Category

# Entities in physical quantities

Summary
A physical quantity (or simply quantity) is a property of a material or system that can be quantified by measurement. A physical quantity can be expressed as a value, which is the algebraic multiplication of a numerical value and a unit of measurement. For example, the physical quantity mass, symbol m, can be quantified as m=n kg, where n is the numerical value and kg is the unit symbol (for kilogram). Following ISO 80000-1, any value or magnitude of a physical quantity is expressed as a comparison to a unit of that quantity. The value of a physical quantity Z is expressed as the product of a numerical value {Z} and a unit [Z]: For example, let be "2 metres"; then, is the numerical value and is the unit. Conversely, the numerical value expressed in an arbitrary unit can be obtained as: The multiplication sign is usually left out, just as it is left out between variables in the scientific notation of formulas. The convention used to express quantities is referred to as quantity calculus. In formulas the unit [Z] can be treated as if it were a specific magnitude of a kind of physical dimension: see Dimensional analysis for more on this treatment. International recommendations for the use of symbols for quantities are set out in ISO/IEC 80000, the IUPAP red book and the IUPAC green book. For example, the recommended symbol for the physical quantity "mass" is m, and the recommended symbol for the quantity "electric charge" is Q. Physical quantities are normally typeset in italics. Purely numerical quantities, even those denoted by letters, are usually printed in roman (upright) type, though sometimes in italics. Symbols for elementary functions (circular trigonometric, hyperbolic, logarithmic etc.), changes in a quantity like Δ in Δy or operators like d in dx, are also recommended to be printed in roman type. Examples: Real numbers, such as 1 or , e, the base of natural logarithms, i, the imaginary unit, π for the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, 3.14159265...