Materials in Physics

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Materials Science within AS and A
-
level
Physics


Elizabeth Swinbank


Director, Salters Horners Advanced Physics

University of York

All AS and A
-
level specifications (syllabuses) are changing
for first teaching in September 2008


All the new physics specs have



4 content assessment units (2 AS, 2 A2)



2 coursework assessment units (1 AS, 1 A2)



a requirement to address ‘how science works’



Most have




little or no optional content



See IOP summary for details of assessment structures

Changes to AS/A
-
level physics



Materials Science content is predominantly in AS


AS core content includes


resistivity


refractive index


At AS, nearly all specs require mechanical properties


Hooke’s law


Young modulus


stress
-
strain graphs


elastic and plastic behaviour


meaning of terms brittle, hard etc




A2 core content includes



specific heat capacity


There is essentially no other Materials Science

content in any A2 physics specification




See Appendix for details of individual spec requirements

Examples of content requirements


Draw force
-
extension, force
-
compression, and tensile/

compressive stress
-
strain graphs. Identify the limit of

proportionality, elastic limit and yield point (Edexcel)


One method of measuring Young modulus and

fracture stress (OCR B)


Describe how to determine the resistivity of a metal

wire experimentally (WJEC)


Refractive index of a substance is given by n = c/v

(AQA B)


How Science Works


Nature and limitations of scientific knowledge
(hypothesis and prediction, data and explanation,
modelling, the scientific community)


Scientific enquiry (experimental skills, data handling,
mathematical skills)


Communication (scientific language, presentation of
data)


Applications and implications (decision making, risk,
ethics)

Coursework


All specifications require practical coursework at AS
and A2.


Students undertake a practical task (or tasks) that are
either set by the awarding body or devised by their
teachers.


Typically, the exercise takes about 1 hour to complete.


The exact requirements vary between specifications.

Examples of AS practical coursework
requirements


Use and be familiar with standard laboratory equipment

(eg electric meters… vernier callipers … newtonmeters...

electronic balance …) (AQA)


Take measurements and record data showing awareness

of the limits of accuracy … (WJEC)


Analyse and interpret data to provide evidence,

recognising correlations and causal relationships

(OCR A)



Visit or case study


The
Edexcel

specification for AS requires a report of a
visit or case study.


The practical task should be linked to the visit/case
study.


Example


Visit a biscuit factory: observe mechanical testing of
products for quality control


Practical: measure elastic modulus of ice
-
cream wafer

Materials activities from Salters Horners
Advanced Physics (Edexcel)


Context
-
led course



Food industry: product development and
quality control


Spare part surgery: designer materials





Eat sweets to establish the meaning of technical
terms brittle, hard, etc















Plot force
-
extension graphs for strawberry laces

Measure Brinnell
hardness of mints

Measure breaking stress of model bone

Determine Young modulus of UHMWPE

for use in hip replacements

A blueprint for the development of
Materials Science resources


Focus on mechanical properties for AS level


Include electrical, thermal and optical properties


Address ‘how science works’


Develop experimental skills


Put activities in authentic (and novel) contexts


Appendix


Materials Science elements of the new AS
and A
-
level physics specifications


AQA A

AQA B (Physics in Context)

Edexcel (includes SHAP)

OCR A

OCR B (Advancing Physics)

WJEC

AQA A

Unit 1 Particles, Quantum Phenomena and Electricity


resistivity



superconductivity


Unit 2 Mechanics, Materials and Waves



density


Hooke’s law


tensile stress and strain


energy stored


breaking stress


plastic behaviour


fracture and brittleness


stress
-
strain curves


Young modulus



AQA A


Unit 5 Nuclear Physics, Thermal Physics

and an Optional Topic



specific heat capacity



AQA B (Physics in context)



Unit 1 Harmony and Structure in the Universe


refractive index


Unit 2 Physics Keeps us Going


elastic potential energy


stiffness (of a sample)


thermal conductivity


U values


resistivity


superconductivity


Unit 5 Energy Under the Microscope


specific heat capacity



Edexcel (SHAP)


Unit 1 Physics on the go


density


laminar and turbulent flow


viscosity and Stokes’s law


Hooke’s law


compressive and tensile stress and strain


stress
-
strain graphs


Young modulus


elastic and plastic behaviour


breaking stress


energy stored



meaning of brittle, hard, ductile, malleable, stiff, tough



Edexcel (SHAP)


Unit 2 Physics at work



resistivity


temperature and resistance


refractive index


Unit 5 Physics from creation to collapse



specific heat capacity


OCR A

Unit 1 Mechanics


tensile and compressive deformation


Hooke’s law


stored energy


stress and strain


Young modulus


breaking stress


elastic and plastic deformation


stress
-
strain graphs


Unit 2 Electrons, Waves and Photons


resistivity


temperature and resistance


superconductivity




OCR B (Advancing Physics)


Unit 1 Physics in action: designer materials

mechanical behaviour



deformation and fracture


stress, strain


Young modulus


stiff, elastic, plastic, ductile, hard, brittle, tough


stress
-
strain graphs


size and spacing of particles


metals, ceramics, polymers, composites


electrical behaviour


metals, semiconductors, insulators


resistivity, conductivity

OCR B (Advancing Physics)


Unit 4 Rise and Fall of the Clockwork Universe



specific heat capacity

WJEC (Wales)


Unit 1 Motion, Energy and Charge


density



stored energy


Hooke’s law


friction


viscosity


resistivity


superconductivity


Unit 2 Waves and Particles


refractive index


WJEC (Wales)


Unit 4 Oscillations and Fields



stiffness (of a sample)


specific heat capacity