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Conceptual Q/A

What Is Magnitude In Physics?


We often come across with the word magnitude in physics and often the students get confused about it that what does it mean? For example when we go through Newton’s 3rd law of motion, which states that action and reaction are equal in magnitude but opposite in direction. However, after reading this article you will be no more worried about the magnitude.

Also read: Why Voltages Are Measured Between Two Points?

For example when your friend says 5 or 9 then for you these will be just numerals or numbers we cannot understand the complete meaning or sense of it. In mathematics, we say that 5 and 9 are constants because we cannot assign any other value to 5 or 9. But if instead of 5 or 9 we write 5m (meter) or 9m (meter) we say that 5 is the magnitude whereas m (meter) is the measuring unit.

For measuring various physical quantities in physics whenever we use numbers or numerals these are called the magnitude, which shows the strength, size or quantity of that measurement. In 10kg, 7Litres, 6mole, 13joules all these numerals 10, 7,6,13 are known as magnitude in physics.

But the same numbers when used in any equation like 5x+y =50  now in this equation we can assign different values to x & y therefore such that it becomes equal to 50.

5(1)   +   45 =  50

5(2)   +   40  =  50

5(-3)  +   65  =  50

5(3)   +     35   =50

 This x and y are called variables and now this 5 is called constant or coefficient. so, to summarize it we may say that magnitude in physics means strengths, size or quantity of the measurement.

Also read: Why Rise In Temperature Of A Conductor Is Accompanied By Rise In Resistance?

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