StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.

4.8 • +11k Ratings

More than 3 Million Downloads

Free

Suggested languages for you:

Americas

Europe

Making Measurements

Has this ever happened to you? You are baking cookies, and you mistake 1 teaspoon of vanilla for 1 tablespoon. Instead of having some nice cookies with a nice vanilla flavor, they are way too overpowered and not that great tasting. Making measurements is not only an important part of baking, but also of chemistry (and of all sciences). In this article,…

Content verified by subject matter experts

Free StudySmarter App with over 20 million students

Explore our app and discover over 50 million learning materials for free.

- Flashcards
- Notes
- Explanations
- Study Planner
- Textbook solutions

Making Measurements

- Chemical Analysis
- Formulations
- Instrumental Analysis
- Pure Substances
- Sodium Hydroxide Test
- Test for Anions
- Test for Metal Ions
- Testing for Gases
- Testing for Ions
- Chemical Reactions
- Acid-Base Reactions
- Acid-Base Titration
- Bond Energy Calculations
- Decomposition Reaction
- Displacement Reactions
- Electrolysis of Aqueous Solutions
- Electrolysis of Ionic Compounds
- Energy Changes
- Extracting Metals
- Extraction of Aluminium
- Fuel Cells
- Hydrates
- Making Salts
- Net Ionic Equations
- Percent Composition
- Physical and Chemical Changes
- Precipitation Reaction
- Reactions of Acids
- Reactivity Series
- Redox Reactions
- Redox Titration
- Representing Chemical Reactions
- Single and Double Replacement Reactions
- Skeleton Equation
- Stoichiometric Calculations
- Stoichiometry
- Synthesis Reaction
- Types of Chemical Reactions
- Chemistry Branches
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Catalysts
- Chlorine Reactions
- Group 1
- Group 2
- Group 2 Compounds
- Group 2 Reactivity
- Halogens
- Ion Colours
- Nitrogen
- Nitrous Oxide
- Period 3 Elements
- Period 3 Oxides
- Periodic Table
- Periodic Trends
- Properties of Halogens
- Properties of Transition Metals
- Reactions of Halides
- Reactions of Halogens
- Redox Potential Of Transition Metals
- Shapes of Complex Ions
- Stability Constant
- Test Tube Reactions
- Titrations
- Transition Metal Ions in Aqueous Solution
- Transition Metals
- Variable Oxidation State of Transition Elements
- Ionic and Molecular Compounds
- Bond Hybridization
- Bond Length
- Bonding and Elemental Properties
- Coulomb Force
- Formal Charge
- Interstitial and Substitutional Alloys
- Intramolecular Force and Potential Energy
- Lattice Energy
- Lewis Dot Diagrams
- Limitations of Lewis Dot Structure
- Naming Ionic Compounds
- Polar and Non-Polar Covalent Bonds
- Potential Energy Diagram
- Properties of Covalent Compounds
- Resonance Chemistry
- Saturated Bond
- Sigma and Pi Bonds
- Structure of Ionic Solids
- Structure, Composition & Properties of Metals and Alloys
- The Octet Rule
- Types of Chemical Bonds
- VSEPR
- Kinetics
- Activation Energy
- Catalysis
- Concentration
- Energy Profile
- First Order Reaction
- Multistep Reaction
- Pre-equilibrium Approximation
- Rate Constant
- Rate Law
- Reaction Rates
- Second Order Reactions
- Steady State Approximation
- Steady State Approximation Example
- The Change of Concentration with Time
- Zero Order Reaction
- Making Measurements
- Accuracy and Precision
- Analytical Chemistry
- Chemistry Lab Equipment
- Lab Safety
- Lab Temperature Monitoring
- Nuclear Chemistry
- Balancing Nuclear Equations
- Carbon Dating
- Mass Energy Conversion
- Radioactive Dating
- Radioactive Isotopes
- Spontaneous Decay
- Transmutation
- Organic Chemistry
- Acylation
- Alcohol Elimination Reaction
- Alcohols
- Aldehydes and Ketones
- Alkanes
- Alkenes
- Amide
- Amines
- Amines Basicity
- Amino Acids
- Anti-Cancer Drugs
- Aromatic Chemistry
- Aryl Halide
- Benzene Structure
- Biodegradability
- Carbon
- Carbon -13 NMR
- Carbonyl Group
- Carboxylic Acid Derivatives
- Carboxylic Acids
- Chlorination
- Chromatography
- Column Chromatography
- Combustion
- Condensation Polymers
- Cracking (Chemistry)
- Drawing Reaction Mechanisms
- Electrophilic Addition
- Electrophilic Substitution of Benzene
- Elimination Reactions
- Esterification
- Esters
- Fractional Distillation
- Functional Groups
- Gas Chromatography
- Halogenation of Alcohols
- Halogenoalkanes
- Hydrogen -1 NMR
- Hydrolysis of Halogenoalkanes
- IUPAC Nomenclature
- Infrared Spectroscopy
- Isomerism
- NMR Spectroscopy
- Natural Polymers
- Nitriles
- Nucleophiles and Electrophiles
- Nucleophilic Substitution Reactions
- Optical Isomerism
- Organic Analysis
- Organic Chemistry Reactions
- Organic Compounds
- Organic Synthesis
- Oxidation of Alcohols
- Ozone Depletion
- Paper Chromatography
- Phenol
- Polymerisation Reactions
- Preparation of Amines
- Production of Ethanol
- Properties of Polymers
- Purification
- R-Groups
- Reaction Mechanism
- Reactions of Aldehydes and Ketones
- Reactions of Alkenes
- Reactions of Benzene
- Reactions of Carboxylic Acids
- Reactions of Esters
- Structure of Organic Molecules
- Thin Layer Chromatography Practical
- Thin-Layer Chromatography
- Understanding NMR
- Uses of Amines
- Physical Chemistry
- Absolute Entropy and Entropy Change
- Acid Dissociation Constant
- Acid-Base Indicators
- Acid-Base Reactions and Buffers
- Acids and Bases
- Alkali Metals
- Allotropes of Carbon
- Amorphous Polymer
- Amount of Substance
- Application of Le Chatelier's Principle
- Arrhenius Equation
- Arrhenius Theory
- Atom Economy
- Atomic Structure
- Autoionization of Water
- Avogadro Constant
- Avogadro's Number and the Mole
- Beer-Lambert Law
- Bond Enthalpy
- Bonding
- Born Haber Cycles
- Born-Haber Cycles Calculations
- Boyle's Law
- Brønsted-Lowry Acids and Bases
- Buffer Capacity
- Buffer Solutions
- Buffers
- Buffers Preparation
- Calculating Enthalpy Change
- Calculating Equilibrium Constant
- Calorimetry
- Carbon Structures
- Cell Potential
- Cell Potential and Free Energy
- Chalcogens
- Chemical Calculations
- Chemical Equations
- Chemical Equilibrium
- Chemical Thermodynamics
- Closed Systems
- Colligative Properties
- Collision Theory
- Common-Ion Effect
- Composite Materials
- Composition of Mixture
- Constant Pressure Calorimetry
- Constant-Volume Calorimetry
- Coordination Compounds
- Coupling Reactions
- Covalent Bond
- Covalent Network Solid
- Crystalline Polymer
- De Broglie Wavelength
- Determining Rate Constant
- Deviation From Ideal Gas Law
- Diagonal Relationship
- Diamond
- Dilution
- Dipole Chemistry
- Dipole Moment
- Dissociation Constant
- Distillation
- Dynamic Equilibrium
- Electric Fields Chemistry
- Electrochemical Cell
- Electrochemical Series
- Electrochemistry
- Electrode Potential
- Electrolysis
- Electrolytes
- Electromagnetic Spectrum
- Electron Affinity
- Electron Configuration
- Electron Shells
- Electronegativity
- Electronic Transitions
- Elemental Analysis
- Elemental Composition of Pure Substances
- Empirical and Molecular Formula
- Endothermic and Exothermic Processes
- Energetics
- Energy Diagrams
- Enthalpy Changes
- Enthalpy for Phase Changes
- Enthalpy of Formation
- Enthalpy of Reaction
- Enthalpy of Solution and Hydration
- Entropy
- Entropy Change
- Equilibrium Concentrations
- Equilibrium Constant Kp
- Equilibrium Constants
- Examples of Covalent Bonding
- Factors Affecting Reaction Rates
- Finding Ka
- Free Energy
- Free Energy and Equilibrium
- Free Energy of Dissolution
- Free Energy of Formation
- Fullerenes
- Fundamental Particles
- Galvanic and Electrolytic Cells
- Gas Constant
- Gas Solubility
- Gay-Lussac's Law
- Giant Covalent Structures
- Graham's Law
- Graphite
- Ground State
- Group 3A
- Group 4A
- Group 5A
- Half Equations
- Heating Curve for Water
- Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
- Henderson-Hasselbalch Equation
- Hess' Law
- Hybrid Orbitals
- Hydrogen Bonds
- Ideal Gas Law
- Ideal and Real Gases
- Intermolecular Forces
- Introduction to Acids and Bases
- Ion and Atom Photoelectron Spectroscopy
- Ion dipole Forces
- Ionic Bonding
- Ionic Product of Water
- Ionic Solids
- Ionisation Energy
- Ions: Anions and Cations
- Isotopes
- Kinetic Molecular Theory
- Lattice Structures
- Law of Definite Proportions
- Le Chatelier's Principle
- Lewis Acid and Bases
- London Dispersion Forces
- Magnitude of Equilibrium Constant
- Mass Spectrometry
- Mass Spectrometry of Elements
- Maxwell-Boltzmann Distribution
- Measuring EMF
- Mechanisms of Chemical Bonding
- Melting and Boiling Point
- Metallic Bonding
- Metallic Solids
- Metals Non-Metals and Metalloids
- Mixtures and Solutions
- Molar Mass Calculations
- Molarity
- Molecular Orbital Theory
- Molecular Solid
- Molecular Structures of Acids and Bases
- Moles and Molar Mass
- Nanoparticles
- Neutralisation Reaction
- Oxidation Number
- Partial Pressure
- Particulate Model
- Partition Coefficient
- Percentage Yield
- Periodic Table Organization
- Phase Changes
- Phase Diagram of Water
- Photoelectric Effect
- Photoelectron Spectroscopy
- Physical Properties
- Polarity
- Polyatomic Ions
- Polyprotic Acid Titration
- Prediction of Element Properties Based on Periodic Trends
- Pressure and Density
- Properties of Buffers
- Properties of Equilibrium Constant
- Properties of Solids
- Properties of Water
- Quantitative Electrolysis
- Quantum Energy
- Quantum Numbers
- RICE Tables
- Rate Equations
- Rate of Reaction and Temperature
- Reacting Masses
- Reaction Quotient
- Reaction Quotient and Le Chatelier's Principle
- Real Gas
- Redox
- Relative Atomic Mass
- Representations of Equilibrium
- Reversible Reaction
- SI units chemistry
- Saturated Unsaturated and Supersaturated
- Shapes of Molecules
- Shielding Effect
- Simple Molecules
- Solids Liquids and Gases
- Solubility
- Solubility Curve
- Solubility Equilibria
- Solubility Product
- Solubility Product Calculations
- Solutes Solvents and Solutions
- Solution Representations
- Solutions and Mixtures
- Specific Heat
- Spectroscopy
- Standard Potential
- States of Matter
- Stoichiometry in Reactions
- Strength of Intermolecular Forces
- The Laws of Thermodynamics
- The Molar Volume of a Gas
- Thermodynamically Favored
- Trends in Ionic Charge
- Trends in Ionisation Energy
- Types of Mixtures
- VSEPR Theory
- Valence Electrons
- Van der Waals Forces
- Vapor Pressure
- Water in Chemical Reactions
- Wave Mechanical Model
- Weak Acid and Base Equilibria
- Weak Acids and Bases
- Writing Chemical Formulae
- pH
- pH Change
- pH Curves and Titrations
- pH Scale
- pH and Solubility
- pH and pKa
- pH and pOH
- The Earths Atmosphere

Save the explanation now and read when you’ve got time to spare.

SaveLerne mit deinen Freunden und bleibe auf dem richtigen Kurs mit deinen persönlichen Lernstatistiken

Jetzt kostenlos anmeldenNie wieder prokastinieren mit unseren Lernerinnerungen.

Jetzt kostenlos anmeldenHas this ever happened to you? You are baking cookies, and you mistake 1 *tea*spoon of vanilla for 1 *table*spoon. Instead of having some nice cookies with a nice vanilla flavor, they are *way *too overpowered and not that great tasting.

**Making measurements** is not only an important part of baking, but also of chemistry (and of all sciences). In this article, you will learn how to make good measurements, so you can be on your way to being an awesome chemist! (and baker too!)

- This article covers
**making measurements.** - First, we will get a brief into making measurements, then learn about the
**metric**system of measurements. - Next, we will learn some conversions from the US standard to the metric system.
- Then, we will learn the basic rules of making quality measurements.
- Thereafter, we will work on some examples to apply these rules.
- Lastly, we will summarize why making good measurements is so important.

When performing any kind of science, you will be making measurements. In chemistry, we often measure things like mass, amount, time, and so on. In this article, we will learn all about how to make good, scientific measurements and why these measurements are so important.

Science is a global phenomenon. All over the world, people are sharing and learning. Because of this, scientists use the **International System of Units (SI) **(commonly known as the **metric system**) as a standard, so that measurements are easily identifiable and don't need to be converted to be understood.

There are 7 basic measurements/units under this system, shown in the table below:

Figure 1-Base units of the SI (metric) system | ||
---|---|---|

Measurement | Unit | Symbol |

Length | Meter | m |

Time | Second | s |

Temperature | Kelvin | K |

Mass | Kilogram | kg |

Amount of substance | Mole | mol |

Electric current | Ampere | A |

Light (luminous) intensity | Candela | cd |

There are some other common measurements that you will come across, such as energy (in Joules; J), volume (in Liters; L), and pressure (in atmospheres; atm), but these are considered the main standard units.

One handy thing about the metric system is that it is in base 10. This makes it easier to do calculations with, but also easier to convert between numbered units.

The metric system has a set of prefixes that denote magnitude/scale. Since it is a base 10 system, each prefix/unit is 10x greater or less than its neighbor. These prefixes are often used to "simplify" numbers. For example, 1 kilometers (km) is much easier/nicer than 1000 meters.

Below are the prefixes for units *larger *than the base unit (10^{0 }= 1)

Fig.2-Prefixes larger than base 10 | |||
---|---|---|---|

Name of unit | Symbol | Scientific notation/power of 10 | Numerical form |

deka | da | 10^{1} | 10 |

hecto | h | 10^{2} | 100 |

kilo | k | 10^{3} | 1,000 |

mega | M | 10^{4} | 10,000 |

giga | G | 10^{5} | 100,000 |

tera | T | 10^{6} | 1,000,000 |

Let's test this out using an example:

**Convert 10,000 meters to:**

** a) dekameters **

**b) kilometers **

**c) megameters**

a) Using our chart, we see that 1 dekameter=10 meters, so:

$$10,000\,m*\frac{1\,dam}{10\,m}=1,000\,dam$$

b) 1 kilometer=1,000 meters

$$10,000\,m*\frac{1\,km}{1,000\,m}=10\,km$$

c) 1 megameter=10,000 meters

$$10,000\,m*\frac{1\,Mm}{10,000\,m}=1\,Mm$$

Now let's look at the units *below *the base unit:

Fig.3-Prefixes smaller than base unit | |||
---|---|---|---|

Name of unit | Symbol | Scientific notation/Power of ten | Numerical form |

deci | d | 10^{-1} | 0.1 |

centi | c | 10^{-2} | 0.01 |

milli | m | 10^{-3} | 0.001 |

micro | μ | 10^{-6} | 0.000001 |

nano | n | 10^{-9} | 0.000000001 |

pico | p | 10^{-12} | 0.000000000001 |

Like before, let's use this as an example to test your understanding:

**Convert 0.00001 seconds to**

a) deciseconds b) milliseconds c) nanoseconds

a) Since "deci" is 10^{-1}, that means that it is worth \(\frac{1}{10^1}\) seconds, or to put it another way, every 10 deciseconds is 1 second, so:

$$0.00001\,s*\frac{10\,ds}{1\,s}=0.0001\,ds$$

b) 1000 miliseconds=1 seconds

$$0.00001\,s*\frac{1,000\,ms}{1\,s}=0.01\,ms$$

c) 1,000,000,000 nanoseconds=1 seconds

$$0.00001\,s*\frac{1,000,000,000\,ns}{1\,s}=10,000\,ns$$

While scientists (and most of the world) use the metric system, here in the U.S., we use the **Imperial system**. Because of this, we might not always be able to make our measurements in the metric system.

For example, when you want to measure the length of something, you might pull out a ruler. Rulers measure in inches (though sometimes they may have a side for centimeters), so it's important to know how to convert between units

Here are some common conversion factors you may need to know:

**Length:**Inches to centimeters: 1 inch=2.54 centimeters.

Miles to meters: 1 mile=1,609.34 meters.

Yards to meters: 1 yard=0.9144 meters.

**Temperature:**Fahrenheit to Celsius: \((32^\circ F-32)*\frac{5}{9}=^\circ C\).

Celsius to Kelvin \(32^\circ C + 273.15=K\) (Celsius and Kelvin are both used in science, though Kelvin is considered standard).

**Mass:**Pounds to kilograms: 1 pound=0.454 kilograms.

When making measurements, there are a few rules we need to follow. The first rule is based on **significant figures**.

S**ignificant figures **(called "sig figs" for short) are the digits in a number that are considered "important" and reliable for indicating the quantity of something.

To put it in simpler terms, significant figures tell us how "sure" we are of a measurement. The more significant figures, the more precise the measurement.

So, what does this have to do with making measurements? Well, let's take a look at a common ruler:

The numbers right above the logo are measurements in centimeters. The "notches" in between these numbers each represent 0.1 centimeters.

So let's say I was measuring a piece of metal, it lined up exactly in between the 2 and 3 marks. So, what number should I write down?

a) 2.5 b) 2.50 c) 2.5000

The answer here is b. When making measurements, the last digit is our "estimation digit". Basically, we write down our number based on the number of markings +1. The ruler has markings for centimeters (our first digit) and 0.1 centimeters (our second digit), so we are going to estimate our last digit.

When using electronic devices like a thermometer or mass balance, we use the number given. This estimation is for manual measurements

Another "rule" is for reading the volume of a liquid. When we read the volume of a liquid, we have to measure from the bottom of the **meniscus**.

The **meniscus **is the curve near the surface of a liquid caused by surface tension

When measuring volume, you always want to be at eye-level with the meniscus. Looking at a different angle may make the meniscus either harder to see or appear in a slightly different position, which could mess with your measurements.

**What is the volume of this liquid?**

Looking at the meniscus, we see the bottom of the curve is slightly between the 21 mL mark and the 21.1 mL mark. Because of this, we can estimate that the volume is 21.05 mL.

Our last "rule" is more of a rule of thumb than a set rule. We always want our measurements to be as close to the truth as possible. Because of this, it is common to make multiple measurements and then take the average.

In an experiment, there will always be "random error", which are errors that are hard to account for, such as the humidity of a room causing a sample to weigh more since it absorbed some of the moisture. Other random errors are simple human errors like marking down a number wrong.

Because of this, taking multiple measurements helps account for some errors that may occur.

Now that we've covered the basics of measurement making, let's work on some more examples!

**What is the length of the sample?**

a) In centimeters b) In millimeters

a) Looking at the tip of our sample, we see that it almost, but not quite, reaches the 4.5 cm mark. Because of this, we can estimate that our sample is 4.49 centimeters in length.

b) Since millimeters is the unit below centimeters, 10 millimeters=1 centimeter, so we just need to multiply our answer by 10, so the sample is 44.9 millimeters.

Now for an example using volume:

**What is the volume of this sample?**

**a) 19.80 mL**

**b) 19.8 mL **

**c) 20.0 mL **

**d) 20.00 mL**

Since this is a liquid, we need to focus on the bottom of the meniscus (the dip). The end of the meniscus is right on the 20 mL mark. Since the smallest markings are 0.1 mL marks, then we estimate the next digit. Therefore, our answer is **d** (20.00 mL).

So, why is taking measurements so important? Well, there are two main reasons: **precision **and **accuracy**.

**Precision **is a measure of how close a set of data points are to each other.

**Accuracy **is a measure of how close a set of data points are to the true value

Making sure our measurements are precise and accurate is of utmost importance. For example, imagine you worked in a lab synthesizing the key ingredient for a prescription drug. If your mass measurements were off, even by a milligram, it could have disastrous consequences for the people who rely on that drug.

Even when you are doing simple lab experiments, such as determining density, it is good practice to take the best measurements possible, so that when the stakes are raised, your work will be as accurate as possible.

- Scientists use the
**International System of Units (SI)**(commonly known as the**metric system**) for all their measurements - The basic measurement rules are:
- When writing measurements, the number of digits is equal to the number of digits marked +1
- Ex: If a ruler goes to the 0.01 place, we would write to the 0.001 place

- When taking the volume of the liquid, measure from the bottom of the
**meniscus**(curve near the top of the liquid) - It is good practice to take several measurements, then average them to account for possible random error

- When writing measurements, the number of digits is equal to the number of digits marked +1
**Precision**is a measure of how close a set of data points are to each other.**Accuracy**is a measure of how close a set of data points are to the true value

- Fig.2-An example of a meniscus (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7e/Meniscus_of_water_in_burette.JPG/640px-Meniscus_of_water_in_burette.JPG) by Akaniji (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Akaniji) licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
- Fig.4-Volume measurement (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4e/Meniscus.jpg/640px-Meniscus.jpg) by PRHaney licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

An example of making a measurement is using a ruler to measure the length of something

More about Making Measurements

How would you like to learn this content?

Creating flashcards

Studying with content from your peer

Taking a short quiz

How would you like to learn this content?

Creating flashcards

Studying with content from your peer

Taking a short quiz

Free chemistry cheat sheet!

Everything you need to know on . A perfect summary so you can easily remember everything.

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Have all your study materials in one place.

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

Save explanations to your personalised space and access them anytime, anywhere!

Sign up with Email Sign up with AppleBy signing up, you agree to the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy of StudySmarter.

Already have an account? Log in