Significant figures
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Significant figures PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Significant figures. Significant figures: What are they and why do they matter?. Importance: to ensure the accuracy of our measurements To make sure we tell others only what we actually know based on our equipment and it’s limitations

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Significant figures

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Significant figures

Significant figures


Significant figures what are they and why do they matter

Significant figures: What are they and why do they matter?

  • Importance: to ensure the accuracy of our measurements

    • To make sure we tell others only what we actually know based on our equipment and it’s limitations

  • Significant figures: all the numbers actually measured plus one that is estimated


Rules for significant figures

Rules for significant figures

  • Non zeros are always significant:

    • 1.23456 has 6 sig figs

  • Zeros within a number are always significant. Both 4308 and 40.05 contain four significant figures.

  • Zeros that do nothing but set the decimal point are not significant.

    • 470,000 has 2 significant figures.

    • 0.00000000098 has 2 sig figs

  • Trailing zeros that aren't needed to hold the decimal point are significant.

    • 4.00 has 3 significant figures.

    • 0.0000050 has 2 significant figures


Rules for addition and subtraction of significant figures

Rules for addition and subtraction of significant figures

  • The number of decimal places in the answer is equal to the number of decimal places in the quantity with the smallest number of decimal places

    • 1 . 2 3   + 4 . 5 6 7 = 5 . 8 0


Rules for multiplication and division of significant figures

Rules for multiplication and division of significant figures

  • The LEAST number of significant figures in any number of the problem determines the number of significant figures in the answer.

    • 2 x 10.0 = 20

    • 66 / 2 = 33 = 30


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