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2 Electricity – Part A “Units”


2.1 use the following units: ampere (A), coulomb (C), joule (J), ohm (Ω), second (s), volt (V), watt (W).

General Ideas…

A physical quantity is something that can be measured. For any measurement, the unit being used must be stated to give an understanding of the scale of the measurement.

For example, distance can be measured in kilometres or in miles. They are similar, but not the same and it is important to identify which was used for the measurement, to know how far the distance actually is.

Système Internationale d’Unités

The units that scientists use all over the world are standardised in the Système Internationale d’Unités – SI units. It is important to remember these six fundamental (or ‘base’) units of measurement:

There are many quantities scientists measure that come from the base units. These derived units are very useful to quote as measurements, but they are not fundamental as they come from fundamental units.

For example, frequency is the number of times something happens per unit of time.

This is a useful quantity, but it is a division into the time unit.

The standard unit for frequency is considering the number ‘per second‘, which is called ‘hertz, Hz’, but this comes from the fundamental unit ‘second‘.

Electric chargecoulombC
Work Done or WorkNm or JW
Gravity or accelerationNkg-1ms-2g or a


  • Joule (J): the SI unit of work or energy, equal to the work done by a force of one newton when its point of application moves one metre in the direction of action of the force.
  • Watt (W): the SI unit of power, equivalent to one joule per second, corresponding to the rate of consumption of energy in an electric circuit where the potential difference is one volt and the current one ampere. 1W = 1Js-1
  • Second (s): the SI base unit of time which is used to determine the progression of the universe. Defined from a complex atomic transition or as a division of an Earth day.
  • Resistance (W): a measure of how much a wire resists a flow of current often found by R =  V / I  (V = IR) measured in ohms, Ω
  • Ampere (A): a unit of electric current equal to a flow of one coulomb per second. 1A = 1Cs-1
  • Charge (C): an inherent fundamental property of some matter i.e. the electron has a charge of –1.6 x 10-19 We often use the term relative charge i.e. -1 for electron and +1 for proton
  • Electrical Potential Difference (V): 1 Volt means that one Coulomb of charge will gain 1 joule of potential energy when moved between two electrodes 1V = 1JC-1
  • Magnetic Flux Density (T):  the number of magnetic lines of flux that pass through a certain point on a surface. The SI unit is T (tesla). It tells us how strong a magnetic field is. (Y11)


Use this PowerPoint for a quick review…2 Electricity A Units

Homogeneity of physics equations

How to check the homogeneity of physics equations

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2 Electricity – Part B “Mains”

Aims… 2.1 use the following units: ampere (A), coulomb (C), joule (J), ohm (Ω), second (s), volt (V), watt (W). 2.2 understand how the use of insulation, double insulation, earthing, fuses and circuit breakers in a range of domestic appliances. 2.3 understand why a current in a resistor results in the electrical transfer of energy …

2 Electricity – Part C “Energy and Voltage”

Aims… 2.7 explain why a series or parallel circuit is more appropriate for particular applications, including domestic lighting 2.8 understand how the current in a series circuit depends on the applied voltage and the number and nature of other components 2.9 describe how current varies with voltage in wires, resistors, metal filament lamps and diodes, …

2 Electricity – Part D “Electrical Charge – Static”

Aims… 2.22P identify common materials which are electrical conductors or insulators, including metals and plastics 2.23P practical: investigate how insulating materials can be charged by friction 2.24P explain that positive and negative electrostatic charges are produced on materials by the loss and gain of electrons 2.25P know that there are forces of attraction between unlike …

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