551 words - 3 pages

What is dimensional analysis, and why is this technique useful?

Dimensional analysis is a method of converting any unit of measurement to another unit of the same dimension and sometimes of a different dimension as well. This method is very useful in deriving a relation between varying physical quantities and allows for problem solving. Scientific equations and problems that use varying units of measurement require dimensional analysis in order to connect/convert the units within the context of the problem. Overall, by using this technique, problems can be solved more efficiently, and the correlation/relationship between different types of measurements can be understood.

In order to convert between units we must know how these units are related. Conversion factors, which are basically ratios, allow for us to represent the relationship between units. Such as one kilogram of water is equal to one liter of water and one minute is equal to sixty seconds. A rule supporting this method is that any number or expression multiplied by one, still keeps its value. So we can convert units in our day to day lives by starting with a certain unit and multiplying by a conversion factor that will cancel the original unit.

Many major professions require some knowledge of being able to use dimensional analysis. In the medical profession nurses must use dimensional analysis in order to calculate accurate and safe drug dosage measurements and figure out drip rates when IV pumps are not used. Using this technique allows healthcare professionals, such as nurses to ensure the safety of their patients. Engineers often use dimensional analysis to reduce physical properties, like acceleration, energy, ...

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