Concept Explanations

Thermal Physics

3.1 –Thermal Concepts

3.1.1 – Temperature and Internal Energy

3.1.2 – Specific Heat Capacity and Specific Latent Heat

3.1.3 – Phase Change

Definitions to Memorize*

 

Term/Concept

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Definition/Explanation

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Video

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Internal Energy of a Substance

The sum of the potential energy and the random kinetic energy of the particles in the substance.

Video 3.1.1

Molecular Structure
  • Solid: molecules have fixed positions.
  • Liquid: molecules are close to each other, but are able to move much more freely than in solids. 
  • Gas: molecules are far apart and are able to move around freely. 

Video 3.1.1

Temperature

The measure of how hot or cold something is. More specifically, it is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles in an object.

Video 3.1.1

* The terms and concepts above have directly come up on past IB Physics exams from May 2016 onwards. 

Directly in this context  means that the answer to a Paper 1 or Paper 2 question was the definition of the term or concept or that the answer could be deduced directly from the definition.  Therefore, this list might be helpful when you are deciding what to memorize for your IB Physics exams.

To see a complete list of definitions from all topics along with the number of times the term/concept occured on exams since May 2016, click on the link below:

All Definitions from Past IB Exams (pdf)

Topic Specific PaperPlainz Resources

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HL Questionbank

Thermal Physics

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HL Past Exam Video Solutions by Topic

Thermal Physics

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Sub-topic 3.2 →