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Form 4 Chapter 1: Introduction to Physics

1.2 Understanding Base Quantities and Derived Quantities

Physical Quantities A physical quantity is a quantity that can be measured. A physical quantity can be subdivided into : a) base quantity and b) derived quantity. Base Quantities Base quantities are the quantities that cannot be defined in term of other physical quantity. Quantity Length Mass Time Electric Current Temperature Name of unit Meter Kilogram Second Ampere Kelvin Unit symbol m Kg s A K

Derived Quantity A derived quantity is a physical quantity that is not a base quantity. It is the quantities which derived from the base quantities through multiplying and/or dividing them. Example: Base quantity Derived quantity Base quantity

Prefixes Prefixes are the preceding factor used to represent very small and very large physical quantities in SI units. Prefixes TeraGigaMegaKiloDeciCentiMilliMicroNanoPicoValue 1,000,000,000,000 1,000,000,000 1,000,000 1,000 0.1 0.01 0.001 0.000 001 0.000 000 001 0.000 000 000 001 Standard Form 1012 109 106 103 10-1 10-2 10-3 10-6 10-9 10-12 Symbol T G M k d c m n p

Conversion of Units Examples: To convert the velocity of 20kmh-1 to ms-1.


Form 4 Chapter 1: Introduction to Physics

1.3 Understanding Scalar and Vector Quantities

Common Examples: Length Speed Time Distance Temperature Power Mass Energy Work done Density Volume

Common Examples: Force Acceleration Velocity Momentum Displacement


Form 4 Chapter 1: Introduction to Physics

Understanding Measurements
Error in Measurement 1. All measurements are value of approximation only. Therefore, it's a matter of how close the measurement is to the actual value. Error is the difference between the actual value of a quantity and the value obtained in measurement.


Parallax Error

Zero Error

1. A parallax error is an error in reading an instrument due to the eye of the observer and pointer are not in a line perpendicular to the plane of the scale. 2. Parallax error can be overcome by making sure that the position of the eye in line with the reading to be taken. 3. Parallax error can be overcome by having a mirror behind the pointer. 1. 2. A zero error arises when the measuring instrument does not start from exactly zero. Zero errors are consistently present in every reading of a measurement.


Form 4 Chapter 1: Introduction to Physics

Consistency / Precision 1. Consistency of a measuring instrument is its ability to register the same reading, or with only a small relative deviation between readings.

Accuracy 1. 2. The accuracy of a measurement is how close the measurement is from the actual value. The measurement is more accurate if its number of significant figures increases.

Precision vs Accuracy

Sensitivity 1. The sensitivity of an instrument is its ability to detect small changes in the quantity that is being measured. 2. Thus, a sensitive instrument can quickly detect a small change in measurement. 3. Measuring instruments that have smaller scale parts are more sensitive. 4. Sensitive instruments need not necessarily be accurate.


Form 4 Chapter 1: Introduction to Physics

Measuring Instruments
Meter Ruler The accuracy of a meter ruler is 1mm. Vernier Caliper (Accuracy up to 0.01cm or 0.1mm)

Taking reading from Vernier Caliper Reading of Vernier Caliper = Reading of Main Scale + Reading of Vernier Scale
= 1.1 + 0.07 = 1.17cm

Zero Error for Vernier Caliper The zero error is determined by tightening the jaws of the vernier calipers. Positive Zero Error (+0.02cm)

Negative Zero Error (-0.04cm)


Form 4 Chapter 1: Introduction to Physics

Micrometer Screw Gauge (Accuracy up to 0.001cm or 0.01mm)

Taking reading from Micrometer Screw Gauge Reading of Micrometer Screw Gauge = Main Scale (Sleeve)+ Thimble Scale

Zero Error for Micrometer Screw Gauge Positive Zero Error (+0.03mm)

= 5mm+0.07mm = 5.07mm

Negative Zero Error (-0.03mm)

= 5.5mm + 0.07mm = 5.57mm


Form 4 Chapter 1: Introduction to Physics

Analyzing Graph

P increase linearly with Q

P decrease linearly with Q

P is directly proportional to Q

P is inversely proportional to Q