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November 22, 2014

Homework Help: Science (Chemistry!)

Posted by Hayley on Thursday, August 31, 2006 at 3:41pm.

I just do not understand ANYTHING about multiplying/dividing/adding/subtracting significant figures!
For example, the problem is: Solve the following to the correct number of significant figures: (5.039)(0.0074)
What am I supposed to do? Just multiply the numbers? What does that have to do with significant figures? I'm soo confused. Help please?


You need to know the rules for significant figures when multiplying/dividiing (one set of rules) and adding/subtracting (another set of rules).
When multiplying/dividing, the "answer" may have no more significant figures than the least number in the figures used; for example, 5.039 x 0.0074 = 0.0372886 on my calculator. Now look at the numbers used to obtain that value. There are four significant figures in 5.039 and two s.f. in 0.0074. Therefore, the answer may have no more than two s.f. and the value should be rounded to 0.037.

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