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Unit 1.1 - Kinematics
Scalars and Vectors
A quantity in Physics is something that can be measured. Any quantity is either a scalar or a vector.
A scalar quantity is fully described by its Magnitude (size) including its unit of measurement.
A vector quantity is fully described by its Magnitude and its unit, INCLUDING its direction
Speed Velocity
Mass Weight
Distance Displacement
Energy (Kinetic, Potential etc.…read more

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A cyclist is going on a journey round a country road.
If the red line represents a country road, then the distance the bike has to travel is
If the green line represents the displacement, then the displacement of the whole journey is 2km.
Speed and Velocity.
The speed of an object is its rate of change of distance. This means the same as the distance moved
per second.…read more

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The velocity of an object is calculated by:…read more

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Both of these are represented by:
Adding scalars and vectors
Adding scalars is easy ­ the magnitudes add up.
Adding vectors is not so easy ­ the direction means we cannot just add the magnitudes.
We add vectors using diagrams. Vectors are drawn as arrows.
The length of the arrow represents the magnitude of the vector.
The direction of the arrow represents the direction of the vector.
When two or more vectors are added together, the answer is also a vector.…read more

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This routine is sometimes known as adding vectors "tip to tail".
Vector tip Vector tail
The acceleration of an objects it its change of velocity with time.…read more

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­ time taken (s)
The acceleration equation re-arranged for final speed is...
The acceleration equation re-arranged for initial speed is...
The acceleration equation re-arranged for time is...
Instantaneous & Average Speed
Average speed is a measure of the distance travelled in a given period of time. It is sometimes
referred to as the distance per time ratio.
Instantaneous speed is the speed at a particular moment in time.…read more

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Let's say you are going on a car journey. You travelled a distance of 5 miles and the trip lasted 0.2
hours (12 minutes). The average speed of your car can be found by using the speed, distance time
equation.…read more

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Your car may have been moving at speed of 25 miles per hour (this is an average speed)
BUT, during your trip, there may have been times that you were stopped and other times that your
speedometer was reading 50 miles per hour (this is an instantaneous speed).
Velocity time graph
The velocity of an object is
its speed in a particular
direction. This means that
two cars travelling at the
same speed, but in opposite
directions have different
velocities.…read more


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