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MCAT Physics Equations

List of key equations for conquering physics on the MCAT

Motion

Average Speed

v = d/t

Average Velocity

 = Δxt

Average Acceleration

 = Δt

Translational motion at constant acceleration

x - x0 = v0t + ½at2
v - v0 = at
v2 = v02 + 2a(x - x0) becomes v = √2gh in free fall where v0 = 0
 = ½(v + v0)

Force

Newton's Second Law

F = ma

Gravity

Fg = G(m1m2)/r2

Inclined Planes

FN = mg cos θ
Fincline = mg sin θ

Friction

Ffr = μkFN ≤ μsFN

Hooke's Law

F = -kΔx

Torque

τ = Fl

Equilibrium

Fdirection = Fopposite direction at equilibrium
τclockwise = τcounter clockwise at equilibrium
Fdirection = Fopposite direction ± ma at non-equilibrium

Energy

Kinetic energy

K = ½mv2

Potential energy

Ug = mgh
Ue = ½kΔx2

Conservation of energy

Etotal = EKE + EPE
PE1 + KE1 = PE2 + KE2

Work-energy theorem

W = ΔK + ΔU + ΔEi

Rest mass energy

E = mc2

Work

W = Fdcosθ
W = ΔK + ΔU + ΔEi

Power

P = Fvcosθ

P = ΔW / Δt

Fluids

Density

ρ = m/V

Buoyant Force

Fbuoyant = ρVg

Hydrostatic pressure

P = ρgh

Continuity equation

A•v = constant

Bernoulli’s equation

p + ρgy + ½ρv2 = constant

Electricity and Magnetism

Coulomb’s Law

F = k (Q1Q2/r2)

Electric field due to a point charge

E = k (Q/r2)

Electric potential energy

U = k (Q1Q2/r)

Electric potential

V = k (Q/r)

Constant Electric Fields

F = qE
V = Ed
U = qEd
U = Vq

Ohm's Law

I = V/R

Resistivity

ρ = R•A/L

Resistors

Reff = R1 + R2 + ... in series
1/Reff = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + ... in parallel

Capacitors

1/Ceff = 1/C1 + 1/C2 + ... in series
Ceff = C1 + C2 + ... in parallel

Force on a charge moving in a magnetic field

F = qvB sin θ

Waves, Sound, and Light

Wave velocity

v = fλ

Wave period

T = 1/f

Beat frequency

f = |f1 - f2|

Doppler effect

Δf/fs = v/c
Δλ/λs = v/c

Photon energy

E = hf

Snell's Law

n1 sin θ1 = n2 sin θ2

Lens equation

1/p + 1/q = 1/f

Related Articles

MCAT Equations

List of equations from MCAT2015 Content Description

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