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Physics symbols related to mechanics, thermal physics, electricity and magnetism, practice problems, FAQs

To reduce the time to denote each term by its name, we generally introduce the symbols in science. In Physics, we use several symbols and some of them even get repeated i.e. they are sometimes used to denote different quantities. Here we will be covering some important symbols that are used in Physics. While using them in different equations we should use them appropriately. This is to ensure easy readability.

Table of contents

  • Physics symbols related to space and time
  • Physics symbols related to mechanics
  • Physics symbols related to thermal physics
  • Physics symbols related to electricity and magnetism
  • Practice Problems
  • FAQs

Physics symbols related to space and time

Quantity

Symbol

Name

Units

Length

l

-

m

Mass

m

-

kg

Time

t

-

s

Density

 

Rho

kg/m3

Temperature

T

-

K

Frequency

f,

Nu

Hertz (Hz)

Wavelength

 

Lambda

m

Angular displacement

 

Theta

rad

Speed of light

c

-

m/s

Angular frequency

 

Omega

rad/s

Physics symbols related to mechanics

Quantity

Symbol

Name

Units

Velocity

v

-

m/s

Acceleration

a

-

m/s2

Angular acceleration

 

Alpha

rad/s2

Momentum

p

-

kg m/s

Period

T

-

s

Force

F

-

N

Torque

 

Tau

Nm

Power

P

-

Watt, W

Work

W

-

Joule, J

Energy

E

-

Joule, J

Pressure

P

-

Pa

Moment of inertia

I

-

kg m2

Angular momentum

L

-

kg m2/s

Friction

f

-

N

Coefficient of friction

 

Mu

No unit

Kinetic Energy

K

-

Joule, J

Potential energy

U

-

Joule, J

Efficiency

 

Eta

No unit

Spring Constant

k

-

N/m

Stress

 

Sigma

N/m2 or Pa

Strain

 

Epsilon

No unit

Physics symbols related to thermal physics

Quantity

Symbol

Name

Units

Enthalpy

H

-

Joule, J

Entropy

S

-

J/K

Internal energy

U

-

Joule, J

Emissivity

 

Epsilon

No unit

Thermal conductivity

K

-

W/m K

Specific heat capacity

c

-

J/kg K

Latent heat capacity

L

-

J/kg

Heat

Q

-

Joule, J

Quantity of substance

n

-

Moles

Physics symbols related to electricity and magnetism

Quantity

Symbol

Name

Units

Charge

q

-

Coulomb (C)

Current

I

-

Ampere (A)

Resistance

R

-

Ohms ()

Inductance

L

-

Henry (H)

Capacitance

C

-

Farad (F)

Potential difference

V

-

Volt (V)

Electric field

E

-

N/C

Magnetic field

B

-

Tesla

Magnetic Flux

B

Phi

Weber

Dielectric constant

 

epsilon

No unit

Electric Flux

E

Phi

Nm2/C

Linear charge density

 

Lambda

C/m

Areal charge density

 

Sigma

C/m2

Volume charge density

 

Rho

C/m3

Practice Problems:

Q. Write the expression for work done by a force causing a displacement. Use usual symbols.

A. Work done = Force . Displacement

In usual symbols, W=F.d

Q. Write the expression for a force on a mass causing acceleration. Use usual symbols.

A. We know Force= mass . acceleration

In usual symbols, F=ma

Q. How torque can be expressed in symbols? Is its dimension the same as energy?

A. We know, Torque = Inertia . angular acceleration

In symbolic expression, = I

The dimension of torque is the same as the energy. But the main difference is that torque is a vector quantity whereas energy is a scalar quantity.

Q. Express the total charge contained in a plate in terms of the surface charge density. Express in terms of usual symbols.

A. Let the surface charge density on the plate be and the area be A

If the total charge contained is Q

Then, Q=A

FAQs

Q. What's the unit of specific enthalpy? How is it expressed ?
A.
The SI unit of specific enthalpy is J/kg. The enthalpy is expressed with H and the specific enthalpy is generally expressed with ‘h’.

Q. How is the wavelength of a wave expressed? What is its unit?
A.
The wavelength is generally expressed by the greek letter, . Its unit is m. For practical purposes, we express the wavelengths in mm, m, nm etc as they are units used for very small lengths.

Q. Moment of inertia is expressed by I. Angular acceleration is expressed by . How the torque will be expressed in terms of I and ?
A.
We know that,

Torque is the rate of change of angular momentum.
So, torque =Moment of inertia Angular acceleration
If torque is expressed by , then = I

Q. How is capacitance expressed with a symbol? Express it with the symbols of charge and voltage.
A.
Generally capacitance is expressed with the letter C. Charge is expressed with the letter Q, voltage with V

We know, Charge=Capacitance Voltage Q=CV

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