IGCSE CIE Physics - SI Units
CHAPTER 1 Physical quantities and units
express derived units as products or quotients of the SI base units and use the named units listed in this syllabus as appropriate
use SI base units to check the homogeneity of physical equations
use the following prefixes and their symbols to indicate decimal submultiples or multiples of both base and derived units: pico (p), nano (n), micro (μ), milli (m), centi (c), deci (d), kilo (k), mega (M), giga (G), tera (T)
understand and use the conventions for labelling graph axes and table columns as set out in the ASE publication Signs, Symbols and Systematics (The ASE Companion to 16–19 Science, 2000)
Système International (SI)
Système International (SI) is the modern metric system.
SI units are the building blocks for other physical quantities -
E.g. Acceleration: meter / second 2 , Force(Newton, N): kg meter / second 2 , Energy joule(J): kg meter 2 / second- 2
If you start with some apples, you will never end up with bananas. Adding oranges and apples makes no sense - you must add same things; therefore:
E.g. for uniform accelerating motion: v = u + at , where all terms have the unit of speed. (check it!)
When each term has the same base units on the both sides of a equation, we say it is a homogeneous or balanced equation. In other words, when distance is at the left hand side some, but you end up with time on the right hand side, you must have made a mistake in the calculation.
E.g. E = mc2 : where LHS : joule = kg m2 s-2 (Joule expressed in base units) ; RHS : kg x (ms-1)2 = kg m2s-2 ; it is balanced. However, a balanced equation does not guarantee correctness, but an unbalanced one (that is, for an example, when you find some terms in meters, other terms in second ) is doomed to be wrong. There is just no way to get oranges from piling apples.
In IGCSE CIE Physics, there is a convention for writing column of data in tables and graph axes:
E.g. suppose we have record the speed of a car:
v / ms-1 : 30 , 60 , 90 , 120
t / s : 0 , 1 , 2 , 3
Multiplies and sub-multiplies
The quantities can have multiplies and sub-multiplies to cater for larger or smaller value.
E.g. km is simply 103 meters.
E.g. the volume of a tiny cube: 10 mm3 = 10 x (10-3)3 x m3 = 10-8 m3
That's all, see you next time! 🤘
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Written by Shing, Physics & Mathematics Specialist @ TUTTEE
Richard Woodside, Chris Mee - Cambridge International AS_A Level Physics Revision Education, 2nd Edition
David Sang, Graham Jones, Gurinder Chadha, Richard Woodside - Cambridge International AS and A Level Physics Coursebook, 2nd Edition
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