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Significant Figures
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Terms in this set (24)
The Golden Rule
Your answer cannot contain more sig figs than the least accurately measure quantity. DO NOT use conversion factors for determining significant figures.
Rule 1
Any digit that is not zero is significant
EX. of Rule 1 : 123
(How many sig-figs?)
3 SF
Rule 2
Zeros between significant figures (captive zeros? are significant.
EX. of Rule 2 : 80601
10.001
(How many sig-figs?)
5 SF, 5 SF
Rule 3
Zeros to the left of the first nonzero digit (leading zeros) are not significant.
EX. of Rule 3 : 0.002
(How many sig-figs?)
1 SF
Rule 4
If a number is equal to or greater than 1, then all the zeros written to the right of the decimal point (trailing zeros) count as significant figures.
EX. of Rule 4 : 100
(How many sig-figs?)
1 SF (because there is no decimal following last 0)
EX. of Rule 4 : 100.
(How many sig-figs?)
3 SF (because of decimal point)
EX. of Rule 4 : 400.
(How many sig-figs?)
3 SF
Rule 5
For numbers less than 1, only zeros that are at the end of number and the zeros between non zeros are significant.
EX. of Rule 5 : 0.070
(How many sig-figs?)
2 SF
Rule 6 (addition/subtraction)
For addition or subtraction, the limiting term is the one with the smallest number of decimal places. So count decimal places.
EX. of Rule 6 : 11.01 +6.2+8.995 = 26.205
(How many sig-figs?)
26.2 (because 6.2 has xx._)
Rule 6 (multiplication/division)
The limiting term is the number that has the least number of sig figs. So count sig figs.
EX. of Rule 6 : 32.010 x 501
(How many sig-figs?)
1.60 x 10 ^(-4)
SF? 100
1 SF
100.01
5 SF
0.010
2 SF
1234.100
7 SF
Round: 100.075 to 3 SF
100
Round: 140 to 2 SF
1.4 x 10^2
Round: 0.000787 to 2 SF
7.9 x 10^(-4)
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