# 1.3 Accuracy, precision, and significant figures  (Page 4/12)

 Page 4 / 12

When we express measured values, we can only list as many digits as we initially measured with our measuring tool. For example, if you use a standard ruler to measure the length of a stick, you may measure it to be $\text{36}\text{.}7\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{cm}$ . You could not express this value as $\text{36}\text{.}\text{71}\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{cm}$ because your measuring tool was not precise enough to measure a hundredth of a centimeter. It should be noted that the last digit in a measured value has been estimated in some way by the person performing the measurement. For example, the person measuring the length of a stick with a ruler notices that the stick length seems to be somewhere in between $\text{36}\text{.}6\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{cm}$ and $\text{36}\text{.}7\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{cm}$ , and he or she must estimate the value of the last digit. Using the method of significant figures    , the rule is that the last digit written down in a measurement is the first digit with some uncertainty . In order to determine the number of significant digits in a value, start with the first measured value at the left and count the number of digits through the last digit written on the right. For example, the measured value $\text{36}\text{.}7\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{cm}$ has three digits, or significant figures. Significant figures indicate the precision of a measuring tool that was used to measure a value.

## Zeros

Special consideration is given to zeros when counting significant figures. The zeros in 0.053 are not significant, because they are only placekeepers that locate the decimal point. There are two significant figures in 0.053. The zeros in 10.053 are not placekeepers but are significant—this number has five significant figures. The zeros in 1300 may or may not be significant depending on the style of writing numbers. They could mean the number is known to the last digit, or they could be placekeepers. So 1300 could have two, three, or four significant figures. (To avoid this ambiguity, write 1300 in scientific notation.) Zeros are significant except when they serve only as placekeepers .

Determine the number of significant figures in the following measurements:

1. 0.0009
2. 15,450.0
3. $6×{\text{10}}^{3}$
4. 87.990
5. 30.42

(a) 1; the zeros in this number are placekeepers that indicate the decimal point

(b) 6; here, the zeros indicate that a measurement was made to the 0.1 decimal point, so the zeros are significant

(c) 1; the value ${\text{10}}^{3}$ signifies the decimal place, not the number of measured values

(d) 5; the final zero indicates that a measurement was made to the 0.001 decimal point, so it is significant

(e) 4; any zeros located in between significant figures in a number are also significant

## Significant figures in calculations

When combining measurements with different degrees of accuracy and precision, the number of significant digits in the final answer can be no greater than the number of significant digits in the least precise measured value . There are two different rules, one for multiplication and division and the other for addition and subtraction, as discussed below.

1. For multiplication and division: The result should have the same number of significant figures as the quantity having the least significant figures entering into the calculation . For example, the area of a circle can be calculated from its radius using $A={\mathrm{\pi r}}^{2}$ . Let us see how many significant figures the area has if the radius has only two—say, $r=1\text{.}2\phantom{\rule{0.25em}{0ex}}\text{m}$ . Then,

write an expression for a plane progressive wave moving from left to right along x axis and having amplitude 0.02m, frequency of 650Hz and speed if 680ms-¹
how does a model differ from a theory
what is vector quantity
Vector quality have both direction and magnitude, such as Force, displacement, acceleration and etc.
Besmellah
Is the force attractive or repulsive between the hot and neutral lines hung from power poles? Why?
what's electromagnetic induction
electromagnetic induction is a process in which conductor is put in a particular position and magnetic field keeps varying.
Lukman
wow great
Salaudeen
what is mutual induction?
je
mutual induction can be define as the current flowing in one coil that induces a voltage in an adjacent coil.
Johnson
how to undergo polarization
show that a particle moving under the influence of an attractive force mu/y³ towards the axis x. show that if it be projected from the point (0,k) with the component velocities U and V parallel to the axis of x and y, it will not strike the axis of x unless u>v²k² and distance uk²/√u-vk as origin
show that a particle moving under the influence of an attractive force mu/y^3 towards the axis x. show that if it be projected from the point (0,k) with the component velocities U and V parallel to the axis of x and y, it will not strike the axis of x unless u>v^2k^2 and distance uk^2/√u-k as origin
No idea.... Are you even sure this question exist?
Mavis
I can't even understand the question
yes it was an assignment question "^"represent raise to power pls
Gabriel
Gabriel
An engineer builds two simple pendula. Both are suspended from small wires secured to the ceiling of a room. Each pendulum hovers 2 cm above the floor. Pendulum 1 has a bob with a mass of 10kg . Pendulum 2 has a bob with a mass of 100 kg . Describe how the motion of the pendula will differ if the bobs are both displaced by 12º .
no ideas
Augstine
if u at an angle of 12 degrees their period will be same so as their velocity, that means they both move simultaneously since both both hovers at same length meaning they have the same length
Modern cars are made of materials that make them collapsible upon collision. Explain using physics concept (Force and impulse), how these car designs help with the safety of passengers.
calculate the force due to surface tension required to support a column liquid in a capillary tube 5mm. If the capillary tube is dipped into a beaker of water
find the time required for a train Half a Kilometre long to cross a bridge almost kilometre long racing at 100km/h
method of polarization
Ajayi
What is atomic number?
The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom
Deborah
type of thermodynamics
oxygen gas contained in a ccylinder of volume has a temp of 300k and pressure 2.5×10Nm
why the satellite does not drop to the earth explain
what is a matter
Yinka
what is matter
Yinka
what is matter
Yinka
what is a matter
Yinka
I want the nuclear physics conversation
Mohamed
because space is a vacuum and anything outside the earth 🌎 can not come back without an act of force applied to it to leave the vacuum and fall down to the earth with a maximum force length of 30kcm per second
Clara