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Dealing with counts and other quantal quantities in quantity calculus

Published

Author(s)

David W. Flater

Abstract

Continuity is usually assumed as a defining feature of measured quantities. This premise is false for counted quantities, amount of substance, electric charge, and others that are constrained to exist in integral multiples of a quantum. A software application that treats these quantities as continuous can predict outcomes that are physically impossible, such as the production of half a photon. Thus far, formalizations of quantity calculus have not addressed how quantities that are structured like the integers should interoperate with continuous quantities. This article introduces the extension of quantity calculus to include quantal quantities, which vary in steps rather than continuously, and discusses the consequences of including them.
Citation
Measurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO)
Volume
206

Keywords

Counted quantity, Quantity calculus, Quantal, International System of Units, Dimensionless unit

Citation

Flater, D. (2023), Dealing with counts and other quantal quantities in quantity calculus, Measurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO), [online], https://doi.org/10.1016/j.measurement.2022.112226, https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=934477 (Accessed January 28, 2023)
Created January 1, 2023, Updated December 5, 2022