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Basic quantities

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Temperature. Entropy. Where T is the absolute temperature of the system, dividing an incremental reversible transfer of heat into that system (dQ).


(If heat is transferred out the sign would be reversed giving a decrease in entropy of the system.) The above definition is sometimes called the macroscopic definition of entropy because it can be used without regard to any microscopic description of the contents of a system. The concept of entropy has been found to be generally useful and has several other formulations.

Entropy was discovered when it was noticed to be a quantity that behaves as a function of state, as a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. The absolute entropy (S rather than ΔS) was defined later, using either statistical mechanics or the third law of thermodynamics. Acceleration. For example, an object such as a car that starts from standstill, then travels in a straight line at increasing speed, is accelerating in the direction of travel.


If the car changes direction at constant speedometer reading, there is strictly speaking an acceleration although it is often not so described; passengers in the car will experience a force pushing them back into their seats in linear acceleration, and a sideways force on changing direction. If the speed of the car decreases, it is sometimes called deceleration; mathematically it is simply acceleration in the opposite direction to that of motion.[4] Definition and properties[edit] Velocity. If there is a change in speed, direction, or both, then the object has a changing velocity and is said to be undergoing an acceleration.


Constant velocity vs acceleration[edit] To have a constant velocity, an object must have a constant speed in a constant direction. Constant direction constrains the object to motion in a straight path (the object's path does not curve). Momentum. Like velocity, linear momentum is a vector quantity, possessing a direction as well as a magnitude by its own weight Linear momentum is also a conserved quantity, meaning that if a closed system is not affected by external forces, its total linear momentum cannot change.


In classical mechanics, conservation of linear momentum is implied by Newton's laws; but it also holds in special relativity (with a modified formula) and, with appropriate definitions, a (generalized) linear momentum conservation law holds in electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and general relativity.

Newtonian mechanics[edit] Force. The original form of Newton's second law states that the net force acting upon an object is equal to the rate at which its momentum changes with time.


Potential. Potential generally refers to a currently unrealized ability.


The term is used in a wide variety of fields, from physics to the social sciences to indicate things that are in a state where they are able to change in ways ranging from the simple release of energy by objects to the realization of abilities in people. Examples include: Matter.

Before the 20th century, the term matter included ordinary matter composed of atoms and excluded other energy phenomena such as light or sound.


This concept of matter may be generalized from atoms to include any objects having mass even when at rest, but this is ill-defined because an object's mass can arise from its (possibly massless) constituents' motion and interaction energies. Thus, matter does not have a universal definition, nor is it a fundamental concept in physics today. Matter is also used loosely as a general term for the substance that makes up all observable physical objects.[1][2] All the objects from everyday life that we can bump into, touch or squeeze are composed of atoms. Energy. All of the many forms of energy are convertible to other kinds of energy, and obey the conservation of energy.


Common energy forms include the kinetic energy of a moving object, the radiant energy carried by light, the potential energy stored by an object's position in a force field,(gravitational, electric or magnetic) elastic energy stored by stretching solid objects, chemical energy released when a fuel burns, and the thermal energy due to an object's temperature. According to mass–energy equivalence, any object that has mass when stationary,(called rest mass) also has an equivalent amount of energy whose form is called rest energy.

Conversely, any additional energy above the rest energy will increase an object's mass. Electric charge. Electric charge is a physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when near other electrically charged matter. There exist two types of electric charges, called positive and negative . Positively charged substances are repelled from other positively charged substances, but attracted to negatively charged substances; negatively charged substances are repelled from negative and attracted to positive. An object will be negatively charged if it has an excess of electrons , and will otherwise be positively charged or uncharged. The SI unit of electric charge is the coulomb (C), although in electrical engineering it is also common to use the ampere-hour (Ah), and in chemistry it is common to use the elementary charge ( e ) as a unit.

The symbol Q is often used to denote a charge. Mass. In physics, mass (from Greek μᾶζα "barley cake, lump [of dough]") is a property of a physical body which determines the body's resistance to being accelerated by a force and the strength of its mutual gravitational attraction with other bodies.


The SI unit of mass is the kilogram (kg). As mass is difficult to measure directly, usually balances or scales are used to measure the weight of an object, and the weight is used to calculate the object's mass. For everyday objects and energies well-described by Newtonian physics, mass describes the amount of matter in an object. However, at very high speeds or for subatomic particles, special relativity shows that energy is an additional source of mass. Thus, any stationary body having mass has an equivalent amount of energy, and all forms of energy resist acceleration by a force and have gravitational attraction. There are several distinct phenomena which can be used to measure mass.

Time. The flow of sand in an hourglass can be used to keep track of elapsed time.


It also concretely represents the present as being between the past and the future. Time is a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future,[1][2][3][4][5][6] and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them.[3][7][8] Time has long been a major subject of study in religion, philosophy, and science, but defining it in a manner applicable to all fields without circularity has consistently eluded scholars.[3][7][8][9][10][11] Nevertheless, diverse fields such as business, industry, sports, the sciences, and the performing arts all incorporate some notion of time into their respective measuring systems.[12][13][14] Some simple, relatively uncontroversial definitions of time include "time is what clocks measure"[7][15] and "time is what keeps everything from happening at once".[16][17][18][19] Temporal measurement and history[edit] Length. Space.

A right-handed three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate system used to indicate positions in space. (See diagram description for needed correction.) In the 19th and 20th centuries mathematicians began to examine non-Euclidean geometries, in which space can be said to be curved, rather than flat. According to Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, space around gravitational fields deviates from Euclidean space.[4] Experimental tests of general relativity have confirmed that non-Euclidean space provides a better model for the shape of space.