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Basic units and standard forms

A physical quantity is quantity that can be

A number expressed in a scientific notation or

standard form is written as A X 10n where n = integer and 1A<10

Examples: a) 31 000 expressed in scientific notation is written as

3.1x104 b) 0.712 expressed in the scientific notation is written as 7.12x10-1

Basic quantities quantities that cannot be defined in

any other form of physical quantities

Derived quantities combination of basic quantities

via multiplication of division

Units standard size for comparison SI Units internationally accepted units (determined

in Paris in a meeting in 1960) Le System International dUnites

Prefixes are the preceding factor used to represent very

small and very large physical quantities in SI units.

Example 1:

The frequency of the radio wave is 350M Hz. What is the frequency of the radio wave in Hz?

Example 2
The thickness of a film is 25nm. What is the thickness

in unit meter?

Example 3
0.255 s is equal to how many ms

Example 4
Convert 265,500,000 W into GW

Unit 2 precision, accuracy and error


1. Precision is the ability of an instrument in measuring a quantity in a consistent manner with only a small relative deviation between readings.


1. The accuracy of a measurement is the approximation of the measurement to the actual value for a certain quantity of Physics. 2. The measurement is more accurate if its number of significant figures increases.

3. Table above shows that the micrometer screw gauge

is more accurate than the other measuring instruments.

4. The accuracy of a measurement can be increased by

taking a number of repeat readings to calculate the

mean value of the reading. avoiding the end errors or zero errors. taking into account the zero and parallax errors. using more sensitive equipment such as a vernier caliper to replace a ruler.

Error Error is the difference between the actual value of a quantity and the value obtained in measurement. There are 2 main types of error Systematic Error Random Error

Systematic Error

Systematic errors are errors which tend to shift all measurements in a systematic way so their mean value is displaced. Systematic errors can be compensated if the errors are known. Examples of systematic errors arezero error, which cause by an incorrect position of the zero point, an incorrect calibration of the measuring instrument. consistently improper use of equipment. Systematic error can be reduced byConducting the experiment with care. Repeating the experiment by using different instruments.

Zero error

1. A zero error arises when the measuring instrument does not start from exactly zero. 2. Zero errors are consistently present in every reading of a measurement.

3. The zero error can be positive or negative


ZERO ERROR: The pointer of the ammeter place on zero when no current flow through it.)

(NEGATIVE ZERO ERROR: The pointer of the ammeter does not place on zero but a negative value when no current flow through it.)

(POSITIVE ZERO ERROR: The pointer of the ammeter does not place on zero but a positive value when no current flow through it.)

Random errors

1. Random errors arise from unknown and unpredictable variations in condition. 2. It fluctuates from one measurement to the next.

3. Random errors are caused by factors that are beyond the control of the observers.

4. Random error can cause by

personal errors such as human limitations of sight and

touch. lack of sensitivity of the instrument: the instrument fail to respond to the small change. natural errors such as changes in temperature or wind, while the experiment is in progress. wrong technique of measurement

One example of random error is the parallax error.

Random error can be reduced by taking repeat readings

find the average value of the reading.

Parallax error

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.