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Physical Quantity - Basics of measurement - Measurement [Physics]
9531    Arnab De    31/12/2017

Physical Quantity

In daily life, measurement play very important role. We can use it to find out the distance from our home to our school or how much water is required to make a cup of tea. We are measured different real entity of the world in different way.  The procedure of the measurement of different entity may differ. These real entities are known as physical quantity.

Definition: Any real entities, which are measurable is known as Physical Quantity.

Example: Length, Breadth, Height, Density, Mass, volume, Weight etc.

Ruler – used to measure the length

Note:  we can measured a book by it length, breadth, height, mass, volume. Here book is not physical quantity but length, breadth, height, mass, volume all are the physical quantity. We can measure the water by volume but here volume is the physical quantity but water is not.

Distance is measured by length, land is measured by area, and liquid is measured by volume.

Different Types of Physical Quantity

Physical quantities are divided into following two types

  1. Scalar Quantity: Any quantities which have only value, but no direction then these kinds of quantities are known as Scalar Quantity.

Example: Length, Breadth, Height, Density, Mass, volume, Weight etc. 

  1. Vector Quantity: Any quantities which have value and direction, then these kinds of quantities are known as Vector Quantity.

Example: velocity. Let a train running towards north with the velocity of 100km/ hr. Here north side is the direction and 100km/hr is the value.


Difference between scalar quantity and vector quantity

Scalar Quantity

Vector Quantity

It have only value no direction.

Example: mass

It has both value and direction.

Example: velocity

We can manipulate this quantity by algebraic procedure.

As direction related to the vector quantity, we cannot manipulate vector quantity by algebraic procedure.


We can measure the physical quantity by different measuring devices. Now-a-days digital measurement tools are take place near about all the old measurement tools.


Units of Measurement CGS FPS MKS SI
Author Details
Arnab De
I have over 16 years of experience working as an IT professional, ranging from teaching at my own institute to being a computer faculty at different leading institute across Kolkata. I also work as a web developer and designer, having worked for renowned companies and brand. Through tutorialathome, I wish to share my years of knowledge with the readers.
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