Yr 10 Physics iGCSE: Revision Notes 2
Formulae you need to know are in bold.
1. MOTION GRAPHS 
2. FORCES 
3. WORK, ENERGY, AND POWER 
4. MOMENTUM 
5. STATIC ELECTRICITY 
6. ELECTRIC CURRENT 
7. MAINS ELECTRICITY 
8. ELECTRICAL POWER 
9. ATOMIC STRUCTURE BY RUTHERFORD SCATTERING 
10.NUCLEAR FISSION AND NUCLEAR REACTORS 
11. DENSITY 
1 Motion Graphs
The slope or gradient of a distancetime graph represents speed.
The velocity of a body is its speed in a given direction, velocity is a vector.
NB other examples of vectors are force, acceleration, momentum.
quantities with no specified direction are called scalars
NB examples of scalars are energy, time, distance, temperature, etc
average velocity = total distance / total time, v = d/t
acceleration = change in velocity / time taken, a = v  u / t
The slope(gradient) of a velocitytime graph = acceleration.
The area under a velocitytime graph = distance travelled.
Force is a vector (like velocity, it has size and direction)
Distance or speed are called scalars, they have size but not direction.
The faster a body moves through a fluid the greater
the opposing frictional force which acts on it.
A body falling through a fluid will initially accelerate
due to gravity, eventually the resultant force on the body
will be zero, and it will fall at its terminal velocity.
at terminal velocity Weight down = Friction up
weight = mass Χ gravitational field strength, W = mg
(newton, N) (kilogram, kg) (newton/kilogram, N/kg)
Whenever two bodies interact, the forces they exert
on each other are equal & opposite (Newton's Third Law)
A number of forces acting on a body may be replaced by
a single force which has the same effect as the original set
of forces. The single force is called the resultant force (here in red):
If the resultant force acting on a stationary body is zero,
it is either at rest, or moving at a steady speed.
If the resultant force acting on a stationary body is not zero,
the body will accelerate in the direction of the resultant force.
Resultant force = mass Χ acceleration, OR, F = ma
(newton, N) (kilogram, kg) (metre per second squared m / s^{2 })
When a vehicle travels at a steady speed the frictional
forces balance the driving force (zero resultant force).
Stopping distance = braking distance + thinking distance.
Typical Stopping Distances 


A drivers reaction time is affected by tiredness, age, drugs, or alcohol.
A vehicles braking distance depends on the brakes, tyres, the road, and weather.
3 Work, Energy, Power
When a force causes a body to move through a distance,
energy is transferred, and work is done.
work done = force Χ distance moved in direction of force, W = F x d
(joule, J) (newton, N) (metre, m)
Work done against frictional forces is mainly changed into heat.
Squashed materials have elastic potential energy stored in them.
The kinetic energy of a body depends on its mass and its speed.
kinetic energy = ½ x mass x v^{2} , KE = ½ m v^{2}
(joule, J) (kilogram, kg) (metre/second^{)2 ,} (m/s)^{2 })
Gravitational Potential Energy GPE depends on height and weight:
GPE = weight x height , GPE = m g h
(Joule J, Newtons N, metres m)
Power = work done / time taken, P = W / t
P = Work / t or Energy / t , units are Watts
momentum = mass Χ velocity , mom. = mv
(kilogram metre/second, kg m/s) (kilogram, kg) ( m/s)
Momentum has both size and direction (another vector)
When a force acts on a body a change in momentum occurs.
Momentum is conserved in any collision/explosion,
provided no external forces act,
ie. momentum before collision = momentum after collision
force = change in momentum / time taken for change, F = mv  mu / t
we use this equation to explain why the force is large when the impact time is small
in a collision.
When materials are rubbed against each other they can
become electrically charged. Negatively charged electrons
are rubbed off one material onto the other.
The material that gains electrons becomes negatively charged.
The material that loses electrons has an equal positive charge.
Two charged bodies will exert a force on each other.
Like charges repel, unlike charges attract.
Electric charges move easily through metals (conductors), but not through insulators.
The rate of flow of electric charge is called the current.
current in a wire is a flow of negatively charged electrons
current I = charge / time, OR, Q = I t
(Amps) (Coulombs) (seconds)
A charged body can be discharged by connecting it to earth
with a conductor. Charge then flows through the conductor.
The greater the charge on an isolated body the greater the potential
difference between the body and earth. If the pd is high enough a
spark may jump to earth.
Electrostatic charges can be useful, eg in photocopiers and ink jet printers.
Currentpotential difference graphs are used to show how
current through a component varies with pd across it.
A resistor A filament lamp A diode
The current through a resistor (at a constant temperature)
is proportional to the voltage across the resistor.
Voltage = current Χ resistance, V = I R
(volt, V) (ampere, A) (ohm, Ω)
The resistance of a filament lamp increases as the
temperature of the filament increases.
The current through a diode flows in one direction only.
The diode has a very high resistance in the reverse direction.
The resistance of a lightdependent resistor (LDR)
decreases as light intensity increases.
The resistance of a thermistor decreases as the temperature increases.
The current through a component depends on its resistance,
the greater the resistance the smaller the current.
The voltage from cells in series is the sum of the voltage of each cell.
Rules for components connected in series like below:
− total resistance = sum of the resistance of each component
− there is the same current through each component
− the total voltage of the supply is shared between the components.
Rules for components connected in parallel:
− voltage across each component is the same
− the total current through the whole circuit is the sum
of the currents through the separate components.
in series circuits if 1 item fails, all items turn off, in parallel circuits
other items still work, ALSO all items can be switched independently so
parallel wiring for lighting is preferred.
Cells and batteries supply current which always passes in
the same direction. This is called direct current (d.c.).
An alternating current (a.c.) is one which is constantly
changing direction. Mains electricity is an a.c. supply.
In the UK it has a frequency of 50 cycles per second (50 Hz).
UK mains supply is about 230 volts.
Know the structure and wiring colours of a threepin plug.
If an electrical fault causes too great a current, the circuit
should be switched off by a fuse or a circuit breaker.
When the current in a fuse wire exceeds its rating the
fuse will melt, breaking the circuit.
in a circuit breaker a magnetic force acts to break the circuit (this
has the advantage of a quick reset)
Appliances with metal cases are usually earthed. The earth
wire and fuse together protect the appliance and the user
Plastic cased appliances need no earth (they are said to be double insulated)
The live terminal of the mains supply alternates between
positive and negative potential with respect to the neutral terminal.
The neutral terminal stays at a potential close to zero
with respect to earth.
Electric current is the rate of flow of charge.
When an electrical charge flows through a resistor,
electrical energy is transformed into heat energy.
power = energy transformed / time taken, P = E / t
Power, voltage and current are related by the equation:
power = voltage x current, P = VI
(watt, W) (ampere, A) (volt, V)
Energy = power x time, so:
energy = voltage x current x time, E = VIt = VQ.
Voltage is the energy transferred per Coulomb of charge flowing
1 VOLT = 1 JOULE / 1 COULOMB
9 Atomic structure by Rutherford Scattering
Remember the structure of an atom from Year 9  Rutherford, an English physicist is credited
with doing the experimental work which established the so called 'nuclear model' :
In RUTHERFORD SCATTERING alpha particles are fired at a thin gold foil.
● Most alphas go straight through unaffected.
● A small number are reflected through large angles
● A tiny number bounce directly backwards.
From these observations we deduce:
● an atom is mostly empty space
● all of the positive charge and most of the mass is concentrated in a
tiny dense nucleus
● negatively charged electrons are in orbits around the nucleus
There are two fissionable substances in common use
in nuclear reactors, uranium 235 and plutonium 239.
Nuclear fission is the splitting of an atomic nucleus.
For fission to occur the uranium 235 or plutonium 239 (blue in the diagram below)
nucleus must first absorb a neutron (red in the diagram):
The nucleus undergoing fission splits into two smaller
nuclei (yellow in the diagram) and 2 or 3 neutrons and energy is released.
The neutrons may go on to start a chain reaction, AS ABOVE.
In a nuclear reactor (below), the uranium or plutonium is contained in fuel rods. Fissions occur
inside these rods producing fast neutrons and causing heating.,
the moderator (usually water) is used to slow down the fast neutrons to increase the chances
of further fissions occurring (to promote a chain reaction)
the control rods (usually boron) are lowered to absorb neutrons to reduce the reaction
or to shut down the reactor.
The fission fragments (the leftovers after a fission reaction) are highly radioactive with long half lives,
this is the radioactive waste from a reactor and disposal is a problem.
Density of an object = its mass divided by its volume,
Density = mass / volume ρ = m / V
(kg/m^{3}) (kg) (m^{3})
You should be able to describe an experiment to measure the density of an object
involving measurements of its mass, and its volume.