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Concepts of Physics (Part 2)

Concepts of Physics (Part 2) PDF

Author: H. C. VERMA



Publish Date: January 1, 2003

ISBN-10: 8177092324

Pages: 459

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Why a new book ?

Excellent books exist on physics at an introductory college level so why a new one ? Why so many books exist at the same level, in the first place, and why each of them is highly appreciated ? It is because each of these books has the privilege of having an author or authors who have experienced physics and have their own method of communicating with the students. During my years as a physics teacher, I have developed a somewhat different methodology of presenting physics to the students. Concepts of Physics is a translation of this methodology into a textbook.

The book presents a calculus-based physics course which makes free use of algebra, trigonometry and co-ordinate geometry. The level of the latter three topics is quite simple and high school mathematics is sufficient.
Calculus is generally done at the introductory college level and I have assumed that the student is enrolled in a concurrent first calculus course. The relevant portions of calculus have been discussed in Chapter 2 so that the student may start using it from the beginning.
Almost no knowledge of physics is a prerequisite. I have attempted to start each topic from the zero level.
A receptive mind is all that is needed to use this book.

Basic philosophy of the book
The motto underlying the book is physics is enjoyable.
Being a description of the nature around us, physics is our best friend from the day of our existence. I have extensively used this aspect of physics to introduce the physical principles starting with common day occurrences and examples. The subject then appears to be friendly and enjoyable. I have taken care that numerical values of different quantities used in problems correspond to real situations to further strengthen this approach.

Teaching and training
The basic aim of physics teaching has been to let the student know and understand the principles and equations of physics and their applications in real life.
However, to be able to use these principles and equations correctly in a given physical situation, one needs further training. A large number of questions and solved and unsolved problems are given for this purpose. Each question or problem has a specific purpose. It may be there to bring out a subtle point which might have passed unnoticed while doing the text portion. It may be a further elaboration of a concept developed in the text. It may be there to make the student react when several concepts introduced in different chapters combine and show up as a physical situation and so on. Such tools have been used to develop a culture: analyse the situation, make a strategy to invoke correct principles and work it out.

I have tried to use symbols, names, etc., which are popular nowadays. SI units have been consistently used throughout the book. SI prefixes such as micro, milli, mega, etc., are used whenever they make the presentation more readable. Thus, 20 µF is preferred over 20 × 10 − 6 F. Co-ordinate sign convention is used in geometrical optics. Special emphasis has been given to dimensions of physical quantities. Numerical values of physical quantities have been mentioned with the units even in equations to maintain dimensional consistency.
I have tried my best to keep errors out of this book. I shall be grateful to the readers who point out any errors and/or make other constructive suggestions.
H C Verma


When we rub our hands for some time, they  become warm. When a block slides on a rough surface,  it becomes warm. Press against a rapidly spinning  wheel. The wheel slows down and becomes warm.  While going on a bicycle, touch the road with your  shoe. The bicycle slows down and the shoe becomes  warm. When two vehicles collide with each other  during an accident, they become very hot. When  an aeroplane crashes, it becomes so hot that it  catches fire.

In each of these examples, mechanical energy is lost and the bodies in question become hot. Where does  the mechanical energy vanish ? It goes into the  internal energy of the bodies. We conclude that the  cold bodies absorb energy to become hot. In other  words, a hot body has more internal energy than an  otherwise identical cold body.

When a hot body is kept in contact with a cold  body, the cold body warms up and the hot body cools  down. The internal energy of the hot body decreases  and the internal energy of the cold body increases.  Thus, energy is transferred from the hot body to the  cold body when they are placed in contact. Notice that  no mechanical work is done during this transfer of  energy (neglect any change in volume of the body).  This is because there are no displacements involved.  This is different from the case when we lift a ball  vertically and the energy of the ball-earth system  increases or when a compressed spring relaxes and a  block attached to its end speeds up. In the case of  lifting the ball, we do some work on the ball and the  energy is increased by that amount. In the case of  spring-block example, the spring does some work and  the kinetic energy of the block increases.  The transfer of energy from a hot body to a cold  body is a nonmechanical process. The energy that is  transferred from one body to the other, without any  mechanical work involved, is called heat.


Two bodies are said to be in thermal equilibrium  if no transfer of heat takes place when they are placed  in contact. We can now state the Zeroth law of  thermodynamics as follows:  If two bodies A and B are in thermal equilibrium  and A and C are also in thermal equilibrium then B  and C are also in thermal equilibrium.  It is a matter of observation and experience that  is described in the Zeroth law. It should not be taken  as obvious. For example, if two persons A and B know  each other and A and C know each other, it is not  necessary that B and C know each other.  The Zeroth law allows us to introduce the concept  of temperature to measure the hotness or coldness of  a body. All bodies in thermal equilibrium are assigned  equal temperature. A hotter body is assigned higher  temperature than a colder body. Thus, the  temperatures of two bodies decide the direction of heatflow when the two bodies are put in contact. Heat flows  from the body at higher temperature to the body at  lower temperature.

We are now in a position to say whether two given  bodies are at the same temperature or not. If they are  not at the same temperature, we also know which is  at higher temperature and which is at lower  temperature. Our next task is to define a scale of
temperature so that we can give numerical value to  the temperature of a body. To do this, we can choose  a substance and look for a measurable property of the  substance which mon’otonically changes with  temperature. The temperature can then be defined as  a chosen function of this property. As an example, take  a mass of mercury in a glass bulb terminating in a  long capillary. The length of the mercury column in  the capillary changes with temperature. Each length
2 Concepts of Physics  corresponds to a particular temperature of the  mercury. How can we assign a numerical value  corresponding to an observed length of the mercury  ·column ?

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