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3.1. Temperature and Energy Changes

Here we start to look at the relationship between temperature and heat. We are familiar with the concept of temperature - but what exactly does this mean in a Physics context? Here we look at what happens as an object heats up or cools down, as well as when we have a change of state.

 

Before we dive in, consider for a minute, where would you find the coldest place in the universe? Perhaps you might immediately think of the deepest darkest recesses of space, light years away from any stars or galaxies. However, even there the temperature only reaches about 2-3 K, still a few degrees above absolute zero. In fact, the coldest place in the universe will be somewhere in a lab on the surface of the Earth - scientists have achieved temperatures around 0.1 nK - less than a billionth of a degree above absolute zero.

 

Temperature, Heat and Internal Energy

Temperature is a property that we are broadly familiar with through our everyday experiences. In everyday life we typically measure temperature in Celsius (other than the Americans reading this!) - a scale built upon the freezing and boiling point of water. In Physics, we instead more commonly use the Kelvin scale - a much more useful measurement in science, as it starts at absolute zero (i.e. zero Kelvin).

Think about the above example discussing the temperature of deepest darkest space - what exactly does this mean? In Physics, temperature is really a measurement of the average kinetic energy of the molecules in a substance. In deepest space, this 'temperature' would therefore be due to the kinetic energy of the handful of H and He molecules flying around.

 

 

If you are unfamiliar with conversions between Celsius and Kelvin, take a look at this video (you don't need to worry about the Fahrenheit conversions for IB fortunately!).

Video Lessons

Resources

IB Physics
Topic 3 Notes
IB-Physics.net
Chapter 3 Summary
IB Revision Notes
Mr. G
3.1 Teaching Notes
3.1 Student Notes
Physics and Maths Tutor
Thermal Definitions
Thermal Detailed Notes
Thermal Key Points PDF
Thermal Flashcards
A Level Resources - content slightly different

Questions

Cambridge University Press
Topic 3: Add Qs
Topic 3: Add Qs MS
Topic 3: MCQs
CUP Website Link
Freely available online
Grade Gorilla
3.1 (Thermal) MCQ
Topic 3 (Thermal) End Quiz
Quick IB Specific Mixed MCQs
Isaac Physics
The Kelvin Scale
Mr. G
3.1 Formative Assessment
Topic 3 Summary Qs
IB Specific Questions
 

Specific Heat Capacity

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This simulation from PHET shows nicely the link between heat (measure in Joules) and temperature (measured in degrees Celsius). The bunsen burner transfers heat energy at a constant rate to different materials. However, the temperature of each materials changes at different rates.

Video Lessons

Resources

IB Physics
Topic 3 Notes
IB-Physics.net
Chapter 3 Summary
IB Revision Notes
Isaac Physics
Heat Capacities
Level 6 Beyond IB
Mr. G
3.1 Teaching Notes
3.1 Student Notes
Physics and Maths Tutor
Thermal Definitions
Thermal Detailed Notes
Thermal Key Points PDF
Thermal Flashcards
A Level Resources - content slightly different

Questions

 

Specific Latent Heat

Here we start to look at a change of state of a material - that is melting, freezing, boiling etc. 

Video Lessons

Resources

IB Physics
Topic 3 Notes
IB-Physics.net
Chapter 3 Summary
IB Revision Notes
Isaac Physics
Enthalpy
Cooling Curves
Level 6 Beyond IB
Mr. G
3.1 Teaching Notes
3.1 Student Notes
Physics and Maths Tutor
Thermal Definitions
Thermal Detailed Notes
Thermal Key Points PDF
Thermal Flashcards
A Level Resources - content slightly different

Questions

Additional Resources

 
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Definitions and Key Words : Chapter 3

A set of Quizlet flashcards of the key words and definitions for this chapter is provided here. 

IB Questions

A question by question breakdown of the IB papers by year is shown below to allow you to filter questions by topic. Hopefully you have access to many of these papers through your school system. If available, there may be some links to online sources of questions, though please be patient if the links are broken! (DrR: If you do find some broken links, please contact me through the site)

 

Questions on this topic (Section 3) are shown in yellow.

Additional Resources

IB Questions

A question by question breakdown of the IB papers by year is shown below to allow you to filter questions by topic. Hopefully you have access to many of these papers through your school system. If available, there may be some links to online sources of questions, though please be patient if the links are broken! (DrR: If you do find some broken links, please contact me through the site)

 

Questions on this topic (Section 2) are shown in red.

Use this grid to practice past IB questions topic by topic. You can see from the colours how similar the question topic breakdown is year by year. The more you can familiarise yourself with the IB question style the better - eventually you will come to spot those tricks and types of questions that reappear each year. 

Use this grid to practice past IB questions topic by topic. You can see from the colours how similar the question topic breakdown is year by year. The more you can familiarise yourself with the IB question style the better - eventually you will come to spot those tricks and types of questions that reappear each year.