Irish Board Syllabus

Leaving Certificate at Ordinary Level

Home   Higher Level

Mechanics     Thermal Properties     Waves     Optics      Electricity    Electromagnetism    Modern Physics

In the exam, you are expected to be know about and apply:

Mechanics

Motion

Content

Depth of Treatment

Activities / STS

Link

1.  Linear Motion

Units of mass, length and time – definition of units not required.

 

Mechanics 1

Displacement, velocity, acceleration: definitions and units.

Measurement of velocity and
acceleration, using any suitable
apparatus. Use of distance-time, velocity-time graphs.

 

Sports, e.g. athletics.

Mechanics 6

Equations of motion.

Measurement of g.  Appropriate calculations.

Mechanics 6

Mechanics 7

2. Vectors and Scalars

Distinction between vector and scalar quantities.

Vector nature of physical
quantities: everyday examples.

Mechanics 1

Top

Forces

1.  Newton's Laws of Motion

Statement of the three laws.

Demonstration of the laws using air track or tickertape timer or powder track timer, etc.

 

Applications
• seat belts
• rocket travel.
Sports, all ball games

Mechanics 10

Force and momentum, definitions and units. Vector nature of forces to be stressed.

 

Mechanics 10

F = ma as a special case of Newton’s second law.

Appropriate calculations.

Mechanics 10

Friction: a force opposing motion.

Importance of friction in
everyday experience, e.g.
walking, use of lubricants, etc.

Mechanics 8

2.  Conservation of Momentum

Principle of conservation of momentum.

Demonstration by any one
suitable method.
Appropriate calculations (problems involving change of mass need not be considered).

 

Collisions (ball games), acceleration of spacecraft, jet aircraft.

Mechanics 11

 

Mechanics 12

3. Gravity

Newton’s law of universal gravitation.

 

Compare gravitational forces between Earth and Sun and between Earth and Moon.

Fields 1

(Term r 2 is used in the notes)

Solar system.

Fields 1

Value of acceleration due to gravity on other bodies in space, e.g. Moon.

Calculation of weight on different planets.

 

Presence of atmosphere.

Fields 1

4.  Density and Pressure

Definitions and units.

 

Materials 4

Pressure in liquids and gases. Boyle’s law.

Demonstration of atmospheric
pressure, e.g. collapsing-can
experiment. Appropriate calculations.

 

Atmospheric pressure and weather. The “bends” in diving, etc.

Thermal Physics 2

Archimedes’ principle. Law of flotation.

Demonstration only. Calculations not required.

 

Hydrometers.

Materials 4

5. Moments

Definition.
Levers.
Couple.

Simple experiments with a
number of weights. Appropriate calculations. (Only problems involving co-planar parallel forces need be considered.)

 

Torque, e.g. taps, doors.
Handlebars on bicycles.
Reference to moving-coil meters and simple motor.

Mechanics 3

6.  Conditions for Equilibrium

The sum of the forces in any direction equals the sum of the
forces in the opposite direction.

The sum of the moments about any point is zero.

Appropriate calculations.

 

Static and dynamic equilibrium.

Mechanics 4

Top

Energy

1. Work

Definition and unit.

Simple experiments. Appropriate calculations involving force and displacement in the same direction only.

 

Lifts, escalators

Mechanics 13

2.  Energy

 

Energy as the ability to do work.

 

Mechanics 13

Different forms of energy.

Demonstrations of different energy conversions.

 

Sources of energy: renewable and non-renewable.

Mechanics 15

Appropriate calculations.

Mechanics 15

Mass as a form of energy

E = mc 2

(Ignore the stuff on atomic mass units, etc.)

Mass transformed to other forms of energy in the Sun.

Nuclear 7

Conversions from one form of energy to another.

 

Mechanics 15

Principle of conservation of energy.

Efficient use of energy in the
home.

Mechanics 15

3. Power

Power as the rate of doing work or rate of energy conversion.  Unit.

Estimation of average power
developed by
• person running upstairs
• person repeatedly lifting
weights, etc.

 

Power of devices, e.g. light
bulbs, motors, etc.

Mechanics 13

Appropriate Calculations

Mechanics 14

Top

Thermal Properties

Temperature

1. Concept of Temperature

Measure of hotness or coldness of a body.

 

Thermal 1

The SI unit of temperature is the kelvin (definition of unit in terms
of the triple point of water not required).

 

Thermal 1

Celsius scale is the practical temperature scale

 

Thermal 1

(Instead of t , θ is used in the notes for temperature in Celsius.)

 

Thermal 1

2. Thermometric Properties

A physical property that changes measurably with temperature.

Demonstration of some
thermometric properties:
• length of liquid column,
e.g. length of mercury column
• emf of thermocouple
• resistance
• pressure of a gas at constant volume
• volume of a gas at constant pressure
• colour.

Thermal 1 

Thermal 2

3. Thermometers

Thermometers measure temperature.

Graduate two thermometers at ice and steam points. Compare values obtained for an unknown temperature, using a straight-line graph between reference points

Thermal 1

Two thermometers do not necessarily give the same reading at the same temperature.

Practical thermometers, e.g.
• clinical thermometer,
• oven thermometers,
• boiler thermometers,
• temperature gauge in a car.

Thermal 1

The need for standard thermometers – use any commercial laboratory thermometer as school standard.

 

Thermal 1

Top

Heat

1. Concept of Heat

Heat as a form of energy that causes a rise in temperature
when added or a fall in temperature when withdrawn.

 

Thermal 1

Quantity of Heat

 

1. Heat Capacity, Specific Heat Capacity

Definitions and units.

Appropriate calculations.

 

Storage heaters.

Thermal 1

2. Latent Heat, Specific Latent Heat

Definitions and units.

Appropriate calculations.

Heat pump, e.g. refrigerator.
Perspiration.

Thermal 1

Heat Transfer

 

1. Conduction

Qualitative comparison of rates of conduction through solids.

Simple experiments.

U-values: use in domestic
situations.

Thermal 1

Core Physics 3

Physics 6 Tutorial 14

2. Convection

Description

Simple experiments.

Domestic hot-water and heating systems.

Thermal 1

Core Physics 3

3. Radiation

Radiation from the Sun. Solar constant (also called solar irradiance).

Simple experiments.

Everyday examples.
Solar heating.

Thermal 1

Core Physics 3

Physics 6 Tutorial 11

Top

Waves

Wave Properties

1. Properties of Waves

Longitudinal and transverse waves:

  • frequency,

  • amplitude,

  • wavelength,

  • velocity.

 

Waves 1

Waves 2

Relationship c = f λ.

Appropriate calculations

Waves 1

2. Wave Phenomena

  • Reflection.

  • Refraction.

  • Diffraction.

  • Interference.

  • Polarisation.

Simple demonstrations using slinky, ripple tank, microwaves, or other suitable method.

Everyday examples, e.g.
• radio waves
• waves at sea
• seismic waves.

 

Waves 6

Waves 8

Waves 7

Waves 2

 

Stationary waves; relationship between inter-node distance and wavelength.

 

Waves 4

Diffraction effects:
• at an obstacle
• at a slit
with reference to significance of the wavelength.

 

Waves 8

3. Doppler Effect

Qualitative treatment.

Sound from a moving source.

Red shift of stars.
Speed traps.

Astrophysics 7

Top

Vibrations and Sound

1. Wave Nature of Sound

Reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference.

Demonstration of interference, e.g. two loudspeakers and a signal generator.

Acoustics. Reduction of noise using destructive interference. Noise pollution.

Waves 7

Speed of sound in various media.

Demonstration that sound requires a medium.

Core Physics 11

2. Characteristics of Notes

Amplitude and loudness, frequency and pitch, quality and overtones.
 

 

Waves 5

Physics 6 Tutorial 6

Frequency limits of audibility.

Dog whistle

Medical Physics 3

3. Resonance

Natural frequency. Fundamental frequency.

Demonstration using tuning forks or other suitable method.

Vocal cords (folds).

Further Mechanics 3

Definition of resonance, and examples.

 

Further Mechanics 3

4.  Vibrations in strings and pipes

Stationary waves in strings and pipes.

Use string and wind instruments, e.g. guitar, tin whistle.

Waves 5

Relationship between frequency and length.

String section and woodwind
section in orchestras.

Waves 5

5.  Sound intensity

Threshold of hearing and frequency response of the ear.

Use of sound-level meter.

Medical Physics 3

Sound intensity level, measured in decibels.

Examples of sound intensity
level.

Medical Physics 3

The dB(A) scale is used because it is adapted to the ear’s frequency response.

Hearing impairment.
Ear protection in industry, etc.

Medical Physics 3

Top

Optics

Reflection

1.  Laws of Reflection

 

Demonstration using ray box or laser or other suitable method.

Core Physics 10

2.  Mirrors

Images formed by plane and spherical mirrors.

Simple exercises on mirrors by
ray tracing or use of formula.

Waves 6

Knowledge that:

and

.

Real-is-positive sign convention.

Practical uses of spherical
mirrors:
Concave Convex
• dentists • supermarkets
• floodlights • driving mirrors
• projectors

Waves 6

Refraction

1. Laws of Refraction

Refractive index.

Demonstration using ray box or laser or other suitable method.
Appropriate calculations.

Practical examples, e.g. real and apparent depth of fish in water.

Waves 6

2. Total internal reflection

Critical angle.

Demonstration.

Waves 6

Relationship between critical angle and refractive index.

Appropriate calculations.

Waves 6

Transmission of light through optical fibres.

Reflective road signs.
Mirages.
Prism reflectors.
Uses of optical fibres:
• telecommunications
• medicine (endoscopes).

Waves 6

 

Medical Physics 6

3. Lenses

Images formed by single thin lenses.

Simple exercises on lenses by ray tracing or use of formula.

Medical Physics 2

Knowledge that:

and:

Uses of lenses

Medical Physics 2

 

Astrophysics 1

Power of lens:

 

Medical Physics 2

Two lenses in contact:

P = P 1 + P 2

 

Medical Physics 2

The eye: optical structure; short sight, long sight, and corrections.

Spectacles

Medical Physics 1

Top

Wave Nature of Light

1. Diffraction and interference

Use of diffraction grating formula.

Suitable method of demonstrating the wave nature of light.
Appropriate calculations.

Interference colours
• petrol film, soap bubbles.

Waves 8

2. Light as a transverse
wave motion

Polarisation.

Demonstration of polarisation
using polaroids or other suitable method.

Waves 2

 

Physics 6 Tutorial 8

3. Dispersion

Dispersion by a prism and a diffraction grating.
 

Demonstration.

Waves 6

Recombination by a prism.

Rainbows, polished gemstones.
Colours seen on surfaces of
compact discs.

Waves 6

4. Colours

Primary, secondary and complementary colours.

Demonstration.

Waves 9

Addition of colours. Pigment colours need not be considered.

Stage lighting, television.

Waves 9

5. Electromagnetic
spectrum

Relative positions of radiations in terms of wavelength and frequency.

Infrared cameras:
• medical applications
• night vision.

Particles 3

Detection of UV and IR radiation.

Demonstration.

Ultraviolet and ozone layer.

Greenhouse effect.

Particles 3

 

Physics 6 Tutorial 11

6.  Spectroscopy

The spectrometer and the function of its parts.

Demonstration.

Waves 8

Top

Electricity

Charges

1. Electrification by contact

 

Charging by rubbing together dissimilar materials.

Demonstration of forces between charges.

Additional Physics 8

Types of charge: positive, negative.

Domestic applications:
• dust on television screen
• static on clothes.

Additional Physics 8

Conductors and insulators.

Industrial hazards
• in flour mills
• fuelling aircraft.

Additional Physics 8

Unit of charge: coulomb.

 

Additional Physics 8

2. Electrification by
induction

 

Demonstration using an insulated conductor and a nearby charged object.

Additional Physics 8

3. Distribution of charge on conductors

Total charge resides on outside of a metal object.

Van de Graaff generator can be used to demonstrate these phenomena.

Additional Physics 8

Charges tend to accumulate at points.

Lightning.
Lightning conductors.

Additional Physics 8

Point discharge.

 

Additional Physics 8

4.  Electroscope

Structure

Uses

Additional Physics 8

Top

Electric Fields

1. Force between charges

Coulomb’s law:

an example of an inverse square law.

(Term r  2 used in the notes)

 

Fields 4

2. Electric Fields

Idea of lines of force. Vector nature of electric field to be stressed.

Demonstration of field patterns
using oil and semolina or other
method.

Precipitators.
Xerography (photocopier to you).
Hazards: effect of electric fields
on integrated circuits.

Fields 4

 

Additional Physics 8

3. Potential difference.

Definition of potential difference: work done per unit charge to
transfer a charge from one point to another.

Appropriate calculations.

Fields 5

Definition of volt.

 

Fields 5

Concept of zero potential.

 

Fields 5

Top

Capacitors

1. Capacitors and capacitance

Definition: C = Q/V
Unit of capacitance.

Appropriate calculations.

Capacitors 1

Parallel plate capacitor.

Common uses of capacitors:
• tuning radios
• flash guns
• smoothing
• filtering.

Capacitors 1

Energy stored in a capacitor.

Charge capacitor – discharge
through lamp or low-voltage d.c. motor.

Capacitors 1

Capacitors – conduct a.c. but not d.c.

Demonstration.

Capacitors 1

Capacitors 3

Top

Electric Current

1. Electric current

Description of electric current as flow of charge.  1 A = 1 C s– 1

 

Electricity 1

2. Sources of emf and
electric current

Pd and voltage are the same thing; they are measured in volts.
A voltage when applied to a circuit is called an emf.

Sources of emf: mains, simple
cells, lead-acid accumulator, car batteries, dry batteries,
thermocouple.

Electricity 1

3. Conduction in materials

Conduction in:
• metals
• ionic solutions
(active and inactive electrodes)
• gases
• vacuum
• semiconductors.
References in each case to charge carriers.

Interpretation of I–V graphs.

 

Neon lamps, street lights.

Electricity 4

 

Electricity 6

Conduction in semiconductors: the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic conduction; p-type and n-type semiconductors.

Electronic devices. LED, computers, integrated circuits.

Electricity 6

The p-n junction: basic principles underlying current flow across a
p-n junction.

Demonstration of current flow
across a p-n junction in forward and reverse bias, e.g. using a bulb.

Rectification of a.c.

Electronics 1

4. Resistance

Definition of resistance, unit.  Ohm's law.

Appropriate calculations

Electricity 2

Resistance varies with length, cross-sectional area, and
temperature.
 

Resistivity.

Use of ohmmeter.

Electricity 4

Resistors in series and parallel.

Appropriate calculations

Electricity 7

LDR – light-dependent resistor. Thermistor.

Demonstration of LDR and
thermistor.

Electricity 6

5. Potential

Potential divider.

Demonstration.

Potentiometer as a variable
potential divider.

Electricity 6

6. Effects of electric current

Heating: W = I 2Rt

Demonstration of effect.
Appropriate calculations.

Everyday examples.
Advantage of use of EHT in
transmission of electrical energy.

Electricity 5

Chemical: an electric current can cause a chemical reaction.

Demonstration of effect.

Use of the chemical effect.
Everyday examples.

Electricity 5

Magnetic effect of an electric current.

Demonstration of effect.

Magnetism 1

7. Domestic circuits

Plugs, fuses, MCBs (miniature circuit breakers).

Wiring a plug.
Simple fuse calculations.

Electricity at home:
• fuse box
• meter, etc.

Additional Physics 10

Ring and radial circuits, bonding, earthing, and general safety precautions. (No drawing of ring circuits required.)

Electrical safety.

Additional Physics 10

RCDs (residual current devices).

 

Additional Physics 10

The kilowatt-hour. Uses.

Appropriate calculations.

Core Physics 6

Top

Electromagnetism

Magnetism

1. Magnetism

Magnetic poles exist in pairs.

Demonstration using magnets,
coils, and nails.

Magnetism 1

Magnetic effect of an electric current.

Electromagnets and their uses.

Magnetism 1

2. Magnetic fields

Magnetic field due to:
• magnets
• current in:
- a long straight wire
- a loop
- a solenoid.
(Description without mathematical details.)

Demonstrations.

 

Earth’s magnetic field.

Magnetism 1

Vector nature of magnetic field to be stressed.

Using Earth’s magnetic field in
navigation, i.e. compasses.

Magnetism 1

3. Current in a
magnetic field

Current-carrying conductor experiences a force in a magnetic field.

Demonstration of the force on a conductor and coil in a magnetic field.

Magnetism 1

Direction of the force.

 

Magnetism 1

Force depends on
• the current
• the length of the wire
• the strength of the magnetic
field.
F ∝ I l B

 

Magnetism 1

Magnetic flux density:

(In the notes, F = BIl)

Appropriate calculations.

Magnetism 1

Forces between currents (non-mathematical treatment).

 

Magnetism 1

4. Electromagnetic
induction

Magnetic flux: Φ = BA

 

Magnetism 4

Faraday’s law and Lenz’s law.

Demonstration of the principle
and laws of electromagnetic
induction.

Magnetism 5

Change of mechanical energy to electrical energy.

Application in generators.

Magnetism 6

5. Alternating current

Variation of voltage and current with time, i.e. alternating voltages
and currents.

Use oscilloscope to show a.c.

National grid and a.c.

Electricity 9

 

Electricity 10

6. Concepts of mutual
induction and self-induction

Structure and principle of operation of a transformer.

Demonstration.
Appropriate calculations voltage).

Uses of transformers.

Magnetism 7

 

Magnetism 8

Effects of inductors on a.c. (no mathematics or phase relations).

Demonstration.

Dimmer switches in stage
lighting – uses of inductors.

Magnetism 9

Top

Modern Physics

The Electron

1. The electron

The electron as the indivisible quantity of charge.

Electron named by G. J. Stoney.

Particle Physics 1

Reference to mass and location in the atom.

Quantity of charge measured by R. A. Millikan.

Particle Physics 1

Units of energy: eV, keV, MeV, GeV.

 

Particle Physics 6

Quantum Physics 1

2. Thermionic
emission

Principle of thermionic emission and its application to the production of a beam of electrons.

Use of cathode ray tube to demonstrate the production of a beam of electrons – deflection in electric and magnetic fields.

Particle Physics 4

 

Cathode ray tube, consisting of heated filament, cathode, anode,
and screen. Deflection of cathode rays in electric and magnetic
fields.

Applications
• cathode ray oscilloscope
• television.
Use of CRO to display signals:
• ECG and EEG.

Magnetic Fields 3

 

Electricity 10

3. Photoelectric
emission

Photoelectric effect.

Demonstration, e.g. using zinc
plate, electroscope, and different light sources.

Quantum Physics 1

The photon as a packet of energy: E = hf

 

Particle Physics 3

Effect of intensity and frequency of incident light.

 

Quantum Physics 1

Quantum Physics 2

Photocell (vacuum tube): structure and operation.

Demonstration of a photocell.

Applications of photoelectric
sensing devices:
• burglar alarms
• automatic doors
• control of burners in central
heating
• sound track in films.

Quantum Physics 2

4. X-rays

X-rays produced when high-energy electrons collide with target.

Uses of X-rays in medicine and
industry.

Medical Physics 7

Principles of the hot-cathode

 

Medical Physics 7

X-ray tube. X-ray production as inverse of photoelectric effect.

 

Medical Physics 7

Mention of properties of X-rays:
• electromagnetic waves
• ionisation
• penetration.

Hazards

Medical Physics 7

Top

The Nucleus

1. Structure of the atom

Principle of Rutherford’s experiment.

Experiment may be simulated
using a large-scale model or a
computer or demonstrated on a video.

Particle Physics 1

 

Nuclear Physics 2

Bohr model, descriptive treatment only.

 

Particle Physics 1

Energy levels.

 

Quantum Physics 4

Emission line spectra:
hf = E2 – E1

Demonstration of line spectra and continuous spectra.

Lasers.
Spectroscopy as a tool in science.

Quantum Physics 4

2. Structure of the nucleus

Atomic nucleus as protons plus neutrons.

 

Particle Physics 1

Mass number A, atomic number Z, isotopes.

 

Particle Physics 1

3. Radioactivity

Experimental evidence for three kinds of radiation: by deflection in electric or magnetic fields or ionisation or penetration.

Demonstration of ionisation and penetration by the radiations using any suitable method, e.g. electroscope, G-M tube.

Particle Physics 2

Nature and properties of alpha, beta and gamma emissions.

Uses of radioisotopes:
• medical imaging
• medical therapy
• food irradiation
• agriculture
• radiocarbon dating
• smoke detectors
• industrial applications.

Particle Physics 2

 

Nuclear Physics 3

Change in mass number and atomic number because of radioactive decay.

 

Particle Physics 2

Nuclear Physics 3

Principle of operation of a detector of ionising radiation.

Demonstration of G-M tube or
solid-state detector.

Additional Physics 13

Definition of becquerel (Bq) as one disintegration per second.

Interpretation of nuclear
reactions.

Particle Physics 2

Concept of half-life: T 1/2

 

Nuclear Physics 5

4. Nuclear energy

Principles of fission and fusion.

Interpretation of nuclear reactions.

Nuclear Physics 7

Mass-energy conservation in nuclear reactions: E = mc 2

Fusion: source of Sun’s energy.
Nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Physics 7

Nuclear reactor (fuel, moderator, control rods, shielding, and heat
exchanger).

Audiovisual resource material.

Environmental impact of fission
reactors.
Development of fusion reactors.

Nuclear Physics 8

 

Physics 6 Tutorial 12

5. Ionising radiation and health hazards.

General health hazards in use of ionising radiations, e.g. X-rays,
nuclear radiation.

Measurement of background
radiation.

Health hazards of ionising
radiations.
Radon, significance of
background radiation, granite.
Medical and dental X-rays.

Nuclear Physics 1

Environmental radiation: the effect of ionising radiation on humans depends on the type of radiation, the activity of the source (in Bq), the time of exposure, and the type of tissue irradiated.

Audiovisual resource material.

Disposal of nuclear waste.
Radiation protection.

Additional Physics 13

Top

And that's it.