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Quantities, Units, and

A. Definition Of Quantities, Units, and Measurement
 Quantities are everything that can be measured, has value
that can be expressed by numbers, and has the certain
 Units are a statement that explains the meaning of a
 Measurement is a process of comparing something
measured with another as measures made as a standard.
In other words, measurement is the process of comparing
a quantity with another quantity which is used as unit.

A. Basic Quantities
 Quantities which are usually used in physics are
differentiated into two, those are basic quantities and
derived quantities. Basic quantities are quantities the
units of which are predetermined and they are not derived
from another quantities.
 Basic quantities consist of seven quantities :
No. Basic Quantities Units Units
Name Symbol
1 Length meter m
2 Mass kilogram kg
3 Time second s
4 Electric Current ampere A
5 Temperature Kelvin K
6 Luminous Intensity candela cd
7 The amount of mole mol
 Units which are not acknowledged internationally are
called non-standard units. Hence, it is necessary to be
determined a unit system that is valid in-ternationally
functioning as standard units (or also called fundamental
 Some scientists organized international conference which
agreed standard units called International System Units

1. Length
 Length is the distance between two points in a space.
According to SI units, the length quantity is expressed in
 There are several kinds of measuring devices used to
measure quantity of length, among others, are as follows.
a) Ruler
The ruler uses cm or mm scale with accuracy of 0.1
cm or 1 mm.
b) Vernier Caliper
A vernier caliper has two main parts, namely outer jaw
to measure thickness and inner jaw to measure the
diameter of inner part of an object. The accuracy of
the vernier caliper reaches 0.1 mm. Vernier caliper has
two jaws, namely fixed jaw and sliding jaw. The fixed
jaw has length scale which is called main scale, while
the sliding jaw has short scale which is called vernier
c) Screw Micrometer
A screw micrometer has accuracy until 0.01 mm. The
screw mi-crometer is usually used to measure tiny or
small objects. The screw micrometer has two scales,
those are main scale and vernier scale.
1. Mass
 The mass of a body is the amount of matter contained by
the body. Accor-ding to SI units, the unit of mass is
kilogram (kg).
 Weight in physics has different definition to the weight in
everyday life. According to physics, weight is the force
experienced by a body which has mass because of gravity.
 Measuring device used to measure mass quantity is
balances. Several kinds of balances are as follows :
a) Market Balance
The balance which is often found in the markets is
called the market balance.
b) Electronic Balance
An electronic balance has a screen which will show the
value of the mass of body measured automatically
without need the weight of scale. The electronic
balance is operated by using electrical power.

c) Arm Balance
There are several kinds of arm balance i.e. two armed
balance, three armed balance, and four armed
balance. The working pro-cedure of two armed
balance is equal to market balance. Mean-while, the
working procedure of four armed balance is by
regulating sliding load found in the base of the
balance, so scale points to the number zero when
there is no yet the body to be measured.
1. Time
 Time unit in SI is expressed in second.
 Meanwhile time units usually used everyday are as follows
a) 1 minute = 60 s
b) 1 hour = 60 x 60 s = 3.600 s
c) 1 day = 24 x 3.600 s = 86.400 s
 The time measuring device usually used in ancient were
hourglasses and sundial. Nowadays, the devices usually
used as time measurer are watch and stopwatch.
a) Watch
Commonly, watches have three hands, those hour
hand, minute hand, and second hand.
b) Stopwatch
Stopwatch is usually used in a laboratory or sport
activities that is to measure time interval of an event
that activities. There is a stopwatch using hands to
show its time, but there is also a digital stopwatch.

A. Derived Quantities
 Derived quantities are quantities derived from basic
 Several Examples of Derived Quantities :
No Derived Units Name Units
. Quantities Symbol
1 Area square meters m2
2 Volume cubic meters m3
3 Velocity meters per second m/s
4 Force newton N
5 Density kilograms per cubic kg/m3
6 Power watt W
7 Work joule J
1. Area
 Area is derived quantity which is obtained by multiplying
two length quantities.
 To measure the area of regullar shape of object we use
ruler, etc.
 To measure the area of irregular shape of object we use
graph paper.
Example :
– Count the full square cover with object
– Count the square half and most than
half cover of object = 4
– The value of ones = 3 + 4 = 7
1. Volume
 Volume is the number of spaces used by a body. Similar
to area, volume is also derived of basic quantities, that is
the product of three length quantities.
 To measure volume of regular shape, their volume can
be calculated by u-sing certain formula.
 To measure volume of irregular shape or liquid we use
measuring cylinder
Example :

– Pour some water into the

measuring cylin-der. Write volume
of water = V1
– Fill the object into the measuring
cylinder. Write volume of water =
– Volume of object = V2 - V1

 We can measure volume of irregular shape by

displacement method too.

displace glass

? = V object
A. Working In The Laboratory
 In learning physics, besides learn theory in a class you
need also to do several experiments/practicums in a
laboratory to apply or prove the theories obtained in the
1. Laboratory Equipment
 In a laboratory there are found devices and material to
do a practicum. Devices usually found in a physics
laboratory are balances, thermo-meter, stopwatch, ruler,
vernier caliper, glasses, glass jars, bunsen bur-ner,
reaction tubes, and so on. Meanwhile the materials
usually found in the laboratory are chemicals.
1. Working Safety
 Practicum in a laboratory closely relates to devices and
materials which sometime can cause any accident if it is
done by inappropriate method.
 It is necessary to be considered the use of those devices
and materials, so not happen any accident when doing
practicum, because working sa-fety in the laboratory is
an important factor for everyone. Besides that, it is
necessary also to understand the meaning of symbols or
signs which are usually written in the package of
chemicals or the certain devices, among others, are as
follows :
 The things that must be considered in doing practicum in
a laboratory are as in the below :
a) Plan the experiment which will be done before starting
the practicum.
b) Prepare the things required and what must be
considered before en-tering the laboratory such a note
book, the kind of experiment, the kind of materials, the
kind of devices, and the methods to remove the waste
of the experiment remain.
c) Master the working procedure and ask your teacher if
you have any doubt or do not know about something.
d) Wear a coat and goggle while you are doing an activity.
They are u-seful for protecting our skin, eyes, and
other body parts from a ha-rmful chemical substance.
e) Do not wear a sandal or opened shoes or highly sole
f) Fit your hair if your hair is long.
g) Do not eat or drink while you are in the laboratory.
h) Keep the cleanness of a practicum desk. If the
practicum desk is wet, immediately dry it using a
i) Avoid direct contact with chemical stuffs.
j) Do not smell a chemical substance directly from a
bottle nozzle.
k) Make sure the gas tap is not leak when using bunsen.
l) Make sure the water and gas taps are always in closed
position befo-re and after practicum is finished.
m)Do not work alone in the laboratory, minimally there is
a teacher ob-serving.
n) Do not plat with a laboratory equipment and a
chemical stuff.
o) Do not make mistake among friends.
p) If your body is splashed by a certain chemical
substance, wash it with water as much as possible.
q) If accident happen, immediately contact paramedics.
r) Devices used in practicum must be kept well as
possible, do not until be broken.