Dimensional analysis means to obtain results by analyzing the units in question, etc. DO NOT USE THIS TAG if your question is about degrees of freedom or spatial dimensions.

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5answers
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Dimensional analysis restricted to rational exponents?

After some reading on dimensional analysis, it seems to me that only rational exponents are considered. To be more precise, it seems that dimensional values form a vector space over the rationals. My ...
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11answers
5k views

What is the logarithm of a kilometer? Is it a dimensionless number?

In log-plots a quantity is plotted on a logarithmic scale. This got me thinking about what the logarithm of a unit actually is. Suppose I have something with length $L = 1 km$. $\lg L = \lg km$ It ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are smaller animals stronger than larger ones, when considered relative to their body weight?

I am interested in why many small animals such as ants can lift many times their own weight, yet we don't see any large animals capable of such a feat. It has been suggested to me that this is due to ...
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1answer
290 views

Deriving or justifying fundamental constants

Is there a fundamental way to look at the universal constants ? can their orders of magnitude be explained from a general points of view like stability, causality, information theory, uncertainty? ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Dimensonal analysis of damping constant?

What are the units of the damping constant from the following equation by dimensional analysis? $$\zeta = \frac{c}{2\sqrt{mk}}$$ I'm assuming the units have to be s^-1, as the damping constant is ...
8
votes
3answers
615 views

Understanding counterintuitive units like s^2

One of the things I never understood but was too afraid to ask is this: how should I think of things like kg/s^2. What exactly is a square second? Square foot makes sense to me because I can see it, ...
8
votes
2answers
799 views

How does the period of an hourglass depend on the grain size?

Suppose I have an hourglass that takes 1 full hour on average to drain. The grains of sand are, say, $1 \pm 0.1\ {\rm mm}$ in diameter. If I replace this with very finely-grained sand $0.1 \pm 0.01\ ...