Motion And Measurement



The action of quantifying, calculating the length, amount, quantity, depth, weight and myriad other parameters by comparing an unknown quantity with some known standard quantity is called measurement.

Result of Measurement:

Measurement has two parts; one is the number and other is the unit. The known quantity which is used in measurement is called a unit. For example; when you say that your height is 164 cm then the measurement of your

height is being expressed in a number, i.e. 164 and a unit, i.e. centimeter.

Arbitrary Units of Measurement:

Before the development of standard units of measurement, people used arbitrary units of measurement. Some of them are still in use at some places. Hand-span, finger-length, cubit (length between the elbow and finger tips), foot-length and arms-length are some examples of arbitrary units of measurement.

Disadvantages of Arbitrary Units of Measurement:

You have seen that arbitrary units are made up of lengths of different body parts. These lengths can vary from one person to another. This can create lot of confusion as there would be no uniformity in measurement.

Standard Unit of Measurement:

To maintain uniformity in measurement, standard units of measurement were introduced in different parts of the world at different places. Napoleon is believed to have introduced most of the standard units of measurement which are being used today.

SI Unit (International System of Units):

It is the most widely used system of measurement in the world. It is based on MKS (Meter-Kilogram-Second) System. Length, weight and time are considered as basic quantities for measurement and other quantities are derived from them. As per SI system; the unit of length is meter, unit of weight is kilogram and the unit of time is second. Barring the unit of time, other units of this system are based on decimal system. Use of the decimal system makes the SI Unit more user-friendly.

Direct Measurement:

When we measure some quantity directly, it is called direct measurement. For example; when you are using a ruler to measure a length, you are doing direct measurement.

Indirect Measurement:

When we measure some quantity indirectly, it is called indirect measurement. For example; when you have to measure the girth of a tree or the length of a curve, you cannot use a ruler. You can use a rope to find the length of a curved line and then compare the length on a ruler.

Correct Steps of Measuring the Length:

  1. The scale should be placed along the length of the object to be measured.
  2. The zero mark of the scale should be taken as the beginning point. If zero mark is broken or invisible, then any other mark should be selected and final adjustment should be made accordingly. For example; if you begin from 1 and the final reading is 14 then actual reading would be 14 – 1 = 13.
  3. Correct eye position should be maintained. The eye position should be just above the point to be measured. Incorrect eye position leads to parallax error and gives incorrect reading.


The change in position of an object with change in time is called motion.

Types of Motion

Linear Motion: When the motion is in a straight line, it is called linear motion, e.g. a car moving on a straight road.

Curvilinear Motion: When the motion is on a curved path, it is called curvilinear motion, e.g. a car moving on a bend.

Circular Motion: When the motion is on a circular path, it is called circular motion, e.g. the motion of the earth in its orbit.

Rotation: When an object moved around an axis, it is called rotation, e.g. rotation of the earth on its axis.

Periodic Motion: When the motion is repetitive after a fixed interval, it is called periodic motion, e.g. motion of a wing.