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Wonders of Physics

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Impressive Bugatti Chiron

This impressive Bugatti Chiron can accelerate from rest to 400 km/h and decelerate to a complete stop in merely 42 seconds! Our normal cars on the expressway travel about 90 km/h and the F1 race yesterday night is about 300 km/h. This Bugatti Chiron is faster than most bullet trains and comparable to the speed of a magnetic levitation train!


Before we look at the video, let’s do some calculations:


Let’s find the acceleration of the car to reach 400 km/h in 32.6 sec:

Converting 400 km/h to m/s:    400km/1h = 400 000m/3600s =111 m/s

acceleration, a = (v – u)/t = (111 – 0) / 32.6 = 3.4 m/s2

hmmm…. this acceleration doesn’t seem impressive… it is way below free fall acceleration!

But we are not being fair here. To achieve the max speed of 400 km/h is not easy due to the resistive force (air resistance and friction) as speed increases. We should compare fairly the acceleration to reach 100 km/h instead like how we typically compare sports car like Ferrari etc.

Let’s find the acceleration of the car to reach 100 km/h (27.8 m/s) in 2.4 sec:

acceleration, a = (v – u)/t = (27.8 – 0) / 2.4 = 11.6 m/s2

This is greater than acceleration due to gravity (free fall) and much faster than most sports cars in the market like Ferrari or Lamborghini!

Now, let’s find the deceleration of the car when it slows down from 400 km/h to a complete stop in 41.9 – 32.6 = 9.36 s

acceleration, a = (v – u)/t = (0 – 111) / 9.36 = -11.9 m/s2

Take note of the spoiler being activated when it decelerates. This increases the drag (air resistance) to slow down the car, in addition to using the normal brakes. It is the same principle as the aeroplane when it lands and slows down on the runway.




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Identifying what lens, focal length and image from 2 rays – PP2010P1Q23 and SP2014P1Q11

These 2 questions are actually the same. Q23 is from 2010 Pure Physics P1 while Q11 is from 2014 Sci Physics P1. Take a look at these 2 questions. If you are not sure, view the video below for the explanation.

Capture1 PP 2010

Answer to Q23: Option A

Capture2 2014SP

Answer to Q11: Option D

If you do not know how to answer these 2 questions, view this video and also refer to the lens summary below.


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Finding unknown resistor R and setting up the electrical circuit

To find the unknown resistor R, the following apparatus are setup.

Unknown resistor

Refer to the video below for the setting up of the apparatus.

Why do you need a variable resistor (rheostat)?

  • Without the variable resistor, you will have only one set of current I and potential difference V readings. Using the formula R = V/I, you are able to find the unknown resistor. But this method is not so accurate.


  • Hence, to make it more accurate, we include a variable resistor to control the size of the current through the circuit. Thus having different readings of the potential difference V across the unknown resistor.
  • Instead of just one set of readings of I and V, we now have about 5 sets.
  • This allows us to plot a graph of V against I.
  • By finding the gradient of the best fit line, we are able to find the resistance more accurately. [gradient = V / I = R, hence the gradient of V-I graph represents resistance R]


For pure metallic conductor, like the fixed resistor R, it obeys the Ohm’s Law, hence it is an ohmic conductor.

From the graph, the current I flowing the conductor is directly proportional to potential difference V across the conductor, provided physical conditions like temperature remains constant. [the graph is a straight line with constant gradient, and passes through the origin]