General method for transforming coordinate of a magnitude

Coordinate of a point

Coordinate of the magnitude
The coordinate of an arbitrary is defined as
The number that specifies the distance from an origin on an axis to the point P.

Extending the notion of coordinates beyond distance

The above definition designates distance to the number, i.e. coordinate of the point on distance. However, if the dimension of the axis is time, the number for the point P will mean coordinate of the point on time. Similarly, for temperature axis it will mean coordinate of the point on temperature. And so on ...

Therefore, the magnitude of any scalar quantity in terms of coordinate can be generalized as

coordinate of the magnitude

Magnitude (i.e coordinate of magnitude) change when dimensional unit changes.

Coordinate of the magnitude
When the unit of a dimension is changed, the magnitude (coordinate of magnitude) will change accordingly. For example, change of units for length dimension from meter to centimeter results in appropriate change in the coordinate of magnitude of the same point P. Here, a general method for transforming the coordinate of a magnitude will be given.

Problem setup and statement

For simplicity consider the three fundamental dimensions [M], [L], and [T] such that,

Coordinate of the magnitude for M, L and T

Imagine introducting new units such that,

The question then is

What is the relationship between x and ?

Solution: Algebraic formula for transformation

Let us use the notation

Then and
x[(OM)a ⋅ (OL)b ⋅ (OT)c] = x[Aa(NM)aBb(NL)bCc(NT)c]

Multiplying both sides by [(NM)a ⋅ (NL)b ⋅ (NT)c]−1 we get,

x[(OM)a ⋅ (OL)b ⋅ (OT)c] ⋅ [(NM)a ⋅ (NL)b ⋅ (NT)c]−1 = x[AaBbCc].

x[(OM)a ⋅ (OL)b ⋅ (OT)c] ⋅ [(NM)a ⋅ (NL)b ⋅ (NT)c]−1
and substituting Aa = (OM/NM)a, Bb = (OL/NL)b and Bc= (OT/NT)c, we get
= xAaBbCc
is the algebraic formula for transformation.

Generalizing this for the seven fundamental dimensions [M], [L], [T], [A], [K], [cd], and [mol] we have

= xAaBbCcDdEeFfGg

Eg.1: Given, 900 ft/min2 what is the coordinate of magnitude for the changed units meter/sec2?

Since, the original unit is ft/min2

(OM)a ⋅ (OL)b ⋅ (OT)c → (OM)0ft1min−2
Hence, a = 0, b = 1, c = −2, and the coordinate of magnitude for the original unit, x = 900.

For the new unit meter/sec2 we know that

Hence, B = 0.3048 and C = 60.

To find the coordinate of magnitude for the changed unit

= xAaBbCc = 900 ⋅ A0 ⋅ 0.30481 ⋅ 60−2 = 0.0762
Therefore, the coordinate of magnitude with the changed unit is 0.0762 meter/sec2.


Dimensional Homogeneity (p:2) ➽