More on Waves

Electromagnetic Wave Practicals

Inductiveload, NASA [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the uses of UV radiation is a security feature of bank notes. Shining UV radiation on to the bank note causes them to fluoresce (the atoms in the material take in the UV radiation and re-emits it as light which we can see)

Look at how advanced the fluorescing shapes and colours are.

Experiments- Uses of UV to check the authenticity of bank notes

IR cameras are used by the police to track for criminals at night but they are also really useful to the fire brigade at finding people in smoked filled buildings, you can’t hide behind a bin bag and even a hand print can leave a “heat print”.

You can’t hide in a bin bag if someone has the IR camera on you!

Did you know you can be on the radio? Not very musical but it can drown out Radio Scotland.

Do try this at home, use cheese marshmallows or chocolate but you need to take the turntable out and DON’T put things on a metal tray!

The electromagnetic (em) spectrum is a collection of transverse waves that all travel at the same speed in air, the speed of light, 300 000 000 m/s. (equivalent to 7.5 times round the Earth every second)

One of the waves is VISIBLE LIGHT

A=amplitude λ = wavelength



The only difference between each of these waves is their wavelength or frequency. They all fit the formula

Speed= frequency × wavelength

v=f λ

The order is important and to remember it use the following rhyme!

Randy                  Radio & TV

Monkeys              Microwaves

Invade                 Infrared

Venezuela           Visible

Using                   Ultraviolet

Xylophone           X-rays

Gunships             Gamma

Period, T, is the time for one wave to pass a point and is measured in seconds.

Frequency, f is the number of waves being produced or passing a point per second. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz)

Here are lots of resources for you to check and practice. My utmost apologies if I have not credited people for sending this material. As soon as I know who you are I will thank you personally.


Virtual Flash Video

The audio can be turned off it is annoys. Here is the Virtual converted to an mp4 if I can get it to work. If people comment and find them useful I can do the rest.



This is the main Radiation post. Start here!

Thanks to Miss Horn for the Radiation Notes. Worked Answers to follow.

From Helpmyphysics


Fusion is the process when two SMALL NUCLEI join to form a LARGER NUCLEI with the production of ENERGY


Fission is the process when two large nuclei split to form two smaller nuclei with the production of energy. This can occur spontaneously or due to a collision with a neutron. Often extra neutrons are produced.

Chain Reaction

When neutrons split nuclei by fission and extra neutrons are produced which can split further nuclei. Large quantities of energy are produced.

Reducing exposure to ionising radiation.

There are 3 groups of category to reduce harm caused by radiation:


Monitor includes things like wearing radiation badges or EPUs, timing how long you are exposed to radiation, checking with radiation counters any contamination on clothes.

Shielding is placing layers of absorbers between you and the source, BEWARE, goggles and a lab coat are great at protecting against alpha but have no effect on gamma. Only thick layers of lead would offer protection against gamma.

Distance. Radiation obeys the inverse square law, as you double the distance from a source the level you are exposed to decreases by ¼ . Using tongs is an effective method of keeping your distance from a source.

When it goes wrong

Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster 1986- Effects and Summary

Chernobyl Surviving Disaster (BBC Drama Documentary)

Chernobyl Questions
  1. What date was the Chernobyl Disaster?
  2. What was the name of the man who hanged himself at the start, who was narrating the story?
  3. Which reactor blew?
  4. What was the cause of the accident?
  5. How many people went to see what had happened?
  6. What happened to the people who saw the hole in the reactor?
  7. What day of the week was the disaster?
  8. What town was evacuated?
  9. How did they drain the water from the reactor?
  10. How did they put out the fire?
  11. What was the reading on the counter when they measured the radiation levels?
  12. Why was this reading misleading and wrong?
  13. What was the real count when it was measured correctly?
  14. What were some of the symptoms of radiation poisoning?
  15. Who was sent to prison for crimes to do with the disaster? (or record how many people went to jail)
  16. Who was president of the USSR when the disaster occurred?
  17. What was the trigger that caused the man to hang himself?
  18. What is the “elephant’s foot?” in the reactor?
  19. Have there been any other nuclear disasters? Can you find out about them and name them?
  20. What other things did you learn about nuclear power stations and radioactivity?
updated October 2020

Radiation 2

Here are some videos and powerpoint shows that I’ve made for the NPA but the outcomes are the same as those in N5 Physics. Thanks to John Sharkey for the use of the Virtual Flash Physics (Int 2) and to Julian Hamm of furryelephant for the animations of ionising an atom.


If you haven’t done much Chemistry and you don’t know the process of how chemical elements are described, I suggest you check out the video below.

With thanks to Julian Hamm
After watching the video can you mix and match the effects of the radiation.
There are a few booboo’s such as given below and I say we put a beta particle instead of a beta source in the cloud chamber! But as I’ve already spent a day on this I had better move on!

NB In the video above I know totally that photographs were taken well before 1896, the first being taken in 1826. Henri Becquerel discovered that Uranium, a naturally radioactive element fogs photographic film.

June 2020

Protactinium Half Life Experiment

Using John Sharkey’s Virtual Animations I complete the Half Life of Protactinium 234. The sound needs to be turned down after the first 60 s

This is the draft copy of the Half Life Experiment until I can take out all the noise. I might redo it a third time!

The first one is from the Flash Animations

Using John Sharkey’s Physics Animations
Using John Sharkey’s Flash Learning Virtual Int 2

This one below is from the Int 2 Virtual Physics. No sound, but a few notifications for Teams!

June 2020

Indium-116 half life experiment

I hope that I am not breaking any rules, but these great resources no longer appear to be online. Can’t believe they are 20 years old!

The first photos show the background count rate, a reading of counts taken over a 1 minute period. The source is then taken out at 9:00 am and a count taken between 9:00 and 9:01, readings are then taken every 15 mins.

Time & CounterClose up ratemeter
Photo missing
count rate= 570

Background count   
Time Time from startCount ratecorrected count

June 2020

Explain this!

Here is an experiment

Various materials of the same mass (500g) are crushed, placed in a boil in the bag bag and placed in boiling water until they have reached equilibrium. They are they removed rapidly and placed into a beaker with a known volume of water and a known temperature. The highest temperature they reach is recorded.

Describe what will happen to the temperature of the beakers when the bags are placed in them.

Why are the bags left in the boiling water for a long time?

Why must you be quick moving the bags into the beakers of water at room temperature?

What would happen if water got trapped in the top of the bag when moving them?

Why are the materials crushed and not a solid lump?

Could this be used to find a value for the specific heat capacity? If so, how.

Here is the video on SPECIFIC HEAT CAPACITY based on John Sharkey’s Virtual National 5 Physics

Learning Outcome Questions.

At last I’ve completed the LOQ. I am sure I’ll find mistakes when I produce the answers. I will get those done a.s.a.p, but they take a lot longer to type up than write up.

When completing these questions there is no point in just going straight to the answers, it wont teach you anything. Use the answers after you’ve completed what you can do and had a good guess at what you can’t. Mark in green anything you’ve had to look up.


Complete book of outcome questions

Final version of the Learning Outcome Questions that are matched to the compendium

Individual Sections





Properties of Matter



This also contains some bonus material on problem solving questions. You’ll find these in every paper.

December 2019

Learning Outcome Answers

This contains the N5 Physics Self Assessment Answers for each unit. Revise with these or use as homework

There is absolutely no point in just copying out the answers. There is an important requirement in checking your answers carefully to ensure you haven’t made a mistake and that you’ve understood the course specifications and the learning outcomes.

Only check over the answer when you’ve completed a section and mark them in green pen.

Advice from the SQA

From the Understanding Standards Meeting I went to Physics teachers were advised to tell their students NOT to add in the rearranging line for their calculations. Just do the formula, substitution and final line. For some of you this will involve too many steps so you might want to cross out any middle lines. I’ve shown mine in these answers to hopefully give you more help as to how to get to the answer.

All Units (the maths bit)


Finally finished, but I’ll need to edit out the duplicates but I’ll do that with the updated booklet so the numbers match. (updated 22nd June 2020) Not sure when they will get done, it might be a 2021 version




Properties of Matter

20/12/19 finished

Radioactivity & Variables Questions

Finished 27/07/20

Please if you find mistakes in my answers please add a comment below.

I will now need to go through and make a 2021 booklet of questions and answers with the corrections. This is a long slow process! I hope you find them useful, then it will have all been worthwhile…… Now I need to start the Higher ones!

July 2020

Waves Learning Outcome Questions

Here are the Waves Learning outcome questions which will help you through your revision. They can also be found in the Learning outcome section in the Course Material drop down menu. Answers are on here too, but copying from the answers is a pointless activity. Hopefully by completing all of these questions you will have produced an excellent set of revision notes from which to revise.

You can always use these in electronic version to answer the questions but DON’T think you’ll produce one set between you and copy!


Updated Jan 2021

Dynamics 2018

The latest version February 2020

This is the updated version of the Dynamics booklet, updated to match the 2017 SQA changes.

The materials below I’ve just uploaded from my Intermediate 2 folder and thought some of this might be useful. It’s a quick upload and I’ll sort it out when the rest of the development work is completed (hahaha). Currently I’ve a prelim to write and get copied for two weeks time.

Here are some practice questions with worked answers and 6 to a page diagram of the sky diving graph

24th August 2020

Learn these Experiment

Thanks to S Gray, Drummond Community High School,  for putting together this book of experiments that you should have covered in your N5 Physics lessons. Any of these could be discussed in your exam as a question.

Required Experiments v3



Mrs Physics and Ms Horn are working on the last unit for the N5 course- the new Space Topic.
There have been several changes from the previous outcomes. This ought to be the most up to date work.

You can read about some of the risks of human spaceflight in the infographic below.

Infographic: Some of the most harrowing space disasters that have occurred.

Source All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

Here are a few links and documents. Hope you can get access to them. of Universe Timeline


Quantity Symbol, Unit and Unit Symbol

I’ve put together, with Mrs Mac’s help, a document with quantity, symbol, unit and unit symbol so that you know the meaning of the terms in the Relationships Sheet. It is in EXCEL so that you can sort it by course, quantity or symbol.

Quantity, Symbol, Units  the excel sheet

Quantity, Symbol, Units N5 a pdf sheet sorted by course and then alphabetical by quantity.

Quantity, Symbol, Unit, Unit Symbol N5-AH

NHAPhysical Quantity symUnitUnit Abb.
5absorbed dose D gray Gy
5absorbed dose rate H (dot)gray per second gray per hour gray per year Gys-1 Gyh -1 Gyy-1
567acceleration a metre per second per second m s-2
567acceleration due to gravity g metre per second per second m s-2
5activity A becquerel Bq
567amplitude A metre m
567angle θ degree °
567area A square metre m2
567average speedv (bar)metre per second m s-1
567average velocity v (bar)metre per second m s-1
567change of speed ∆v metre per second m s-1
567change of velocity ∆v metre per second m s-1
5count rate - counts per second (counts per minute) -
567current I ampere A
567displacement s metre m
567distance dmetre, light year m , ly
567distance, depth, height d or h metre m
5effective dose H sievert Sv
567electric charge Q coulomb C
567electric charge Q or q coulomb C
567electric current I ampere A
567energy E joule J
5equivalent dose H sievert Sv
5equivalent dose rate H (dot)sievert per second sievert per hour sievert per year Svs -1 Svh-1 Svy -1
567final velocity v metre per second m s-1
567force F newton N
567force, tension, upthrust, thrustF newton N
567frequency f hertz Hz
567gravitational field strength g newton per kilogram N kg-1
567gravitational potential energy Epjoule J
5half-life t1/2 second (minute, hour, day, year) s
56heat energy Eh joule J
567height, depth h metre m
567initial speed u metre per second m/s
567initial velocity u metre per second m s-1
567kinetic energy Ek joule J
567length l metre m
567mass m kilogram kg
5number of nuclei decayingN - -
567period T second s
567potential difference V volt V
567potential energy Ep joule J
567power P watt W
567pressure P or p pascal Pa
5radiation weighting factor wR- -
567radius r metre m
567resistance R ohm Ω
567specific heat capacity c joule per kilogram per degree Celsius Jkg-1 °C -1
56specific latent heat l joule per kilogram Jkg -1
567speed of light in a vacuum c metre per second m s -1
567speed, final speed v metre per second ms -1
567speed, velocity, final velocity v metre per second m s-1
567supply voltage Vsvolt V
567temperature T degree Celsius °C
567temperature T kelvin K
567time t second s
567total resistance Rohm Ω
567voltage V volt V
567voltage, potential difference V volt V
567volume V cubic metre m3
567weight W newton N
567work done W or EWjoule J
7angle θ radian rad
7angular acceleration aradian per second per second rad s-2
7angular displacement θ radian rad
7angular frequency ω radian per second rad s-1
7angular momentum L kilogram metre squared per second kg m2 s -1
7angular velocity,
final angular velocity
ω radian per second rad s-1
7apparent brightnessbWatts per square metreWm-2
7back emfevolt V
67capacitance C farad F
7capacitive reactance Xcohm W
6critical angle θc degree °
density ρ kilogram per cubic metre kg m-3
7displacement s or x or y metre m
efficiency η - -
67electric field strength E newton per coulomb
volts per metre
N C -1
Vm -1
7electrical potential V volt V
67electromotive force (e.m.f) E or ε volt V
6energy level E 1 , E 2 , etcjoule J
feedback resistance Rfohm Ω
focal length of a lens f metre m
6frequency of source fs hertz Hz
67fringe separation ∆x metre m
67grating to screen distance D metre m
7gravitational potential U or V joule per kilogram J kg-1
half-value thickness T1/2 metre m
67impulse (∆p) newton second
kilogram metre per second
7induced e.m.f. E or ε volt V
7inductor reactanceXLohm W
7initial angular velocity ω oradian per second rad s-1
input energy E ijoule J
input power Piwatt W
input voltage V 1 or V2 volt V
input voltage V ivolt V
6internal resistance r ohm Ω
67irradiance I watt per square metre W m-1
7magnetic induction B tesla T
7moment of inertia I kilogram metre squared kg m2
67momentum p kilogram metre per second kg m s-1
6number of photons per second per cross sectional area N - -
number of turns on primary coil n p- -
number of turns on secondary coil n s- -
6observed wavelengthλ observedmetrem
output energy E o joule J
output power P owatt W
output voltage V o volt V
6peak current Ipeak ampere A
6peak voltage V peak volt V
7phase angle Φ radian rad
67Planck’s constant h joule second Js
7polarising angle
(Brewster’s angle)
i pdegree ̊
power (of a lens) P dioptre D
power gain Pgain - -
7Power per unit areaWatts per square metreWm-2
primary current I p ampere A
primary voltage Vpvolt V
7radial acceleration ar metre per second per second m s-2
67refractive index n - -
6relativistic lengthl'metrem
6relativistic timet'seconds
rest mass mo kilogram kg
6rest wavelengthλrestmetrem
6root mean square current I rmsampere A
6root mean square voltage Vrmsvolt V
7rotational kinetic energy Erotjoule J
7schwarzchild radiusrSchwarzchildmetrem
secondary current Is ampere A
secondary voltage Vsvolt V
7self-inductance L henry H
67slit separation d metre m
7tangential acceleration atmetre per second per second m s-2
6threshold frequency fohertz Hz
7time constanttseconds
7torque Τ newton metre Nm
7uncertainty in Energy∆E jouleJ
7uncertainty in momentum∆px kilogram metre per second kgms-1
7uncertainty in position∆x metre m
7uncertainty in time∆t seconds
6velocity of observer vometre per second m s-1
6velocity of source vsmetre per second m s-1
voltage gain - - -
voltage gain Ao or V gain - -
6work functionWjouleJ