Metric System - Conversion Factors and Dimensional Analysis Many times the need arises to change the units of a quantity or measurement to

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Conversion Factors and Dimensional Analysis Many times the need arises to change the units of a quantity or measurement to different units. The new units may be in the same measurement system as the old ones (meters to kilometers) or they may be in a different system (meters to inches, or minutes to hours). Conversion Factor : an equality, expressed in fractional form, that is used as a multiplier to convert a quantity in one unit to a quantity in another unit. Dimensional Analysis : the mathematical tool used to change units. Unit conversion is accomplished by multiplying a given quantity or measurement by one or more conversion factors. Given quantity x conversion factors(s) = desired quantity Notes on conversion factors: 1. Multiplication by one or more conversion factors does not change the value of a measurement or quantity because all conversion factors have a numerical value equal to one. Multiplication by the number one does not change the value of an expression. 2. A fixed relationship between two quantities allows one to construct a pair of conversion factors. From the relationship: 1 minute = 60 seconds we obtain the following pair of conversion factors: (a) minute 1 seconds 60 (b) seconds 60 minute 1 The first conversion factor (a) is used to convert minutes into seconds. The second conversion factor (b) is used to convert seconds into minutes.
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2011 for the course CHEM 102 taught by Professor Henshaw during the Winter '11 term at Grand Valley State University.

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Metric System - Conversion Factors and Dimensional Analysis Many times the need arises to change the units of a quantity or measurement to

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