BBC Bitesize AQA Physics Unit 1a

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BBC GCSE Bitesize
Part 1
Electricity is a very convenient form of energy that can be generated using different energy resources.
Some of these resources are renewable and some are non-renewable. Each resource has advantages and
Fossil fuels
Fossil fuels for power stations
Physics Unit 1a

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BBC GCSE Bitesize
Energy transfer for the generation of electricity from a fossil fuel
The fossil fuels are coal, oil and natural gas. They are fuels because they release heat energy when they are
burned. They are fossil fuels because they were formed from the remains of living organisms millions of
years ago.
About three-quarters of the electricity generated in the UK comes from power stations fuelled by fossil fuels.…read more

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Nuclear fuels
You should be able to outline how electricity is generated using nuclear fuels.
Uranium and plutonium
The main nuclear fuels are uranium and plutonium. These are radioactive metals. Nuclear fuels are not burnt
to release energy. Instead, the fuels are involved in nuclear reactions in the nuclear reactor, which leads to
heat being released.
The rest of the process of generating electricity is then identical to the process using fossil fuels. The heat
energy is used to boil water.…read more

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A wind turbine
Wind turbines have huge blades mounted on a tall tower. The blades are connected to a nacelle or housing
that contains gears linked to a generator. As the wind blows, it transfers some of its kinetic energy to the
blades, which turn and drive the generator. Several wind turbines may be grouped together in windy locations
to form wind farms.
Wind is a renewable energy resource and there are no fuel costs. No harmful polluting gases are produced.…read more

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Hydroelectric power (HEP)
Like tidal barrages, hydroelectric power stations use the kinetic energy in moving water. But the water comes
from behind a dam built across a river valley. The water high up behind the dam contains gravitational
potential energy. This is transferred to kinetic energy as the water rushes down through tubes inside the dam.
The moving water drives electrical generators, which may be built inside the dam.…read more

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How a generating station creates energy
Geothermal energy is a renewable energy resource and there are no fuel costs. No harmful polluting gases
are produced.
Most parts of the world do not have suitable areas where geothermal energy can be exploited.
Solar energy
You should be able to outline how solar energy is used to generate electricity and to produce hot water.…read more

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Solar-powered ticket machine
Solar cells are devices that convert light energy directly into electrical energy. You may have seen small solar
cells in calculators. Larger arrays of solar cells are used to power road signs in remote areas, and even larger
arrays are used to power satellites in orbit around Earth.
Solar panels
Solar panels do not generate electricity, but rather they heat up water.…read more

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Resources compared
You should be able to compare and contrast the different energy resources used to produce electricity. You
may be given information in the examination for you to discuss.
Power stations
Power stations fuelled by fossil fuels or nuclear fuels are reliable sources of energy. This means they can
provide power whenever it is needed. However, their start-up times vary according to the type of fuel used.…read more

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Heat Transfer
And Efficiency
Heat can be transferred from place to place by conduction, convection and radiation. Dark matt surfaces
are better at absorbing heat energy than light shiny surfaces. Heat energy can be lost from homes in many
different ways and there are ways of reducing these heat losses.
There are several different types of energy, and these can be transferred from one type to another. Energy
transfer diagrams show the energy transfers in a process.…read more

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Thermogram of a pan being heated on a stove
Heat energy can move through a substance by conduction. Metals are good conductors of heat, but
non-metals and gases are usually poor conductors of heat. Poor conductors of heat are called insulators.
Heat energy is conducted from the hot end of an object to the cold end.
The electrons in piece of metal can leave their atoms and move about in the metal as free electrons.…read more


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