer which occurs when something hotter than its surroundings radiates heat from its surface.
Radioactive Material which gives out radiation.
Red shift When lines in a spectrum are redder than expected- if an object has a red shift it is moving away from us.
Renewable energy Energy that can be replenished at the same rate that it is used up e.g. biofuels.
Satellite A body orbiting around a larger body; communications satellites orbit the Earth to relay television and telephone signals.
Solar cells Devices which convert the Sun’s energy into electricity.
Solar System The collection of planets and other objects orbiting around the Sun.
Star Bright object in the sky which is lit by energy from nuclear reactions.
Turbine Device for generating electricity- the turbine moves through a magnetic field and electricity is generated.
Universe The whole of space.
Uranium A radioactive metal used in nuclear power stations.
Watt A unit of power, 1 watt equals 1 joule of energy being transferred per second.
Created by: Brimsham