Physics Work Definitions

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electrical heating system

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Physics

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1

electrical heating system

a system that uses electricity to produce thermal energy for heating

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forced-air heating system

a system that moves hot air to heat a building

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hot water heating system

a system that uses hot water to heat a building

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4

geothermal system

a system that transfers thermal energy from under Earth's surface into a building to heat it, and transfers thermal energy from the building into the ground to cool the building

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5

proton

a positively charged particle in the nucleus of an atom

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6

neutron

an uncharged particle in the nucleus of an atom

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7

nucleons

particles in the nucleus of an atom; protons and neutrons

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electron

a negatively charged particle found in the space surrounding the nucleus of an atom

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9

ground state

state in which all electrons are at their lowest possible energy levels

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10

excited state

state in which one or more electrons are at higher energy levels than in the ground state

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isotope

a form of an element that has the same atomic number, but a different mass number than all other forms of that element

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12

radioisotope

an unstable isotope that spontaneously changes its nuclear structure and releases energy in the form of radiation

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radiation

energy released when the nucleus of an unstable isotope undergoes a change in structure

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radioactivity

a process by which the nucleus of an atom spontaneously disintegrates

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nuclear fission

the decomposition of large, unstable nuclei into smaller, more stable nuclei

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nuclear reaction

the process by which the nucleus of an atom sometimes changes

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17

electrostatic force

the force of attraction or repulsion due to electric charges

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18

strong nuclear force

the very strong force of attraction between nucleons

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19

radioactive decay

the process by which a radioactive atom's nucleus breaks apart and forms different atoms

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alpha decay

nuclear reaction in which an alpha particle is emitted

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21

alpha particle

a particle emitted during alpha decay; composed of a helium nucleus containing two protons and two neutrons

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22

parent atom

the reactant atom in a nuclear reaction

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23

daughter atom

the product atom in a nuclear reaction

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24

transmutation

a nuclear decay process in which daughter atoms are different elements from parent atoms

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25

beta decay

nuclear reaction in which a beta particle is emitted or captured

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beta particle

a high-energy electron or positron ejected or captured by a nucleus during beta decay

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27

positron

a particle with a positive charge and the same mass as an electron

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photon

a high-energy particle with no mass

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29

gamma decay

a reaction in which an excited nucleus returns to a lower, more stable energy state, releasing a very high-energy gamma ray in the process.

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half-life

the average length of time it takes radioactive material to decay to half of its original mass

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31

atomic mass unit

a unit of mass equal to 1.66 x 10^(-27) kg

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32

mega-electron volt

the energy required to accelerate an electron through a potential difference of 1 million volts; 1.602x10^(-13) J

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33

chain reaction

the repeated series of reactions in which the products of one reaction generate subsequent reactions

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34

calandria

core of the reactor, consisting of fuel bundles, control rods, and moderator

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fuel bundles

fuel elements consisting of uranium pellets

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control rods

adjustable cadmium rods used to control nuclear reaction rates

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37

moderator

heavy water used to slow neutrons and absorb thermal energy

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38

steam generator

absorbs thermal energy from the heavy water in the primary loop, producing steam

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primary loop

closed loop through which heavy water flows

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40

secondary loop

closed loop through which normal water, which becomes steam, flows

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41

Energy resource

energy-rich substances

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42

non-renewable energy source

a substance that cannot be replenished as it is used in energy-transforming processes

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43

renewable energy resource

a substance with an unlimited supply or a supply that can be replenished as the substance is used in energy-transforming processes

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44

fossil fuel

fuel produced by the decayed and compressed remains of plants that lived hundreds of millions of years ago

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45

nuclear fusion

a nuclear reaction in which the nuclei of two atoms fuse together to form a larger nucleus

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46

solar energy

radiant energy from the sun

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47

passive solar design

building design that uses the sun's radiant energy directly for heating

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48

photovoltaic cell

a device that transforms radiant energy into electrical energy

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49

hydroelectricity

electricity produced by transforming the kinetic energy of rushing water into electrical energy

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50

geothermal

  • thermal energy from deep underground; can be used directly or transformed into electrical energy

  • accessible only in certain areas

  • in some locations, deep holes need to be drilled into the ground to reach pockets of thermal energy

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51

wind

  • wind strikes the blades of a turbine, which turns an electricity generator that generates electrical energy

  • can only be used in windy locations

  • turbines are noisy, and the blades may strike birds and other wildlife

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52

tidal

  • energy generated from the rise and fall of tides/movement of water

  • may disrupt aquatic ecosystems

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53

biofuels

  • solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels derived from the bodies of living or dead plants and animals

  • can include wood, biological waste, and gases such as methane produced during the decomposition of plant matter

  • burning fuels may produce air pollutants; including carbon dioxide, which is linked to climate change

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54

work

a transfer of mechanical energy (scalar; measured in joules)

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55

joule

a unit of measurement of work and energy, equivalent to a newton times a metre

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56

energy

the capacity to do work (scalar; measured in joules)

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57

gravitational potential energy

the energy possessed by an object because of its position relative to a lower or higher position

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kinetic energy

the energy possessed by an object due to its motion

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power

the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit of time (scalar; measured in watts)

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watt

unit of measurement of power, equivalent to a joule divided by one second

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efficiency

the percentage of energy remaining after the energy transformation

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63

gasoline-powered vehicle

  • transforms chemical to kinetic energy

  • wastes thermal energy

  • 8-15% efficient

  • produces carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change

  • creates air pollution

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64

electric vehicle

  • transforms electrical to kinetic energy

  • wastes thermal energy 24-45% efficient

  • currently more expensive than gasoline vehicles more efficient than gasoline vehicles but uses heavy batters that must be constructed and discarded in special ways to limit environmental contamination

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65

bicycle

  • transforms kinetic energy from the pedal to kinetic energy in motion

  • wastes thermal energy 90% efficient

  • most efficient self powered vehicle

  • weather dependent

  • road safety issues

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66

loudspeakers

  • transforms electrical to sound energy

  • wastes thermal energy

  • 1% efficient

  • efficiency seems low, but useful output energy is more than enough to produce audible sound

  • most of electrical input is transformed into thermal energy

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67

electric heater

  • transforms electrical to thermal energy

  • wastes radiant energy

  • 98% efficient

  • very efficient transformer of electrical energy into thermal energy

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68

hydroelectric power plant

  • transforms kinetic to electrical energy

  • wastes thermal energy

  • 80% efficient

  • efficient method of generating electricity

  • damming rivers may flood land and disrupt ecosystems

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69

nuclear power plant

  • transforms nuclear to electrical energy

  • wastes thermal energy

  • 30-40% efficient

  • relatively efficient for generating electricity

  • produces radioactive waste

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70

solar cell

  • transforms radiant to electrical energy

  • wastes thermal energy

  • 20-40% efficient

  • relatively efficient for generating electricity

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71

photosynthesis

  • transforms radiant to chemical energy

  • wastes thermal energy

  • 5% efficient

  • although it seems relatively inefficient, its the only process that transforms radiant energy into chemical energy in organisms

  • directly or indirectly responsible for maintaining virtually all life on Earth

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72

animal muscles (including human muscles)

  • transforms chemical to kinetic energy

  • wastes thermal energy

  • 20% efficient

  • although it seems to be relatively inefficient, this energy-transforming process provides all the energy animals use to perform work

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73

thermal energy

the kinetic energy of the atom plus the energy between the attraction of the atom; the total quantity of kinetic and potential energy possessed by the atoms or molecules of a substance

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74

temperature

measure of the kinetic energy of atom

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75

heat

the transfer of thermal energy

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76

conduction

process of transferring heat by particle collision

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77

convection

process of transferring heat by a circulating path of fluid

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78

radiation

process of transferring heat through a wave form of electromagnetic radiant energy

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79

bad conductors of heat

wood, plastic

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80

good conductor of heat

metal

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81

specific heat capacity (c)

the amount of energy (heat) required to raise the temperature of 1kg of a substance by 1 degree celsius; measured in joules per kg times celsius

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82

kinetic molecular theory

  • all matter is made up of moving particles

  • each atom or molecule exert forces (attraction and repulsion) on each other

  • strength of force determines the overall state of the object

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83

latent heat

the amount of thermal energy absorbed or released during a change of state

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84

latent heat of fusion

the amount of thermal energy needed to melt or released to freeze an object; measured in joules

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85

latent heat of vaporization

the amount of thermal energy needed of vaporize or released to condense an object; measured in joules

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86

specific latent heat of fusion

the thermal energy required for 1kg of a substance to melt or freeze; measured in J/kg

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87

specific latent heat of vaporization

the thermal energy required for 1kg of a substance to vaporize or condense; measured in J/kg

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88

celsius scale

the temperature scale based on the boiling point and freezing point of water

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89

fahrenheit scale

the temperature scale based on the boiling point and freezing point of brine

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90

kelvin scale

the temperature scale developed using absolute zero as the point at which there is virtually no motion in the particles of a substance

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91

convection current

a current that occurs when a fluid is continuously heated; caused by warmer, less dense fluid being constantly pushed upward as colder, denser fluid falls downward

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