## Physics

##### Created by:

muleau  on June 19, 2010

##### Description:

Basic physics vocabulary

Uleau's science

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# Physics

 distancehow far an object has moved
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#### Definitions

distance how far an object has moved
displacement distance and direction of an object's change in position
speed distance an object travels per unit of time
average speed total distance traveled divided by the total time of travel
instantaneous speed speed at a given point in time
velocity speed and direction of an object's motion--measured in meters per second
acceleration rate of change in velocity--measured in meters per second squared
force push or pull on an object
net force the sum of the forces that are acting on an object
balanced forces forces equal in size and opposite in direction
inertia tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion
friction force that opposes the sliding motion of two surfaces that are touching each other
static friction frictional force that prevents two surfaces from sliding past each other
sliding friction force that opposes two surfaces sliding past each other
air resistance opposes the motion of objects that move through the air
gravity attractive force between any two objects that depends on masses of objects and distance between them
weight gravitational force exerted on an object
centripetal acceleration acceleration toward the center of a curved or circular path
centripetal force net force exerted toward the center of a curved path
momentum product of an object's mass and velocity--measured in kilogramsmeters per second (kgm/s)
kinetic energy energy a moving object has because of its motion
joule unit of energy
potential energy stored energy due to position
elastic potential energy energy stored by something that can stretch or compress
chemical potential energy energy stored in chemical bonds
gravitational potential energy energy stored by objects due to their position above earth's surface
mechanical energy total amount of potential and kinetic energy in a system
law of conservation of energy energy cannot be created or destroyed
thermal energy sum of kinetic and potential energy in all the particles in an object
temperature measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in the object
heat thermal energy that flows from something at a higher temperature to something at a lower temperature
specific heat amount of heat needed to raise temperature of 1 kg of some material by 1 Celsius
conduction transfer of thermal energy by collisions between particles in matter
convection transfer of thermal energy in a fluid by the movement of warmer and cooler fluid from place to place
radiation transfer of energy by electromagnetic waves
insulator material in which heat flows slowly
solar collector device used in an active solar heating system that absorbs radiant energy from the Sun.
first law of thermodynamics increase in thermal energy of a system=work done on the system plus heat transferred to the system
second law of thermodynamics it's impossible for heat to flow from a cool object to a warmer object unless work is done
heat engine any device that converts heat into work
internal combustion engine an engine that burns fuel inside cylinders within the engine
static electricity accumulation of excess electric charge on an object
law of conservation of charge charge can be transferred from object to object, but it can't be created or destroyed
conductor material in which electrons are able to move easily
insulator material in which electrons are not able to move easily
charging by contact process of transferring charge by touching or rubbing
charging by induction the rearrangement of electrons on a neutral object caused by a nearby charged object
electric current net movement of electric charges in a single direction
voltage difference related to force that causes electric charges to flow--measured in volts
circuit closed path that electric current follows
resistance tendency for a material to oppose flow of electrons, changing electrical energy into thermal energy and light--measured in ohms
Ohm's law current in circuit=voltage difference divided by resistance
series circuit a circuit in which all parts are connected in a single loop
parallel circuit a closed electrical circuit in which the current is divided into two or more paths and then returns via a common path to complete the circuit
electric power the rate at which electrical energy is converted to another form of energy
magnetism refers to properties and interactions of magnets
magnetic field exerts force on other magnets and objects made of magnetic materials
magnetic poles where magnetic force exerted by magnet is strongest
magnetic domains groups of atoms with aligned magnetic poles
electromagnet a temporary magnet made by coiling wire around an iron core
solenoid single wire wrapped into a cylindrical wire coil
galvanometer instrument that uses an electromagnet to measure electric current
electric motor device that changes electrical energy into mechanical energy
electromagnetic induction the process of creating a current in a circuit by changing a magnetic field
generator uses electromagnetic induction to transform mechanical energy to electrical energy
turbine large wheel that rotates when pushed by wind, water, or steam
direct current (DC) current in which the electrons move in one direction
alternating current (AC) current in which the electrons move back and forth
transformer device that increases or decreases the voltage of an alternating current
step up transformer transformer that increases the voltage so that the output voltage is greater than the input voltage
step down transformer transformer that decreases the voltage so that the output voltage is less than the input voltage
wave repeating disturbance or movement that transfers energy through matter or space
medium matter waves travel through
transverse wave matter in medium moves back and forth at right angles
compressional waves matter in medium moves back and forth along same direction wave travels
crests alternating high points in a wave
troughs alternating low points in a wave
rarefaction less-dense region of a compressional wave
wavelength distance between 1 point on a wave and the nearest point just like it
frequency the number of wavelengths that pass a fixed point each second
period amount of time it takes 1 wavelength to pass a point
amplitude related to the energy carried by a wave
refraction bending of a wave caused by a change in its speed as it moves from one medium to another
diffraction occurs when an object causes a wave to change direction and bend around it
interference when 2 or more waves overlap and combine to form a new wave
standing wave the resultant of two wave trains of the same wavelength, frequency and amplitude, traveling in opposite directions through the same medium
resonance process by which an object is made to vibrate by absorbing energy at its natural frequencies
eardrum the membrane in the ear that vibrates to sound
cochlea the snail-shaped tube (in the inner ear coiled around the modiolus) where sound vibrations are converted into nerve impulses by the Organ of Corti
intensity the amount of energy that flows through a certain area in a given amount of time
loudness human perception of sound intensity
decibel unit for sound intensity
ultrasonic waves sound frequencies above 20,000 Hz
Doppler effect change in pitch or wave frequency due to a moving wave source
music made of sounds deliberately used in a regular pattern
sound quality Differences among sounds of the same pitch and loudness
overtone a natural frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental tone's frequency
resonator hollow chamber that amplifies sound when air is vibrated
acoustics the study of the physical properties of sound
echolocation process of which objects are located by emitting sounds and interpreting sound waves that are reflected back
sonar a system that uses sound waves to measure distances and locate objects.
electromagnetic waves made by vibrating electric charges; can travel through space where matter is not present
radiant energy energy carried by electromagnetic wave
photon an electromagnetic wave that behaves as a particle
radio waves low-frequency electromagnetic waves with wavelengths longer than about 1 millimeter
infrared waves type of electromagnetic wave with wavelengths between about 1 mm and about 750 billionths of a meter
visible light Electromagnetic radiation that can be seen with the unaided eye
ultraviolet waves electromagnetic waves with wavelengths from about 400 billionths to 10 billionths of a meter
X rays have wavelengths between about ten billionths and ten trillionths of a meter
gamma rays electromagnetic waves shorter than about 10 trillionths of a meter are gamma rays
carrier wave specific frequency a radio station is assigned
cathode-ray tube sealed vacuum tube in which 1 or more beams of electrons are produced
GPS (Global Positioning System) system of satellites, ground monitoring stations, and receivers that determine your exact location at or above earth's surface
opaque only absorbs and reflects light; no light passes through it
translucent material that allows some light to pass through it; can't see clearly through translucent materials
transparent transmit all light striking object; can see clearly
index of refraction property of the material that indicates how much the speed of light in the material is reduced
mirage image of a distant object produced by the refraction of light through air layers of different densities
pigment colored material used to change color of other substances
incandescent light generated by heating a piece of metal until it glows
fluorescent light uses phosphors to convert ultraviolet radiation to visible light
sodium-vapor lights used for streetlights and other outdoor lighting; contains a tube with a mixture of neon gas, argon gas, and sodium metal
tungsten-halogen lights sometimes used to create intensely bright light
coherent light light of only 1 wavelength that travels with its crests and troughs aligned
incoherent light can contain more than 1 wavelength, and its electromagnetic waves are not aligned
polarized light waves vibrate in only one direction
holography technique that produces a hologram--a complete three-dimensional photographic image of an object
total internal reflection occurs when light strikes a boundary between two materials and is completely reflected
plane mirror a smooth, flat mirror
virtual image an image the brain perceives even though no light passes through it
concave mirror mirror's surface is curved inward
optical axis imaginary straight line drawn perpendicular to the surface of the mirror at its center
focal length distance from center of mirror to focal point
real image formed when light rays converge to form the image
convex mirror mirror that curves outward
convex lens thicker in the middle than at the edges
concave lens thinner in the middle; thicker at edges
cornea transparent covering on eyeball which light enters through
retina inner lining of your eye
refracting telescope uses 2 convex lenses
reflecting telescope uses concave mirror, plane mirror, and convex lens
microscope uses 2 convex lenses with short focal lengths to magnify small close objects
strong force causes protons and neutrons to be attracted to each other
alpha particle made of 2 protons and neutrons(also known as 4-2 He)
transmutation process of changing one element to another through nuclear decay
beta particle electron emitted from the nucleus
gamma rays electromagnetic waves with the highest frequencies and the shortest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum
half-life amount of time it takes for half the nuclei in a sample of the isotope to decay
cloud chamber used to detect alpha or beta particle radiation; filled with water or ethanol vapor
bubble chamber holds superheated liquid; doesn't boil because pressure in chamber is too high
Geiger counter device that measures amount of radiation by producing electric current when it detects a charged particle
nuclear fission process of splitting a nucleus into several smaller nuclei
chain reaction series of repeated fission reactions caused by release of neutrons in each reaction
critical mass amount of material required to maintain chain reaction
nuclear fusion two nuclei with low masses combine to form one nucleus of larger mass
tracer a radioisotope used to find or keep track of molecules in an organism

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