Ch-2 Units & Dimensions

Lost in space
In September 1999, the United States lost the Mars Climate Orbiter as it approached Mars. The loss of the $125 million spacecraft was due to scientists confusing English units and metric units.

Two spacecraft teams, one at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, and the other at a Lockheed Martin facility in Colorado, where the spacecraft was built, were unknowingly exchanging some vital information in different units.
The missing Mars Climate Orbiter

Lost in space….
The spacecraft team in Colorado used English units of pounds of force to describe small forces needed to adjust the spacecraft’s orbit. The data was shipped via computer, without units, to the JPL, where the navigation team was expecting the to receive the data in metric measure. The mix-up in units led to the JPL scientists giving the spacecraft’s computer wrong information, which threw the spacecraft off course.



A physical property of every quantity which distinguishes it from all other quantities is called dimension.


Length, mass, and time etc
are the fundamental dimensions on which the measurement of all physical quantities is dependent



A number alone is not sufficient to describe a physical quantity. For example, to say that "a pipe must be 4 long " has no meaning unless a unit of measurement for length is also specified. By adding units to the number, it becomes clear, "a pipe must be 4 feet long ."

To specify and perform calculations with physical quantities, the physical quantities must be defined both in kind and magnitude.


The standard measure of each kind of physical quantity is called a UNIT.

Types of SI units

SI units are divided into Three:
  

Fundamental Units (or Base Units) Derived Units Supplementary Units

Caution !!!

Base Units details

Base Units details

Derived Units

Derived Units: Units formed by combining base units, supplementary units and other derived units according to algebraic relations linking the corresponding quantities.

The Supplementary Units

In SI System two special units, called supplementary units are used. These are

radian (plane angle) steradian (solid angle)
radian: the plane angle given as the ratio of the circular arc length subtended to the radius of the circle.


a length divided by a length

 =s/r



The SI System

SI Prefixes
     

1 000 000 000 = 109 1 000 000 = 106 1 000 = 103 0.1 = 10-1 0.01 = 10-2 0.001 = 10-3 0.000 001 = 10-6 0.000 000 001 = 10-9

giga mega kilo deci centi milli micro nano

Dimensional Analysis

dimensional analysis is a tool to understand the properties of physical quantities independent of the units used to measure them.

Dimensional Analysis….