dimensional analysis

a method for comparing the dimensions of the physical quantities occurring in a problem to find relationships between the quantities without having to solve the problem completely. Cf. dimension (def. 6).
[1920-25]

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Technique used in the physical sciences and engineering to reduce physical properties such as acceleration, viscosity, energy, and others to their fundamental dimensions of length, mass, and time.

This technique facilitates the study of interrelationships of systems (or models of systems) and their properties. Acceleration, for example, is expressed as length per unit of time squared; whether the units of length are in the English or metric system is immaterial. Dimensional analysis is often the basis of mathematical models of real situations.

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▪ physical science and engineering
      technique used in the physical sciences and engineering to reduce physical properties, such as acceleration, viscosity, energy, and others, to their fundamental dimensions of length (L), mass (M), and time (T). This technique facilitates the study of interrelationships of systems (or models of systems) and their properties and avoids the nuisance of incompatible units. acceleration, for example, is expressed as L/T2 in dimensional analysis because it is a distance (L, length) per unit of time (T) squared; whether the actual units of length are expressed in the British Imperial (British Imperial System) or metric system is immaterial. Dimensional analysis often provides a “check” for mathematical models (mathematical model) of real situations. In order for such a model to be useful, it must be dimensionally faithful to the original.

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Universalium. 2010.

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