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Lecturer: Mr. Tan Kee Liew

Conversion of Units

Process Data Representati on & Analysis

Engineering Calculations

Numerical Calculation & Estimation

Dimensional Homogeneity & Dimensionless Analysis

Units and Dimensions

Unit a predetermined reference amount that is used to help us understand the magnitude of a physical quantity. Dimension Property that can be measured (length, time, mass, or temperature) or calculated by multiplying or dividing other dimensions length/time (velocity), length3 (volume) Numerical values of two quantities may be added or subtracted only if units are the same. Numerical values and corresponding units may always be combined by multiplication or division.

Conversion of Units
Measured quantity can be expressed in terms of any units having the appropriate dimension. Equivalence between two expressions of the same quantity defined in terms of a ratio: 1cm 10mm (1centimeter per 10 millimeters)

Conversion Factors

10mm 1cm
10mm 2 1cm =

( 10millimeters per centimeter)

100mm2 1cm2 x new unit old unit


To convert:

old unit

Conversion of Units
Lets convert 24 mg to gram 24 mg 1g = 0.024 g 1000 mg
Example 2.1 : Convert 2.5 cm/s2 to km/hr2

2.5 cm s2
2.5 cm s2 = 324 km/hr2

60 s 1 min

60 min 1 hr

1m 100 cm
1m 100 cm

1 km 1000 m
1 km 1000 m

3600 s2 1 min2

3600 min2 1 hr2

Conversion of Units

A car goes 50 miles/hour. What is that in m/s ?


System of Units
A system of units is described by: a set of fundamental dimensions from which all other dimensions may be derived, and a set of base units. A system of units has the following components : Base units units for the dimensions of mass, length, time, temperature, electrical current, and light intensity. Multiple units multiple or fraction of base units (eg. hour, miliseconds, etc) Derived units units are obtained in one or two ways; a) By multiplying and dividing base or multiply units; also referred to as compound units [eg. ft/min(velocity), cm2(area)] b) As defined equivalents of compound units (1 kgm/s2 = 1 Newton)

System of Units
3 systems of units:
a) SI system b) American Engineering System c) CGS system
Base Units Quantity Length Mass Time Temperature SI meter kilogram second Kelvin Symbol m kg s K American foot Pound mass second Rankine Symbol ft lbm s R CGS centimeter gram second Kelvin Symbol cm g s K

Common Derived Units

Derived SI Units
Quantity Unit Symbol Equivalent in Terms of Base Units

Volume Force Pressure Energy,work Power Velocity Density Volume

Liter Newton Pascal Joule Calorie Watt Meter per second Kilogram per cubic meter Cubic meter

I (lit) N Pa J Cal W

0.001m3 (=1000cm3) 1 kg.m/s2 (1 g.cm/s2) 1 N/m2 1 N.m = 1 kg.m2/s2 4.184 J 1 J/s = 1 kg.m2/s3 m/s kg/m3 m3

UGPA1193 June 2011

Prefixes (to make multiple units)


Example 2.2 : Convert an acceleration of 1 cm/s2 to its equivalent in km/yr2

Example 2.3 :
Convert 23 Ibmft/min2 to its equivalent in kgcm/s2


Conversion factors

Test Yourself

1 N=1 kgm/s2 1 Ibf = 32.174 Ibmft/s2 1 slug = 1 Ibfs2/ft 1 m = 3.2808 ft = 39.37 in

Q (a) : Convert the pressure P=32.5 Ibf/in2 to N/m2

Q (b) : Convert the flowrate of 500 in3/min to m3/s

Q (c) : Convert the torque of 55.2 ft-lbf to N-m

Q (d) : Convert the mass-density of 1.60 slugs/ft3 to g/cm3



Answers :

Q (a) : 2.2408x105 N/m2

Q (b) : 1.3656x104 m3/s Q (c) : 74.8408 Nm Q (d) : 0.8246 g/cm3


Dimensional Homogeneity and Dimensionless Analysis

Principle of consistency of units: units on the left side of an equation must be the same as those on the right side of an equation This property is called dimensional homogeneity
Dimensionless quantity can be (i) a pure number, or (ii) multiplicative combination of variables with no net dimensions, eg. Reynolds number.
Exponent(eg. x in 2x) must be dimensionless Arguments of transcendental functions(X in sinX) must be dimensionless quantities. (Examples of transcendental functions are log, exponential(e), sin, cosh, etc)

Dimensional Analysis
Checking equations with dimensional analysis:

1 2 x f xi vi t at 2
(L/T2)T2=L L


Each term must have same dimension Two variables cannot be added if dimensions are different Multiplying variables is always fine Numbers (e.g. 1/2 or p) are dimensionless

Dimensional Analysis
1 2 v gh 2 L L 2 2L T T
L L3 2 T T

v gh
L L L 2 T T


Terms do not match

Terms match, this could be a valid formula.


Dimensionless Group
Dimensionless groups or, more appropriately, unitless groups are used frequently in chemical engineering correlations. They are numbers which result in generalized correlations that can be used more extensively to cover many situations. Dimensionless groups are a multiplicative combination of variables that result in unitless quantities.


Example 2.4 :


Solution (Example 2.4):


Example 2.5 :

Solution :