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# Physics: Units 1-4

Term | Definition |
---|---|

Physics | A branch of science that studies the physical world |

Mechanics | A branch of physics that deals with the motion of material objects |

Thermodynamics | A branch of physics concerned with heat and temperature in relation to energy and work |

Vibrations/Waves | A branch of physics relating to elastic and/or wave movement |

Optics | A branch of physics involving the behavior and properties of light |

Electromagnetism | A branch of physics relating to magnetism and electric currents |

Relativity | the dependence of physical actions on the relative motion of the observer and of observed objects |

Quantum Mechanics | the branch of mechanics that deals with the motion and interaction of subatomic particles |

Scientific Method | a method of procedure consisting of: observation, measurement, experiment, as well as the formulation, testing, and modification of a hypothesis |

Model | an evidence based representation of something that is either to difficult of impossible to display directly |

System | a portion of the physical universe chosen for observation |

Hypothesis | an idea of explanation that is tested through study and experimentation |

Controlled Experiment | an experiment where only one variable is changed at a time in order to isolate the results |

Measurement | the assignment of a number to a property of an object that is being observed |

Standard | a level of quantity that is desirable for measurement |

SI System | units of a basic measure set that all other measurements are based off of |

Dimensional Consistancy | an equation that when broken down to SI units is equal |

Accuracy | the condition or quality deemed to be correct and true |

Precision | the condition of being exact |

Significant Figures | digits in a number that are certain and contain meaning |

Derived Unit | derived quantities that are obtained by the base SI units |

Curve of Best-Fit | a line drawn in with a series of points that most closely represents the pattern of the points |

Dimensional Analysis | a method for comparing the dimensions of different physical qualities |

Order-of-Magnitude Estimations | an exponential change in the value or quantity of a unit |

Frame of Reference | a basis that is used for observation and description of physical phenomenon |

Distance | a scalar quantity of how much ground the object has covered |

Displacement | a vector quantity that is the how far out of place an object is, along with direction |

Speed | a scalar quantity that is the rate at which an object covers distance |

Velocity | a vector quantity that is the rate at which an object covers distance, but includes the direction |

Average Velocity | the displacement of an object divided by the time at which it takes the object to be displaced |

Instantaneous Velocity | the velocity of an object in motion at a specific point in time |

Initial Velocity | the velocity of an object before acceleration |

Final Velocity | the velocity of an object after acceleration |

Acceleration | the rate of change in the velocity of an object over a given amount of time |

Negative Acceleration | an object moving in a negative direction with a negative velocity |

Positive Acceleration | when an object is moving in a positive direction with a positive velocity |

Free-fall | a body with only the force of gravity acting on it |

Kinematics | a branch of mechanics that considers objects without looking at their masses or the forces acting on them |

Scalar | quantities described by a number |

Vector | quantities described by a number and direction |

Resultant | a combination of two or more single vectors |

Pythagorean Theorem | a theorem saying that the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the squares of the legs added together |

x-component of a vector | a horizontal component in a right triangle |

y-component of a vector | a vertical component of a right triangle |

Projectile | any object that once projected or dropped moves with its own inertia and the only force acting on it is gravity |

Projectile Motion | a movement of a projectile in the path of a parabola |

Trajectory | the path a projectile follows |

Range | the maximum horizontal distance a projectile travels |

Relative Velocity | the vector difference between the velocities of two bodies |

Force | a push or pull |

Contact Force | a push or pull resulting from physical contact |

Field Force | gravity or magnetism |

4 Fundamental Forces | weak interaction, strong interaction, gravitation, elecrtomagnetism |

Inertia | tendency of an object to resist a change of motion |

Newton's 1st Law of Motion | an object will not experience a change in motion without a net external force |

Newton's 2nd Law of Motion | acceleration of an object is proportional to net force and inversely proportional to the mass |

Newton's 3rd Law of Motion | Every action has an equal and opposite reaction |

Net Force | a sum of all forces acting on an object |

Equilibrium | the net force acting on an object is 0 |

Mass | the quantity of matter without regard to the forces acting on it |

Weight | a measure of the gravitational force exerted on an object |

Normal Force | a force that acts from a surface in a direction perpendicular to the surface |

Friction | force resisting motion |

Static Friction | force that resists the initiation of sliding motion between two surfaces that are in contact and at rest |

Kinetic Friction | force opposing relative movement between two surfaces that are in contact and sliding |

Coefficient of Friction | ratio of friction to the normal force |

Air Resistance | a force caused by air pulling the object in the opposite direction |

Terminal Velocity | constant velocity achieved when an accelerating force is balanced by air resistance |

Work | product of the component of the force along with the direction of displacement and magnitude |

Energy | the ability to cause change |

Kinetic Energy | energy an object has due to motion |

WKE Theorem | the net work done by all forces acting on an object is equal to the change in the object's kinetic energy |

Potential Energy | energy associated with an object due to position, shape or condition |

Gravitational Potential Energy | stored in gravitational fields of interacting bodies |

Spring Potential Energy | energy available for use when a deformed elastic object returns to its original configuration |

Spring Constant | stiffness of a spring, resistance to being stretched |

Mechanical Energy | sum of kinetic energy and all forms of potential energy |

Non-Mechanical Energy | nuclear, chemical, internal, electrical energy |

Conservation of Mechanical Energy | in the absence of friction, the total mechanical energy of a system remains the same |

Conservation of Total Energy | the total energy of an isolated system remains constant, and is only just converted to other forms |

Power | a quantity that measures the rate at which work is done or energy is transferred (watt) |