Questions tagged [dimensional-analysis]

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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
14
votes
5answers
2k views

units and nature

I am wondering whether the five$^1$ units of the natural unit system really is dictated by nature, or invented to satisfy the limited mind of man? Is the number of linearly independent units a ...
1
vote
1answer
368 views

Why *should* the mass of elementary particles theoretically be of the magnitude of the Planck mass?

Why should the mass of elementary particles be theoretically of the magnitude of the Planck mass? I've read that already a few times but I don't understand why it should be that way. For example: ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Question Concerning Dimensional Analysis

In the first lecture of MIT's Classical Mechanics Professor Lewin talks about Dimensional Analysis.He talks about an apple being dropped from a certain height can be quantitatively expressed as the ...
10
votes
2answers
11k views

How does the Fourier Transform invert units?

I don't really understand how units work under operations like derivation and integration. In particular, I am interested in understanding how the Fourier transform gives inverse units (i.e. time ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Meaning of dimension in dimensional analysis

I was wondering what dimension can mean in physics? I know it can mean the dimension of the space and time. But there is dimensional analysis. How is this dimension related to and different from the ...
4
votes
4answers
767 views

$P=ρgh$ - intuitive understanding of the equation?

I've come across this equation recently which relates pressure with the product of density, gravitational acceleration and height difference in a medium. I understand that $P = ρgh$ expands to $\...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Why can you remove the gravitational constant from a computer game simulation?

I've seen in a few gravity simulation games (ie. bouncing balls) the equation: force = G * m1 * m2 / distance^2 shortened to this by removing the gravitational ...
18
votes
9answers
3k views

In dimensional analysis, why the dimensionless constant is usually of order 1?

Usually in all discussions and arguments of scaling or solving problems using dimensional analysis, the dimensionless constant is indeterminate but it is usually assumed that it is of order 1. What ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

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 ...
48
votes
11answers
31k 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 $L = 1 \:\mathrm{km}$. $\log L = \...
9
votes
7answers
6k views

Simple Harmonic Motion - What are the units for $\omega_0$?

I'm trying to understand the units in: $$mx''+kx=0$$ And the general solution is $$x(t)=A \cos(\omega_0 t)+B \sin(\omega_0 t).$$ Let $\omega_0 =\sqrt{\frac{k}{m}}$ - the unit for the spring ...
11
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
771 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? ...
2
votes
2answers
41k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I understand counterintuitive units like $\text{s}^2$?

One of the things I never understood, but was too afraid to ask is this: how should I think of things like $\frac{\text{kg}}{\text{s}^2}$. What exactly is a square second? Square foot makes sense to ...
9
votes
2answers
3k 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\ ...
58
votes
5answers
11k views

Dimensionless Constants in Physics

Forgive me if this topic is too much in the realm of philosophy. John Baez has an interesting perspective on the relative importance of dimensionless constants, which he calls fundamental like alpha, ...
50
votes
5answers
6k views

Fundamental question about dimensional analysis

In dimensional analysis, it does not make sense to, for instance, add together two numbers with different units together. Nor does it make sense to exponentiate two numbers with different units (or ...