Significant Figures Rules:
The number of significant figures can be determined by adding up each significant
digit within the value using the following rules:
1. All non-zero numbers are significant.
a. 531 = 3 sig figs
2. Zeros between non-zero numbers are significant.
a. Ex: 105 = 3 sig figs
3. Zeros as placeholders, WITHOUT a decimal, are NOT significant.
a. Ex. 100 = 1 sig fig
b. Ex. 0.005 = 1 sig fig
c. Ex. 0.00503 = 3 sig figs (see rule 2)
4. Zeros as place holders, WITH a decimal, ARE significant.
a. Ex. 100. = 3 sig figs
5. A zero after the decimal point as the last value IS considered significant.
a. Ex. 0.050 = 2 sig figs (the last two digits of the number are significant)
6. All numbers (including zeros) within the base number for scientific notation
are significant.
a. Ex. 5.0 * 105 = 2 sig figs
7. When converting numbers into scientific notation, the base should represent
the number of significant figures in that number.
a. Ex. 1040 = 3 significant figures = 1.04*103
8. Multiplication / Division: The final result should only have as many
significant figures as the original value with the least number of significant
figures in the calculation.
a. Ex. 25 * 355 = 8875 = 8900  The least number of sig figs is 2.
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Significant Figures Rules