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# Chapter 6

Units
&
Dimensions
Objectives

## Know the difference between units and

dimensions
Understand the SI, USCS (U.S. Customary
System, or British Gravitational System), and
AES (American Engineering) systems of units
Know the SI prefixes from nano- to giga-
Understand and apply the concept of
dimensional homogeneity
Objectives

## What is the difference between an

absolute and a gravitational system of
units?
What is a coherent system of units?
Apply dimensional homogeneity to
constants and equations.
Introduction

## France in 1840 legislated official adoption

of the metric system and made its use be
mandatory
In U.S., in 1866, the metric system was
made legal, but its use was not
compulsory
Engineering Metrology

Measurement of dimensions
Length
Thickness
Diameter
Taper
Angle
Flatness
profiles
Measurement Standard
Inch, foot; based on human body
4000 B.C. Egypt; King’s Elbow=0.4633
m, 1.5 ft, 2 handspans, 6 hand-widths,
24 finger-thickness
AD 1101 King Henry I yard (0.9144
m) from his nose to the tip of his thumb
1528 French physician J. Fernel
distance between Paris and Amiens
Measurement Standard

## 1872, Meter (in Greek, metron to

measure)- 1/10 of a millionth of the
distance between the North Pole and
the equator
Platinum (90%)-iridium (10%) X-
shaped bar kept in controlled condition
in Paris39.37 in
In 1960, 1,650,763.73 wave length in
vacuum of the orange light given off by
electrically excited krypton 86.
Dimensions & Units

##  Dimension - abstract quantity (e.g. length)

Dimensions are used to describe physical quantities
Dimensions are independent of units

##  Unit - a specific definition of a dimension based upon a

physical reference (e.g. meter)
What does a “unit” mean?

## How long is the rod?

Rod of unknown length

Reference:
Three rods of 1-m length
The unknown rod is 3 m long.
unit
number

## The number is meaningless without the unit!

How do dimensions behave
in mathematical formulae?

## Rule 1 - All terms that are added or subtracted

must have same dimensions

D  A B C
All have identical dimensions
How do dimensions behave
in mathematical formulae?

## Rule 2 - Dimensions obey rules of

multiplication and division

 [M]  [T 2 ] 
 2  
AB  [T ]  [L] 
D   [L]
C  [M] 
 2 
 [L ] 
How do dimensions behave
in mathematical formulae?

## Rule 3 - In scientific equations, the arguments of

“transcendental functions” must be dimensionless.
A  ln( x) C  sin( x)
x must be dimensionless
B  exp( x) D3 x

## Exception - In engineering correlations, the argument may have

dimensions
Transcendental Function - Cannot be given by algebraic expressions
consisting only of the argument and constants. Requires an infinite
series 2 3
x x
e  1  x   ···
x

2! 3!
Dimensionally
Homogeneous Equations

## An equation is said to be dimensionally

homogeneous if the dimensions on both
sides of the equal sign are the same.
Dimensionally
Homogeneous Equations
Volume of the frustrum of a right pyramid
with a square base
b

B
h 2

V  B  Bb  b2
3

 
3 L 2
       L .
L     L  L2  L2 3

 1
Dimensional Analysis

## Pendulum - What is the period?

L

pk m a
g b
L c
m
b
L p
[T]  [M]a  T 2  [L]c
g
[M] 0  a  0  0  a0
[T] 1  0  2b  0  b  1 / 2
[L] 0  0  b  c  c  1 / 2

1 / 2 1 / 2 L
p  km g 0
L  pk
g
Absolute and Gravitational Unit Systems

Absolute system
Dimensions used are not affected by gravity
Fundamental dimensions L,T,M
Gravitational System
Widely used used in engineering
Fundamental dimensions L,T,F
Absolute and Gravitational Unit Systems

F m a
L
F  M 2
T 
[F] [M] [L] [T]

Absolute — × × ×

Gravitational × — × ×

× = defined unit
— = derived unit
Coherent and Noncoherent Unit Systems

## Coherent Systems - equations can be written without

needing additional conversion factors

F m a
Noncoherent Systems - equations need additional
conversion factors

a
F m
gc Conversion
Factor
Noncoherent Unit Systems

## One pound-force (lbf) is the effort

required to hold a one pound-mass
elevated in a gravitational field where the
local acceleration of gravity is 32.147 ft/s2
Constant of proportionality gc should be
used if slug is not used for mass
gc=32.147 lbm.ft/lbf.s2
Example of Noncoherent Unit Systems

## If a child weighs 50 pounds, we normally

say its weight is 50.0 lbm
32.174 ft
gL s 2
F m  50.0lbm 2
 50.0lbf
gc lbf * s
32.174lbm * ft
Example of Noncoherent Unit Systems

## If a child weighs 50 pounds, on a planet

where the local acceleration of gravity is
8.72 ft/s2
8.72 ft
gL s 2
F m  50.0lbm 2
 13.6lbf
gc lbf * s
32.174lbm * ft
Noncoherent Systems

F m a
L
F  M 2
T 
[F] [M] [L] [T]

Noncoherent × × × ×
× = defined unit
— = derived unit
The noncoherent system results when all four quantities are
defined in a way that is not internally consistent (both mass and
weight are defined historically)
Coherent System

## F=ma/gc; if we use slug for mass

gc= 1.0 slug/lbf*1.0 ft/s2
1 slug=32.147 lbm
1 slug times 1 ft/ s2 gives 1 lbf
1 lbm times 32.147 ft/ s2 gives 1 lbf
1 kg times 1 m/ s2 gives 1 N
gc= 1.0 kg/N*1.0 m/s2
The International System of
Units (SI)

## length [L] meter (m)

mass [M] kilogram (kg)
time [T] second (s)
electric current [A] ampere (A)
absolute temperature [q] kelvin (K)
luminous intensity [l] candela (cd)
amount of substance [n] mole (mol)
The International System of
Units (SI)

## solid angle steradian (sr)

Fundamental Units (SI)
Mass: “a cylinder of platinum-iridium
(kilogram) alloy maintained under vacuum
conditions by the International
Bureau of Weights and
Measures in Paris”
Fundamental Units (SI)
Time: “the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods
(second) of the radiation corresponding to the
transition between the two hyperfine
levels
of the ground state of the cesium-133
atom”
Fundamental Units (SI)
Length or “the length of the path traveled
Distance: by light in vacuum during a time
(meter) interval of 1/299792458 seconds”

photon

Laser
1m
t=0s t = 1/299792458 s
Fundamental Units (SI)
Electric “that constant current which, if
Current: maintained in two straight parallel
(ampere) conductors of infinite length, of
negligible circular cross section, and
placed one meter apart in a vacuum,
would produce between these
conductors a force equal to 2 × 10-7
newtons per meter of length”
Fundamental Units (SI)
Temperature: The kelvin unit is 1/273.16 of the
(kelvin) temperature interval from absolute
zero to the triple point of water.
Water Phase Diagram
Pressure

Temperature
273.16 K
Fundamental Units (SI)
AMOUNT OF “the amount of a substance that
SUBSTANCE: contains as many elementary enti-
(mole) ties as there are atoms in 0.012
kilograms of carbon 12”
Fundamental Units (SI)
LIGHT OR “the candela is the luminous
LUMINOUS intensity of a source that emits
INTENSITY: monochromatic radiation of
(candela) frequency 540 × 1012 Hz and that
has a radiant intensity of 1/683 watt
per steradian.“

## See Figure 13.5 in Foundations of Engineering

Supplementary Units (SI)
PLANE “the plane angle between two radii
ANGLE: of a circle which cut off on the
(radian) circumference an arc equal in
length to the radius:
Supplementary Units (SI)
SOLID “the solid angle which, having its
ANGLE: vertex in the center of a sphere,
(steradian) cuts off an area of the surface of the
sphere equal to that of a
square with sides of length equal
to the radius of the sphere”
The International System of Units (SI)

## Prefix Decimal Multiplier Symbol

Atto 10-18 a
Femto 10-15 f
pico 10-12 p
nano 10-9 n
micro 10-6 m
milli 10-3 m
centi 10-2 c
deci 10-1 d
The International System of Units (SI)

## Prefix Decimal Multiplier Symbol

deka 10+1 da
hecto 10+2 h
kilo 10+3 k
mega 10+6 M
Giga 10+9 G
Tera 10+12 T
Peta 10+15 P
exa 10+18 E
(SI)
Force = (mass) (acceleration)
m
1 N  1 kg· 2
s
U.S. Customary System of
Units (USCS)
Fundamenal Dimension Base Unit
length [L] foot (ft)
force [F] pound (lb)
time [T] second (s)

## mass [FT2/L] slug lb f  s2 /ft

(USCS)
Force = (mass) (acceleration)

1 lb f  1 slug  ft/s 2
American Engineering System
of Units (AES)
Fundamenal Dimension Base Unit

## length [L] foot (ft)

mass [m] pound (lbm)
force [F] pound (lbf)
time [T] second (sec)
electric change [Q] coulomb (C)
absolute temperature [q degree Rankine (oR)
luminous intensity [l] candela (cd)
amount of substance [n] mole (mol)
(AES)
Force = (mass) (acceleration)

1 lb f  1 lbm  ft/s 2

lbm ft/s2

ma
lbf F 
gc
lb m ft
32.174
lb f s2
Rules for Using SI Units

## Periods are never used after symbols

Unless at the end of the sentence
SI symbols are not abbreviations
In lowercase letter unless the symbol
derives from a proper name
m, kg, s, mol, cd (candela)
A, K, Hz, Pa (Pascal), C (Celsius)
Rules for Using SI Units

## Symbols rather than self-styles abbreviations

always should be used
A (not amp), s (not sec)
An s is never added to the symbol to denote
plural
A space is always left between the numerical
value and the unit symbol
43.7 km (not 43.7km)
0.25 Pa (not 0.25Pa)
Exception; 50C, 5’ 6”
Rules for Using SI Units

## There should be no space between the prefix

and the unit symbols
Km (not k m)
mF (not m F)
When writing unit names, lowercase all letters
except at the beginning of a sentence, even if
the unit is derived from a proper name
Farad, hertz, ampere
Rules for Using SI Units

## Plurals are used as required when writing

unit names
Henries (H; henry)
Exceptions; lux, hertz, siemens
No hyphen or space should be left
between a prefix and the unit name
Megapascal (not mega-pascal)
Exceptions; megohm, kilohm, hetare
Rules for Using SI Units

## The symbol should be used in preference

to the unit name because unit symbols
are standardized
Exceptions; ten meters (not ten m)
10 m (not 10 meters)
Rules for Using SI Units

## When writing unit names as a product, always

use a space (preferred) or a hyphen
newton meter or newton-meter
When expressing a quotient using unit names,
always use the word per and not a solidus
(slash mark /), which is reserved for use with
symbols
meter per second (not meter/second)
Rules for Using SI Units

## When writing a unit name that requires a

power, use a modifier, such as squared or
cubed, after the unit name
millimeter squared (not square millimeter)
When expressing products using unit
symbols, the center dot is preferred
N.m for newton meter
Rules for Using SI Units

## When denoting a quotient by unit symbols, any

of the follow methods are accepted form
m/s
m.s-1
m
or
s

## M/s2 is good but m/s/s is not

Kg.m2/(s3.A) or kg.m2.s-3.A-1 is good, not kg.m2/s3/A
Rules for Using SI Units

## To denote a decimal point, use a period

on the line. When expressing numbers
less than 1, a zero should be written
before the decimal
15.6
0.93
Rules for Using SI Units

## Separate the digits into groups of three,

counting from the decimal to the left or
right, and using a small space to separate
the groups
6.513 824
76 851
7 434
0.187 62
Conversions Between Systems
of Units

1 ft  0.3048 m
1 ft
 1  conversion factor  F
0.3048 m
0.3048 m
 1  conversion factor  F
1 ft
0.3048 m
5 ft  F  5 ft   1.524 m
1 ft
2
 0.3048 m 
5 ft  F  5 ft  
2 2 2
  0.4676 m 2

 1 ft 
Temperature Scale vs
Temperature Interval

212oF

32oF

DT = 212oF - 32oF=180 oF

Scale Interval
Temperature Conversion
Temperature Scale
o
 
F  1.8 o C  32 R  1.8K 
o

o
C 
1
1.8
F
o
 32  K 
1
1.8
 R
o

## Temperature Interval Conversion Factors

o o o o
1.8 F 1.8 R 1 F 1 C
F o   o 
C K R K
Team Exercise 1
 The force of wind acting on a body can be computed
by the formula:
F = 0.00256 Cd V2 A
where:
F = wind force (lbf)
Cd= drag coefficient (no units)
V = wind velocity (mi/h)
A = projected area(ft2)

##  To keep the equation dimensionally homogeneous,

what are the units of 0.00256?
Team Exercise 2
Pressure loss due to pipe friction
2 f L r v2
Dp 
Dp = pressure loss (Pa) d
d = pipe diameter (m)
f = friction factor (dimensionless)
r = fluid density (kg/m3)
L = pipe length (m)
v = fluid velocity (m/s)
(1) Show equation is dimensionally homogeneous
Team Exercise 2 (con’t)
(2) Find Dp (Pa) for d = 2 in, f = 0.02, r = 1
g/cm3, L = 20 ft, & v = 200 ft/min

## (3) Using AES units, find Dp (lbf/ft2) for d = 2

in, f = 0.02, r = 1 g/cm3, L = 20 ft, & v = 200
ft/min
Formula Conversions
Some formulas have numeric constants that are not
dimensionless, i.e. units are hidden in the constant.

## As an example, the velocity of sound is expressed by

the relation,

c  49.02 T
where
c = speed of sound (ft/s)
T = temperature (oR)
Formula Conversions
Convert this relationship so that c is in meters per
second and T is in kelvin.

## Step 1 - Solve for the constant

c
49.02 
T
Step 2 - Units on left and right must be the same

ft ft
s c s
49.02 o 1/ 2  o 1/ 2
R T R
Formula Conversions
Step 3 - Convert the units
ft 1/ 2
s ft 0.3048 m  1.8 R 
o
m
49.02 o 1/ 2  49.02 o 1/ 2      20.04 1/2
R s· R ft  K  s·K

So
c  20.05 T
where F
c = speed of sound (m/s)
T = temperature (K)
Team Exercise 3
The flow of water over a weir can be computed
by:
Q = 5.35LH3/2
where: Q = volume of water (ft3/s)
L = length of weir(ft)
H = height of water over weir (ft)
Convert the formula so that Q is in gallons/min
and L and H are measured in inches.