SC3105
By
Cik Roshidah bt Mat
Physics and measurement
in everyday life
Introduction
Conversion of units
Scientific notation
Accuracy and precision
Significant digits
Techniques of good measurement
1.1 Physical Quantities and Units
Physical quantity:
Any number that is used to describe a physical
phenomenon quantitatively
Consists of:
Basic quantities
Derived Quantities
1.1 Physical Quantities and Units
International System, SI Unit:
The most common unit used by scientists and
engineers around the world
Length meter [m]
Time second [s]
Mass kilogram [kg]
Current ampere [A]
Temperature kelvin [K]
Amount of Substance mole [n]
(Light Intensity) candela [cd]
Quantities
SI Units
Symbols
1.1 Physical Quantities and Units
Derived Quantities:
Combinations of the basic quantities
Units for derived quantities can be deduced if
the definitions are given
Determining the Derived Units:
Example:
Define the quantity:
Density (µ) is the mass (m) of an object per unit volume (V)
Hence the defining equation in SI units
µ = m / V (kg / m
3
)
This gives the derived SI unit for density as kilograms per cubic meter. (kg / m
3
)
Try this: What are the units of t?
(Clue : The relationship between the circumference (c) and the diameter (d) of a
circle is given by the equation c = td
If length is measured in meters, then
t = c / d (m / m)
Thus the constant t has no units, because they cancel out. It is unitless or
dimensionless constant.
Unit Prefixes
Tera T 10
12
Giga G 10
9
Mega M 10
6
Kilo k 10
3
Hecto h 10
2
Deka da 10
1
Deci d 10
1
Centi c 10
2
Milli m 10
3
Micro µ 10
6
Nano n 10
9
Pico p 10
12
Femto f 10
15
Prefix Symbol Factor
Unit Consistency and Conversions
Equation must always be dimensionally
consistent
example: d= 10m, v = 2ms
1
and t = 5s
d = vt
( )
10 2 5
m
m s
s
 
=

\ .
in terms of unit:
Conversion of Unit
When converting between units, write down the
units explicitly in the calculations and treat them
like any algebraic quantity.
In particular, take advantage of the fact that
“multiplying or dividing an equation by a factor
of 1 does not alter and equation.
Conversion of Unit
Example:
Express 979.0 m in feet.
(3.281 feet = 1 meter)
Solution:
Use (3.281 feet / 1 meter) as a conversion factor to multiply the
equation “Length = 979.0 meters”
Length = (979.0 m)(1)
= (979.0 meters) (3.281 feet / 1 meter)
= 3212 feet
Significant Figures
Measured quantities contain uncertainty
Only retain figures that contain meaningful
information
Significant figures (sometimes called significant digits) is
all nonzero digits plus zeros that do not just hold a place before or after
a decimal point.
used to indicate the number of meaningful digits
The number of s.f. of a numerical quantity is the number of
reliably known digits it contains.
example: 2.91mm ( 3 s.f.)
For a measured quantity, s.f. is usually defined as all of the digits
that can be read directly from the instrument used in making the
measurement plus one uncertain digit that is obtained by
estimating the fraction of the smallest division of the
instrument’s scale.
Zeros at the beginning of a number are not significant.
They merely locate the decimal point.
e.g. 0.0254 (3 s.f.  2,5,4)
Zeros within a number are significant.
e.g. 104.6 m (4 s.f.  1,0,4,6)
Zeros at the end of a number after the decimal point are
significant.
e.g. 2705.0 m (5 s.f.  2,7,0,5,0)
In a whole number without a decimal point that end in
one or more zeroes ……..
How long is the red rectangle in centimeters? 4.98 cm
estimated
2 decimal places
How many significant figures? 3
How many millimeters? 49.8 mm
How Many Significant Figures
0.089 2
1.089 4
12000 2
12001 5
300.0 4
300.01 5
0.01 1
0.0105 3
Addition and Subtraction
329.5
23.03
0.083
25.3
+
329.5
23.03
0.083
25.3
+
329.5
25.3
+
0.1 rewrite
23.0
rewrite
377.9
Multiplication and Division
Result should have the same number of significant
figures as the least accurate number
4.03 X 2.4 = 9.672 = 9.7
8.55 / 2.399 = 3.56398499375 = 3.56
7.0 X 4.70 = 32.9 = 33
Scientific Notation
3.502 x 10
6
decimal number (010)
10 raised to an
integer power
Number Significant Figures Scientific Notation
9004 4 9.004 x 10
3
0.000007 1 7 x 10
6
43 2
4.3 x 10
1
7,805,000,000 4 7.805 x 10
9
0.0408 3 4.08 x 10
2
8.4 2 8.4 x 10
0
To multiply two numbers in scientific notation multiply the decimal parts of the
numbers and add the exponents algebraically.
(4.0 x 10
4
)(2.0 x 10
3
) =
(4.0 x 2.0)(10
4
x 10
3
) =
(8.0) x (10
4+3
) =
8.0 x 10
7
To divide two numbers in scientific notation, divide the decimal parts of each number then
subtract the exponents.
3 2 5
2
5
2
5
10 2 10 2
10
10
2
4
10 2
10 4
× = × =


.

\

×

.

\

=
×
×
÷
( ) 10 6 4 6  4
6 
4
6 
4
10 5 10 5 10 5
10
10
5
25
10 5
10 25
× = × = × =


.

\

×

.

\

=
×
×
+ ÷
Experimental Error
Sample data for g (m/s
2
)
9.70 9.95 9.80 9.65 9.90 9.80
2
m/s 0.08
6
0 0.10 0.15 0 0.15 0.10
=
+ + + + +
2 2
m/s 0.08 m/s 9.80 g ± =
(0.08/9.8) x 100% ≈ 0.8%
Accuracy of about 1%
Mean Value  Average of data set is 9.80 m/s
2
Mean Absolute Deviation
Accuracy
How many significant figures are there in each of the
following?
(i) 0.00042 (ii) 0.14700 (iii) 4.2 x 10
6
(iv) 154.090 x 10
27
Answers:
Try this....
How many significant figures are there in each of the following?
(i) 0.00042 (ii) 0.14700 (ii) 4.2 x 10
6
(iv) 154.090 x 10
27
Answers:
(i) 2
(ii) 5
(iii) 2
(iv) 6
Try this....
Table 1.1
Mathematical operation Significant figures in result
Multiplication or division No more than in number with the
fewest significant figures
e.g. 0.745 x 2.2 / 3.885=0.42
Addition or subtraction Determined by the number with the
smallest uncertainty
e.g.27.153+138.2–11.74=153.6
The result of a calculation usually has no more
significant figures than the input data
Accuracy:
How close a measurement is to being correct.
Precision:
The number of significant figures (or the uncertainties) in a
measurement.
For gravitational acceleration near the earth,
g = 9.532706 m/s
2
and g = 9.7 m/s
2
.
Which is more
(i) precise?
(ii) accurate?
(Greater precision does not mean greater accuracy! )