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Lower Sec Science 1 Physical Quantities and Units

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Base Quantities and Units The System International of Units (SI) is a system of measurement that has been agreed internationally. It defines 7 base quantities and units. Can you recall/guess the 7 base quantities and units?

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Base Quantities and Units Their definitions are based on specific physical measurements that can be reproduced, very accurately, in laboratories around the world. The only exception is the kilogram. This is the mass of a particular metal cylinder, known as the prototype kilogram, which is kept in Paris.

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Derived Units All other physical quantities are known as derived quantities. Both the quantity and its unit are derived from a combination of base units, using a defining equation.

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Derived Units

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What other units have you come across in addition to these base units and base unit combinations? Newtons, watts, joules, volts and ohms are all derived units with special names given. Special names are given as some of the combinations are quite complicated as seen in the table. (next slide)

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Derived Units

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Activity: Flight 143 Read the article on Flight 143 for a discussion on the importance of units. http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/a csdisplay.html?DOC=vc2\2my\my2_143.html http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/a csdisplay.html?DOC=vc2\2my\my2_143.html

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Prefixes For very large or very small numbers, we can use standard prefixes with the base units. The main prefixes that you need to know are shown in the table. (next slide)

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Prefixes

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Systematic Errors These are errors in the experimental method or equipment where readings are either always too big or always too small. Can you give an example of the above? For example, if your newton-meter reads 0.2 N with no weights on it, then your measurements of force will always be 0.2 N too large.

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Systematic Errors What are zero errors? Remember to check for any zero errors for your measuring instruments before you start. Can you name another common type of systematic error?

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Systematic Errors Another example is if you get parallax when reading scales with your eye in the wrong position, as shown in the diagram

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reading will be too small Correct position Reading will be too large

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Systematic Errors If you heat some water to measure its specific heat capacity, there will always be thermal energy lost to the surroundings. So how will that affect your temperature rise reading in this process? Measurement of the temperature rise of the water would always be too small. This is another systematic error.

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Systematic Errors Therefore, you will need to design your experiment carefully to correct for errors like this thermal energy loss. You will also need to take certain precautions for different types of experiments.

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Random Errors These are errors which sometimes mean that readings are too big, and sometimes too small. For example, when you are timing oscillations, what is the common error here? Error in your timing because of your reactions.

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Random Errors There are also random errors when reading ammeters or voltmeters. For example, a reading of 1.0 V means that the voltage is between 0.95 V and 1.05 V, and we are not sure if the reading is too high or too low.

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Lower Sec Science Accuracy and Precision

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Precision Precision is the degree of exactness to which a measurement can be reproduced. The precision of an instrument is limited by the smallest division on the measurement scale.

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Accuracy The accuracy of a measurement describes how well the result agrees with an accepted value.

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An analogy The dots represent bullet holes in the target. Draw an analogy between accuracy and precision using the above 3 diagrams.

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An analogy The first target shows good accuracy and poor precision; the second shows good precision and poor accuracy.

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An analogy The third represents good accuracy and good precision.

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Significant Figures and Calculations What is the difference between lengths of 4 m, 4.0 m and 4.00 m? Writing 5.00 m implies that we have measured the length more precisely than if we write 5 m. Writing 5.00 m tells us that the length is accurate to the nearest centimetre.

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Significant Figures and Calculations How many significant figures should you give in your answers to calculations? This depends on the precision of the numbers you use in the calculation. Your answer cannot be any more precise than the data you use.

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Significant Figures and Calculations This means that you should round your answer to the same number of significant figures as those used in the calculation. If some of the figures are given less precisely than others, then round up to the lowest number of significant figures.

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Example The swimmer in the photograph covers a distance of 100.0 m in 68 s. Calculate her average speed. Our final answer should be stated as: 1.5 m s -1 (2 s.f.)

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