Thermal Physics and Gases Flashcards Preview

Physics A2 AQA (includes astro option) > Thermal Physics and Gases > Flashcards

Flashcards in Thermal Physics and Gases Deck (42)
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When is energy transferred between two objects?

When one exerts a force on the other and makes it move so has done work on the other object. One object is hotter than the other so energy transfer by heating takes place by conduction, convection or radiation.


Why do brake pads heat up when applying brakes to a moving vehicle?

The work done by the frictional force between the brake pads and the wheel heats the brake pads, which gain energy from the kinetic energy of the vehicle. The temperature of the brake pads increases as a result and the internal energy of each pad increases.


Define internal energy

The sum of the random distribution of the kinetic and potential energies of the object’s molecules


Define thermal energy

Internal energy of an object due to temperature


When does the internal energy of an object increase?

When energy is transferred by heating the object. Work is done on the object, eg by electricity


When is the internal energy of an object constant?

Either there is no energy transfer by heating and no work is done. Or the energy transferred by heating and work done balance each other out.


First law of thermodynamics

When work is done on or by an object and/or energy is transferred by heating, the change of internal energy of the object equals the total energy transfer due to work done and heating.


Define thermal equilibrium

No overall heat transfer occurs between two objects at the same temperature.


Define absolute zero

The lowest possible temperature, the temperature at which an object has minimum internal energy.


Define specific heat capacity

The energy needed to raise the temperature of 1kg of a substance by 1K without a change of state


Melting point

The temperature at which a pure substance melts


Boiling point

The temperature at which a pure liquid at atmospheric pressure boils.


Specific latent heat of fusion

The energy needed to change the state of 1kg of a solid to a liquid without a change in temperature. If not specific then any mass.


Specific latent heat of vaporisation

The energy needed to change the state of 1kg of a liquid to a gas without a change in temperature. If not specific then any mass.



The change of state when a solid changes to a gas directly.


Temperature against time graph for pure solid heated at constant rate.

Straight diagonal line up to melting point, then flat line, then straight diagonal line as liquid.


What kind of energy changes when a substance changes state?

Its potential energy.


What are the energy changes when something falls?

The gravitational potential energy of the falling object is converted into internal energy when it hits the bottom. The gain of internal energy is q=mcT


Define pressure

The force per unit area a gas exerts normally (right angles) on a surface.


Boyle’s law + explain

For fixed mass of gas at constant temperature.
The pressure is increased by reducing the volume because the gas molecules travel less distance between impacts at the walls so more impacts per second so pressure is greater.


Charles’s law

V/T = constant
For a fixed mass of gas at a constant pressure


What is the work done on a gas?

Pressure times change in volume
So area under pressure against volume graph


Pressure law + explain

For a fixed mass of gas at a constant volume.
The pressure is increased by raising the temperature as the average speed of the molecules is increased so impacts on container walls are harder and more frequent so pressure increases.


Brownian motion

The random and unpredictable movement of a particle caused by molecules of the surrounding substance colliding at random with the particle.


Define Avogadro constant

The number of atoms in 12g of the carbon isotope C-12


What is 1 atomic mass unit, u?

1/12 of the mass of a C-12 atom


What is a mole?

The quantity of a substance that contains the Avogadro number of identical particles of the substance



The number of moles in a certain quantity of a substance


Molar mass

The mass of one mole of a substance


Ideal gas equation

pV/T = constant
For one mole the constant is R (8.31J/mol/K)