# 43 metric prefixes and equivalents the metric system

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43Metric Prefixes and EquivalentsThe metric system uses a number of prefixes along with the base units. A base unit is onethat cannot be expressed in terms of other units. The base unit of mass is the gram (g),that of length is the meter (m), and that of volume is the liter (L). Each base unit can becombined with different prefixes to define smaller and larger quantities.When the prefix centi- is placed in front of gram, as in centigram, the measure is nowof a gram. When milli- is placed in front of meter, as in millimeter, the measure isnowof a meterPrefixes are shown in the tableprefixsymboldecimalyottaY1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000zettaZ1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000exaE1 000 000 000 000 000 000petaP1 000 000 000 000 000teraT1 000 000 000 000gigaG1 000 000 000megaM1 000 000kilok1 000hectoh100dekada101decid0.1centic0.01millim0.001micro0.000 001nanon0.000 000 001picop0.000 000 000 001femtof0.000 000 000 000 001attoa0.000 000 000 000 000 001zeptoz0.000 000 000 000 000 000 001yoctoy0.000 000 000 000 000 000 000 001
Property of and for the exclusive use of SLU. Reproduction, storing in a retrieval system, distributing, uploading or posting online, or transmitting in any form or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise of any part of this document, without the prior written permission of SLU, is strictly prohibited.44Conventional Systema. English Units- Customary units of measurement- Disadvantage due toarbitrary conversionof unitsoConversion factors are not in the multiples of tenoE.g. 1 yard= 3 feet ; 1 mile= 1,760 yardb. Metric System- Conversion factors are in multiples of ten- Units were referenced to length, mass, and time- Absolute systems:oCGS: Centimeter, Gram, SecondoMKS: Meter, Kilogram, SecondSysteme International d’ Unites / SI- Derived from the metric system-Internationally accepted- Devised to provide the global scientific community a uniform method ofdescribingphysical quantitiesThese prefixes are used for all metric units of measurement, including units for volume,time, distance, etc. Common metric units, symbols, and relationships to a base unit areshown below.1 micrometer = 1 μm = 1x10-6m1 microliter = 1 μL = 1x10-6L1 kilometer = 1 km = 1x103m1 kilogram = 1 kg = 1x103gB. Systeme International d’ Unites / SISI from the French Le Système International d’ Unites, is the main system of measurementunits used in science. Since the 1960s, the International System of Units has beeninternationally agreed upon as the standard metric system. The SI base units are basedon physical standards. The definitions of the SI base units have been and continue to bemodified and new base units added as advancements in science are madeInternational system of unitsIn any system of units, the units for some physical quantities must be defined through ameasurement process. These are called the base quantities for that system and their unitsare the system’sbase units. All other physical quantities can then be expressed asalgebraic combinations of the base quantities. Each of these physical quantities is thenknown as aderived quantityand each unit is called aderived unit. The choice of basequantities is somewhat arbitrary, as long as they are independent of each other and allother quantities can be derived from them. Typically, the goal is to choose physicalquantities that can be measured accurately to a high precision as the base quantities.

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