Calculating Force w/ Scientific Notation Answers Coming Out Wrong?

In summary, the conversation is about calculating the force between two masses using the Universal Law of Gravitation. The calculation is set up as G*mass1*mass2/distance^2 and the specific question is about masses of 5 and 2.5 that are .1414 meters apart. The expected answer is 4.171e-14 but the calculated answer is 4.17e-8, which could be due to the masses being in grams instead of kilograms. The issue is resolved when it is confirmed that the masses should be in kilograms.
  • #1
mcdowellmg
55
0
This is a simple question. I am calculating the force of two masses based on the Universal Law of Gravitation. I am setting up the equation as G (gravitational constant of 6.67e-11)*mass1*mass2 all divided by the distance between the masses squared.

This particular question is about masses of 5 and 2.5 that are .1414 meters apart, so I am doing (6.67e-11*5*2.5)/(.1414^2) and getting 4.17e-8 as the answer.

HOWEVER, the answer is apparently 4.171e-14.

Is this a calculator error (TI-89) or a formula error?

Thank you.
 
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  • #2
Are you sure the masses are in kilograms, not grams?
 
  • #3
Thanks! Perhaps I've been a little stressed today. That is exactly what was wrong.
 

Related to Calculating Force w/ Scientific Notation Answers Coming Out Wrong?

1. How do I calculate force using scientific notation?

To calculate force using scientific notation, you need to multiply the values of mass and acceleration, both expressed in scientific notation, together. This will give you the force value also in scientific notation.

2. Why are my answers for force calculations in scientific notation coming out wrong?

There could be a few reasons for this. One possibility is that you are not following the correct order of operations when multiplying the values in scientific notation. Another possibility is that you may be rounding your values too early, resulting in an inaccurate answer. Lastly, it could be a mistake in your conversion of units to scientific notation. Double check your calculations and make sure you understand the correct steps for calculating with scientific notation.

3. Can I use a calculator to calculate force in scientific notation?

Yes, most calculators have a scientific notation function that allows you to enter and calculate values in scientific notation. Just make sure you are entering the values correctly and following the correct order of operations.

4. How do I convert a regular number to scientific notation?

To convert a regular number to scientific notation, you need to move the decimal point to the left or right depending on the size of the number. If the original number is greater than 10, move the decimal point to the left and count the number of places you moved it. This will be your exponent. If the original number is less than 1, move the decimal point to the right and again count the number of places you moved it to determine the exponent. The remaining digits will be your base number.

5. Is scientific notation necessary for force calculations?

No, scientific notation is not necessary for force calculations. It is simply a way to express very large or very small numbers in a more concise and convenient format. You can also perform force calculations using standard decimal notation, but it may result in very long or small numbers that are more difficult to work with.

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