Rules for Significant Figures

# Rules for Significant Figures - Rules for Significant...

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Rules for Significant Figures 1. Two types of numbers exist – exact numbers and measurements. 2. Exact numbers have an infinite number of significant figures by definition. 3. Measurements are made in such a way that the last digit in the measurement is uncertain. When taking a measurement, always estimate one digit beyond the smallest graduation on your measuring device. (Ex. If your ruler is marked in millimeters, your measurement should be to the nearest 0.1 mm. You will have to guesstimate the last digit.) 4. All nonzero numbers in a measurement are significant figures. (Ex. 4672 = 4 SF; 1.4375 = 5 SF) 5. Zeros in measurements may or may not be significant depending on their place in the measurement. a. Leading zeros never count as significant figures. These zeros are only place holders at the beginning of a small number. (Ex. 0.00243 = 3 SF; 0.47 = 2 SF) b. In the middle zeros always count as significant figures. (Ex. 204 = 3 SF; 5.031 = 4 SF) c. Trailing zeros are significant figures when a decimal point is present.

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• Spring '07
• ARNEY

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