INTRODUCTION TO POWERS OF TEN
Example of a very large whole number: 100,000,000,000
Example of a very small decimal number: .000000000006
Electrical measurements often involve large whole numbers or small decimal numbers.
Working with large whole numbers and small decimal numbers can be time-consuming. Also,
using numbers with many zeros may lead to mistakes. Powers of 10 are used to express
large whole numbers and small decimal numbers as equivalent numbers containing only a
few digits. Obviously, numbers containing fewer digits are easier to use.
Powers of 10 involve the use of exponents. An exponent is a small number written above and
to the right of a number which is the base number. The exponent indicates the number of
times the base is to be taken as a factor.
For example: 103 = 10 X 10 X 10 1,000.
Multiples of 10, greater than one, can be expressed as the base 10 with a positive exponent.
For example: 10 = 101
100 = 102
1,000 = 103, etc.
Multiples of 10, between 0 and 1, can be expressed as the base 10 with a negative exponent.
For example: .1 = 10-1
.01 = 10-2
.001 = 10-3, etc.
The base 10, written without an exponent, actually has an exponent of 1.
Thus, 10 = 101.
The base 10, with an exponent of zero, is equal to one. Thus, 100 = 1.
No response required.