IGCSE Physics Glossary (S-Z)

secondary coil the coil in a transformer across which an emf is induced
sensitivity (of a measuring instrument) the minimum change that an instrument can measure
solenoid a long coil
south seeking pole the end of a magnet that points south when the magnet is freely suspended
specific heat capacity the energy required to change the temperature of unit mass of a material by 1 °C
specific latent heat of fusion the energy required to change unit mass of solid to liquid with no change in temperature
specific latent heat of vaporisation the energy required to change unit mass of liquid to vapour with no change in temperature
speed the distance travelled per unit time
step-down transformer a device that changes large potential difference into a smaller one
step-up transformer a device that changes a small potential difference into a larger one
terminal velocity the maximum speed of an object falling through a fluid
thermal capacity the energy required to change the temperature of a body by 1 °C
thermionic emission the emission of electrons from a hot metal
thermistor a device whose resistance changes when its temperature changes
thermocouple a device made up of two wires made from different materials that generates an emf when the junctions linking the wires are at different temperatures
total internal reflection the reflection of all the light incident on the interface between a dense and a rare medium back into the dense medium
transformer a device that changes the potential of an alternating current
transistor an electronic switch with three electrodes: the base, the controller and the emitter
transverse (wave) a wave in which the particles vibrate at right angles to the direction of the direction of travel of the wave
ultra violet part of the electromagnetic spectrum of waves that have wavelengths just shorter than those of visible light
vacuum a region in which there is no matter
variable resistor a resistor whose resistance may be altered
velocity the speed of an object in a particular direction
virtual image an image in which the rays of light do not pass through
visible light part of the electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes are sensitive to
volt (V) the unit of potential difference
voltmeter a meter used for measuring potential difference
watt (W) the unit of power; 1 watt is 1 joule per second
wavefront an imaginary line joining points on the crest of a wave
wavelength the distance between identical points on successive waves
weight the gravitational pull on an object
work work is done when a force moves in the direction of the force
x-rays part of the electromagnetic spectrum of waves that have very short wavelengths

 

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