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UNIT 1

PHYSICAL QUANTITIES AND


MEASUREMENTS

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Physical Quantities &
Measurements
1.1 Introduction to Physics
1.2 Quantities & Units
1.3 Dimension
1.4 Scalar & Vector
1.5 Measurements & Errors (to be
discussed during the experiment
session)

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LESSON 1

1.1 Introduction to Physics


1.2 Quantities and Units

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OBJECTIVES:
• Understand physics from the aspect of experiments and theories of physics
and state the role of physics in the development of science.
• State basic quantities and their respective SI units: length (m), time (s), mass
(kg), electric current (A), temperature (K), amount of substance (mole) and
luminosity (cd)
• State derived quantities and their respective SI units and special symbols :
force (N), pressure (Pa), energy (J), power (W), resistance (Ω), capacitance
(F), inductance (H), frequency (Hz), activity (Bq), light (lx), etc
• Realize the existence and importance of SI, national and international system
of standard measurements, and the conversion between these unit systems.
• State and use dimensions for base quantities : length (L), time (T), mass (M),
current (A), temperature (K) and amount of substance (N).
• Deduce the correct dimension for a certain derived quantity and its equation
of physics.

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1.1 INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICS
• Physics is the law of nature.

•Physics is important for understanding the technology around


us; its study uses skills that are useful in other fields as well.
With deeper understanding comes appreciation of the physical
universe. 5
Physical Quantity
• Measured quantity.
• 2 types of quantities :
 Basic quantity
- quantity that cannot be derived from any other
quantities.
 Derived quantity
- quantity that is derived from the combination of
several basic quantities by mathematical operation.

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Basic Quantity

Basic Quantity Symbol S.I. Unit


Mass m kg (kilogram)
Length l m ( meter)
Time t s (second)
Temperature T K (kelvin)
Amount mol mole
Luminous I cd (candela)
intensity
Current I A ( ampere)

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Derived Quantity
Quantity Unit
Velocity, v m s-1
Acceleration, a m s-2
Density, ρ kg m-3
Force, F N ( newton)
Pressure, p N m-2 or Pa
Energy or Work, E or W J ( joule)
Momentum, p kg m s-1
Power, P watt (W)
Resistance, R ohm (Ω)
Capacitance, C farad (F)
Inductance ,L henry (H)
Frequency, f hertz (Hz)
Activity, A becquerel (Bq) 8
Example : Derived quantity
By multiplication :
a) area  (length)  (width)
By division :
displacement
b) velocity 
time
By both multiplication & division :
displacement
velocity time
c) acceleration  =
time time

mass mass
d) density  =
volume (length)  (width)  (height)
(velocity)
(mass) 
e) pressure 
force (mass)  (acceleration) (time)
= 
area (length)  (width) (length)  (width)
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1.2 QUANTITIES AND UNITS
• All physical quantities have units.

• Systems of units :
i) S.I (International System) unit. [French: Système International]
- also known as the MKS (metre-kilogram-second) system.
ii) cgs (centimetre-gram-second) system.
iii) British engineering system (foot-pound-second).

• Prefixes are used to represent larger or smaller values.


- larger or smaller units are defined in multiples of 10 from
the standard unit

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Example : Derived quantities and their S.I units

displacement (meter)
a) velocity  ≡  meter per second  m s 1
time (second)

velocity (meter per second) m s 1


b) acceleration  ≡   m s 2
time (second) s
mass (kilogram)
c) density = ≡  kilogram per cubic meter  kg m -3

volume (meter)3

d) force = (mass)(acceleration) ≡ (kg)(ms 2 )  kg m s-2  newton, (N)

force (kg m s -2 )
e) pressure = ≡  kg m -1 -2
s  N m -2
 pascal, (Pa)
area (m) 2

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Prefixes

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Conversion of unit
• In solving problems, all data must be converted to S.I units.

Example 1 : min → s
 60 s 
3 min = (3 min)  = 180 s
 1 min 
Example 2 : km h-1 → m s-1
 m  1 h  1
1200 km h   1200  10
-1

3
  333.3 m s
 h   3600 s

Example 3 : cm3 → m3
3
 10 m  −2
3
(
10 cm = 10 cm  )
 = 1 × 10 −5 m 3
3

 1 cm 

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Conversion of unit
Question 1 :
The density of lead is 11. 3 g cm-3 . What is the value in
kilograms per cubic meter ?
Solution : 3
g  1 kg   100 cm 
11.3 3
× 
 
 × 
 
 = 1.13 × 10 4
kg m −3
.
cm  1000 g   1 m 

Question 2 :
How many nanoseconds does it take for light to travel 1.00
km in vacuum ?
Solution :
distance 10 3 m −6
time = = −1
= 3 . 33 × 10 s = 3.33 × 10 3
ns.
speed 3.00 × 10 ms
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1.3 Dimension
• Relate physical quantity to the basic quantities.
• Example : dimension of mass = M

[mass] = M

Basic Quantity Dimension

[mass] or [m] M
[length] or [l ] L
[time] or [t] T
[temperature] or [T] θ
[electric current] or [I] A
[amount of substance] or [n] N

• There are quantities that do not have dimension and unit, called the
dimensionless quantities. Example : refractive index of a material 15
Dimensions for derived quantities

Examples :

a) [ velocity] =
[ displacement ] = LT −1
[ time]

b) [ acceleration ] =
[ velocity] =
LT −1
= LT − 2
[ time] T

c) [ force] = [ mass] × [ acceleration ] = MLT −2

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Rule applies in dimensional analysis ;
• add or subtract quantities only if they have the same
dimensions ⇒ quantities on each side of an equal sign
must have the same dimensions
Examples :
i) v  u  at ii) s  ut  12 at 2 dimensionless
quantity
[v] = [u] = [at] [ s]  [ut ]   1
2 at 2 

m iv) F  ma
iii)  
V
[ F ]  [m][a ]
[ m]
[ ] 
[V ]

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Conclusion
Basic quantity – length, mass, time, temperature,
• Physical quantity current, luminous intensity,
amount of substance.
Derived quantity – eg: velocity, acceleration, force
• Systems of unit : - International System (SI unit)
- cgs system
- British system
• Dimension : Relate physical quantity to the basic quantities

Basic Quantity Dimension


[mass] or [m] M
[length] or [l ] L
[time] or [t] T
[temperature] or [T] θ
[electric current] or [I] A
[amount of substance] or [n] N 18