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Significant Figures

Significant Figures. Physical Science. What is a significant figure?. There are 2 kinds of numbers: Exact: the amount of money in your account. Known with certainty. What is a significant figure?. Approximate: weight, height—anything MEASURED. No measurement is perfect.

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Significant Figures

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  1. Significant Figures Physical Science

  2. What is a significant figure? • There are 2 kinds of numbers: • Exact: the amount of money in your account. Known with certainty.

  3. What is a significant figure? • Approximate: weight, height—anything MEASURED. No measurement is perfect.

  4. When to use Significant figures • When a measurement is recorded only those digits that are dependable are written down.

  5. When to use Significant figures • If you measured the width of a paper with your ruler you might record 21.7cm. To a mathematician 21.70, or 21.700 is the same.

  6. But, to a scientist 21.7cm and 21.70cm is NOT the same • 21.700cm to a scientist means the measurement is accurate to within one thousandth of a cm.

  7. But, to a scientist 21.7cm and 21.70cm is NOT the same • If you used an ordinary ruler, the smallest marking is the mm, so your measurement has to be recorded as 21.7cm.

  8. How do I know how many Sig Figs? • Rule: All digits are significant starting with the first non-zero digit on the left.

  9. How do I know how many Sig Figs? • Exception to rule: In whole numbers that end in zero, the zeros at the end are not significant.

  10. 7 40 0.5 0.00003 7 x 105 7,000,000 1 1 1 1 1 1 How many sig figs?

  11. How do I know how many Sig Figs? • 2nd Exception to rule: If zeros are sandwiched between non-zero digits, the zeros become significant.

  12. How do I know how many Sig Figs? • 3rd Exception to rule: If zeros are at the end of a number that has a decimal, the zeros are significant.

  13. How do I know how many Sig Figs? • 3rd Exception to rule: These zeros are showing how accurate the measurement or calculation are.

  14. 1.2 2100 56.76 4.00 0.0792 7,083,000,000 2 2 4 3 3 4 How many sig figs here?

  15. 3401 2100 2100.0 5.00 0.00412 8,000,050,000 4 2 5 3 3 6 How many sig figs here?

  16. What about calculations with sig figs? • Rule: When adding or subtracting measured numbers, the answer can have no more places after the decimal than the LEAST of the measured numbers.

  17. Add/Subtract examples • 2.45cm + 1.2cm = 3.65cm, • Round off to = 3.7cm • 7.432cm + 2cm = 9.432 round to  9cm

  18. Multiplication and Division • Rule: When multiplying or dividing, the result can have no more significant figures than the least reliable measurement.

  19. A couple of examples • 56.78 cm x 2.45cm = 139.111 cm2 • Round to  139cm2 • 75.8cm x 9.6cm = ?

  20. The End Have Fun Measuring and Happy Calculating!

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