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# WEEK 8

## The Metric System

History

In 1586, the Flemish mathematician Simon Stevin published a small pamphlet called De Thiende ("the tenth"). Decimal fractions had been employed for the extraction of square roots some five centuries before his time, but nobody established their daily use before Stevin. He felt that this innovation was so significant that he declared the universal introduction of decimal coinage, measures, and weights to be merely a question of time. The idea of a metric system has been attributed to John Wilkins, first secretary of the Royal Society of London in 1668.[4][5][6] The idea did not catch on, and England continued with its existing system of various weights and measures. In 1670 Gabriel Mouton, a French abbot and scientist, proposed a decimal system of measurement based on the circumference of the Earth. His suggestion was a unit, milliare, that was defined as a minute of arc along a meridian. He then suggested a system of sub-units, dividing successively by factors of ten into the centuria, decuria, virga, virgula, decima, centesima, and millesima. His ideas attracted interest at the time, and were supported by Jean Picard as well as Huygens in 1673, and also studied at the Royal Society in London. In 1673, Gottfried Leibniz independently made proposals similar to those of Mouton.

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The proliferation of disparate measurement systems was one of the most frequent causes of disputes amongst merchants and between citizens and tax collectors. A unified country with a single currency and a countrywide market, as most European countries were becoming by the end of the 18th century, had a very strong economic incentive to break with this situation and standardise on a measuring system. The inconsistency problem was not one of different units but one of differing sized units. Instead of simply standardising the size of the existing units, the leaders of the French revolutionary Assemble Constituante decided that a completely new system should be adopted. It was felt that no country would accept standardizing on the units of another country, but that there would be less resistance if a completely new system made change compulsory for all countries.[citation needed]

Metric seal On May 20, 1875 an international treaty known as the Convention du Mtre (Metre Convention) was signed by 17 states. This treaty established the following organisations to conduct international activities relating to a uniform system for measurements:

Confrence gnrale des poids et mesures (CGPM), an intergovernmental conference of official delegates of member nations and the supreme authority for all actions;

Comit international des poids et mesures (CIPM), consisting of selected scientists and metrologists, which prepares and executes the decisions of the CGPM and is responsible for the supervision of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures;

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Bureau international des poids et mesures (BIPM), a permanent laboratory and world centre of scientific metrology, the activities of which include the establishment of the basic standards and scales of the principal physical quantities and maintenance of the international prototype standards.

Replicable Prototypes The usual way to establish a standard was to make prototypes of the base units and distribute copies. This would make the new standard reliant on the original prototypes, which would be in conflict with the previous goal, since all countries would have to refer to the one holding the prototypes. Instead, the designers developed definitions of the base units such that any laboratory equipped with proper instruments should be able to make their own models of them. The original base units of the metric system could be derived from the length of a meridian of the Earth and the weight of a certain volume of pure water. For a time, the Assemble Constituante considered using the length of a pendulum beating the second in Paris as the base of the metre; when they heard that the British Parliament was discussing a similar proposal, based on the length of the pendulum beating the second in London, the Assemble contacted their counterparts in London and offered to standardize on the London pendulum. Instead, the UK abandoned the idea of metrication for another two centuries, and the meridian definition of the metre was adopted[7]. The pendulum was not a likely choice for a prototype in any case, since its period (or, inversely, the length of the string holding the bob for the same period) changes around the Earth. Likewise, they discarded using the circumference of the Earth over the Equator since not all countries have access to the Equator while all countries have access to a section of a meridian.[citation needed]

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Decimal multiples The metric system is decimal, in the sense that all multiples and submultiples of the base units are factors of powers of ten of the unit. Fractions of a unit are not used formally. The practical benefits of a decimal system are such that it has been used to replace other non-decimal systems outside the metric system of measurements; for example currencies. The simplicity of decimal prefixes encouraged the adoption of the metric system. Clearly the advantages of decimal prefixes derive from our using base 10 arithmetic. At most, differences in expressing results are simply a matter of shifting the decimal point or changing an exponent; for example, the speed of light may be expressed as 299,792.458 km/s or 2.99792458108 m/s. Prefixes All derived units would use a common set of prefixes for each multiple. Thus the prefix kilo could be used for mass (kilogram) or length (kilometre) both indicating a thousand times the base unit. This did not prevent the popular use of names for some derived units such as the tonne which is a megagram; derived from old customary units and rounded to metric. The function of the prefix is to multiply or divide the measure by a factor of ten, one hundred or a positive integer power of one thousand.[8] If the prefix is Greekderived, the measure is a positive power. If the prefix is Latin-derived, it is a negative power, except by 10-6 (micro~) which is also Greek-derived. The Greek prefix kilo~ and the Latin prefixes centi~ and milli~ are those most familiar from everyday use.

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metre Unit megametr e kilometre 103 metres Relation to base 106 metres

hectometre 102 metres decametre decimetre centimetre millimetre 101 metres 10-1 metrea 10-2 metres 10-3 metres

## megalitre 106 litres kilolitre 103 litres

hectolitre 102 litres decalitre decilitre centilitre millilitre 101 litres 10-1 litres 10-2 litres 10-3 litres

## microlitre 10-6 litres

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A similar application of Greek and Latin prefixes can be made with other metric measurements. Practicality The base units were chosen to be of similar magnitude to customary units. The metre, being close to half a toise (French yard equivalent), became more popular than the failed decimal hour of the Republican Calendar which was 2.4 times the normal hour. The kilometre was originally defined as the length of an arc spanning a decimal minute of latitude, a similar definition to that of the nautical mile which was the length of an arc of one (non-decimal) minute of latitude. Originally, units for volume and mass were directly related to each other, with mass defined in terms of a volume of water. Even though that definition is no longer used, the relation is quite close at room temperature and nearly exact at 4 C. So as a practical matter, one can fill a container with water and weigh it to get the volume. For example, 1,000 litres = 1 cubic metre 1 tonne of water 1 litre = 1 cubic decimetre 1 kilogram of water 1 millilitre = 1 cubic centimetre 1 gram of water 1 microlitre = 1 cubic millimetre 1 milligram of water

Coincidental similarities

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Two important values, when they were expressed in the metric system, turned out to be very close to a multiple of 10. The standard acceleration due to gravity on Earth gn has been defined to be 9.80665 m/s2 exactly, which is the value at about 45 north or south of the equator. Accordingly the force exerted on a mass of one kilogram in Earth gravity (F = ma) is about ten newtons (kg-m/s2). This simplified the metrication of many machines such as locomotives, which were simply re-labelled from e.g. "85 tonnes" to "850 kN". A closer approximation is 2 ( 9.86960) m/s2, which means a onemetre pendulum has a period of almost two seconds. Also, the standard atmospheric pressure, previously expressed in atmospheres, when given in pascals, is 101.325 kPa. Since the difference between 10 atmospheres and 1 MPa is only 1.3%, many devices were simply re-labelled by dividing the scale by ten, 1 atm was changed to 0.1 MPa. In addition, the speed of light in a vacuum turned out to be astonishingly close (0.07% different) to 3108 m/s; the exact value, 299,792,458, has since become the definition. A useful conversion used in meteorology is 1 m/s 2 knots with less than a 3% error, actually 1.94384 knots (to 5 decimal places). The equivalent conversion for distance is not so "rounded", 1 nautical mile = 1.852 km (exactly) = 1 minute of arc Latitude (approximately).

Metric systems

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Original system The metric system, and metre was first fully described by Englishman John Wilkins in 1668 in a treatise presented to the Royal Society some 120 years before the French adopted the system. It is believed that the system was transmitted to France from England via the likes of Benjamin Franklin (who spent a great deal of time in London), and produced the by-product of the decimalised paper currency system, before finding favor with American revolutionary ally Louis XVI.[10] The original French system continued the tradition of having separate base units for geometrically related dimensions, i.e. metre for lengths, are (100 m2) for areas, stre (1 m3) for dry capacities and litre (1 dm3) for liquid capacities. The hectare, equal to a hundred ares, is the area of a square 100 metres on a side (about 2.5 acres), and is still in use. The base unit of mass is the kilogram. This is the only base unit that has a prefix, for historical reasons. Originally the kilogram was called the "grave", and the "gram" was an alternative name for a thousandth of a grave. After the French Revolution, the word "grave" carried negative connotations, as a synonym for the title "count". The grave was renamed the kilogram.[11] This also serves as the prototype in the SI. It included only few prefixes from milli, one thousandth to myria ten thousand. Several national variants existed thereof with aliases for some common subdivisions. In general this entailed a redefinition of other units in use, e.g. 500-gram pounds or 10-kilometre miles or leagues. An example of these is measures usuelles. However it is debatable whether such systems are true metric systems.

Centimetre-gram-second systems

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Early on in the history of the metric system, various versions of centimetre gram second system of units (CGS) had been in use. These units were particularly convenient in science and technology. For example, in CGS the density of water is approximately one gram per cubic centimetre. Metre-kilogram-second systems Later metric systems were based on the metre, kilogram and second (MKS) to improve the value of the units for practical applications. Metre-kilogram-second-coulomb (MKSC) and metre-kilogram-second-ampere (MKSA) systems are extensions of these. The International System of Units (System international units or SI) is the current international standard metric system and the system most widely used around the world. It is based on the metre, kilogram, second, ampere, kelvin, candela and mole. Metre-tonne-second systems The metre-tonne-second system of units (MTS) was based on the metre, tonne and second. It was invented in France and mostly used in the Soviet Union from 1933 to 1955. Gravitational systems Gravitational metric systems use the kilogram-force (kilopond) as a base unit of force, with mass measured in a unit known as the hyl, TME, mug or metric slug. Note these are not part of the International System of Units (SI).

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Variations in terminology In keeping with American English spelling, meter, liter, etc. are used in the United States. In addition, the official US spelling for the rarely used SI prefix for ten is deka. In American English the term metric ton is the normal usage whereas in other varieties of English tonne is common. The US government has approved this terminology for official use. In scientific contexts only the symbols are used since these are universally the same, the differences do not arise in practice in scientific use. Gram is also sometimes spelled gramme in English-speaking countries other than the United States, though it is an older spelling and its usage is declining. Conversion and calculation errors

Cargo errors The confusion between pounds (mass) and kilograms sometimes means that aircraft are overloaded. "the shipper's weights had been in kilograms, not pounds, and that, as a result, the aircraft was more than 30,000 pounds overweight".

Gimli Glider In 1983 a Boeing 767 jet ran out of fuel in mid-flight because of two mistakes in figuring the fuel supply of Air Canada's first aircraft to use metric measurements.

Mars Climate Orbiter In 1999 NASA lost a \$125 million Mars orbiter because one engineering team used metric units while another used US customary units for a calculation.

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Medical errors Medical errors in the US are sometimes attributed to the confusion between grains and grams. A patient received phenobarbital 0.5 grams instead of 0.5 grains (0.03 grams) after the prescriber misread the prescription.

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From: http://www.uffda.com/~bink/metric.html

## The Metric System

The modern metric system of units and standards of measure is rooted in 17thand-18th century efforts to establish a simple, easily used system of weights and measures universally acceptable to the countries of the world. These efforts were motivated by two guiding principles. In the first place, there were many who hoped for the definition of a single unit of measure that could serve as the basis for the logical construction of a complete and consistent system of units of measure; in the second place, there was also a growing number of people favoring decimal relationships for the necessary units of the same quantity; that is, multiples by factors of ten or submultiples by factors of one-tenth were considered to be the desirable means of obtaining systematic units of measure that would be a convenient size for all needs. The forces driving toward a change from diverse and essentially unrelated customary systems of measure included rapidly growing international commerce and the changing political structure of Europe and its colonial dependencies. Within the new national structures it became necessary to accommodate many incompatible ways of doing business. Moreover, the growth of scientific investigation not only created new demands for accuracy and uniformity in measurements, it also provided the vision for a universally acceptable scientific basis for a system of measurements. The customary systems, handed down mainly from the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, were based on unrelated objects and phenomena, including human anatomy, with no practical hope for uniformity within integrated communities, states, or aggregated nations.

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Origins of the Metric System The birth of the metric system occurred in the climate of bold reform and scientific rationalization that prevailed in France during the latter part of the 18th century. In April 1790, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, then Bishop of Autun, placed before the National Assembly of France a plan based on a unit of length equal to the length of a pendulum that would make one full swing per second. The French Academy of Sciences organized special committees to study the related issues. While many scientists favored the concept of a unit of length derived from a pendulum, there were many recognized practical difficulties. These included variations with temperature and the different values of gravitational force at different places on the surface of the Earth. After scientific consideration of the alternatives, the committee recommended a new unit of length equal to one ten-millionth of the length of the arc from the equator to the North Pole, or a quadrant of the Earth's meridian circle. In May 1793 this unit was given the name metre, derived from the Greek word metron, meaning "a measure." From the same word came the name of the new system. The unit of mass, the kilogram, was defined as the mass of water contained by a cube whose sides are one-tenth the unit of length. The unit of volume, the liter, was defined in the same way; thus the unit of length became the basis for the system. At that time the units of length, mass, area, volume, and time satisfied the needs of commerce. The new Republic of France adopted the recommendations of the French Academy in 1795. Development of the System The French Academy of Sciences also recommended, for practical reasons, that the primary reference standard for the unit of length be realized from the definition of the unit by a very precise measurement of the arc of meridian between Dunkirk, France, and Barcelona, Spain. The length of the arc from the equator to the North Pole was then to be inferred from astronomical measurements of angle. The survey was completed in November 1798, and platinum artifact reference standards for the meter and the kilogram were constructed in June 1799. These two standards, deposited in the French

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National Archives in Paris, later came to be known as the Meter of the Archives and the Kilogram of the Archives. The introduction of the metric system in France met with the usual resistance to change. In 1812 the old units of measure were restored by Napoleon, Emperor of France. In 1840 the metric system again became mandatory in France, and it has remained so ever since. Meanwhile, the use of the metric system spread slowly to other European countries and even to the United States, where it became legal, but not mandatory, in 1866. The international acceptance of the metric system was implemented by the Diplomatic Conference of the Meter, convened by the French government on Mar. 1, 1875, and attended by delegates from 20 countries. This conference produced the Treaty of the Meter, signed on May 20, 1875, by the delegates of 17 countries--including the United States, the only English-speaking country to sign. The metric treaty provided the institutional machinery needed to promote the refinement, diffusion, and use of the metric system. The International Committee for Weights and Measures, widely known as CIPM (Committee International des Poids et Measures), was established under the broad supervision of the General Conference on Weights and Measures, CGPM (Conference General des Poids et Measures), consisting of delegates from member countries. The first General Conference met in September 1889 to approve new international metric prototype reference standards to redefine length and mass. These prototypes were based on the Archives standards. The First CGPM also ratified the equality (within known uncertainties) of a number of national prototype standards for length and mass and distributed these standards to the member nations. This was the beginning of the diffusion of a uniform metric system throughout the world. The Metric Convention also established the INTERNATIONAL BUREAU OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES, BIPM (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures), to carry out the scientific work of the International System under the supervision of CIPM.

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Metric expansion throughout the world Following the reinstitution of the metric system in France in 1840, the use of the system expanded slowly into parts of Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, and Spain. After 1850 the growing interest in large international commercial exhibitions accelerated the expansion of the use of the metric system as a common language of measurements, and by 1880 the major European countries and most of South America had adopted it. At the beginning of the 20th century the metric system was officially in use in 35 countries, and the only large industrialized countries not included in that number were the British Commonwealth countries and the United States. Both the United States (in 1875) and Great Britain (in 1884) had become signatory nations of the Treaty of the Meter, though, thereby recognizing the importance of a common international basis for their national systems of measurement. The metric displacement of customary measurement systems in major Englishspeaking countries of the world has developed much more slowly. Changes in the patterns of international trade and the importance of new markets in developing--as well as developed-- countries has nevertheless brought about a practical regard for the necessity of uniform units of measure on an international scale. The shift toward metric conversion was well established in English- speaking countries by the middle of the 20th century. Official action to adopt the system for nationwide everyday use was finally taken, after the establishment of the International System of Units in 1960, by Great Britain (1965), South Africa (1968), New Zealand (1969), Canada (1970), and Australia (1970). As the final quarter of the 20th century approaches, only the United States, Liberia, and Burma remain uncommitted to the mandatory use of the metric system in daily life.

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The Metric System in the United States In the United States, there had been much official and scientific interest in the development of the metric system during the earliest days of the nation. President Washington urged Congress to take action toward uniform measurements throughout the land. Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, during their terms as secretary of state, carried out comprehensive studies that included consideration of the merits of the metric system developments in France. Following an additional special study by the newly organized National Academy of Sciences in January 1866, Congress enacted legislation authorizing (but not mandating) the use of the metric system in the United States. This legislation was signed into law by President Andrew Johnson on July 20, 1866. The Act of 1866 was an important turning point in the history of measurements in the United States. By making it lawful to employ weights and measures of the metric system, the Act made a first step toward eventually harmonizing the U.S. measurement system with those of other nations. The Act also defined by law the relationships to be used in calculating the values of customary units of measurement used in the United States from the corresponding metric units. Moreover, in that same year a joint resolution authorized and directed the secretary of the treasury to furnish each state with one set of standard metric weights and measures. The United States was an important participant in the Convention of the meter held in Paris in 1875. Following its signing of the Metric Convention on May 10, 1875, the nation received its prototypes of the standard meter bar and standard kilogram in 1893. These became the nation's official fundamental standards for length and mass. In 1901 the U.S. NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS was established for the purpose of serving the worlds of science and technology. Despite its efforts, little progress was made toward a wider U.S. acceptance of metric units.

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Base units and derived units When the metric system was first conceived, one of the goals was the definition of a single unit from which the essential system of measurements could be constructed. Indeed, it was thought that the unit of length, the meter, should be regarded in this way, and much scientific effort went into the careful selection of an acceptable definition. It was also necessary to rely on the properties of pure water in order to define a unit of mass, the kilogram. Thus, the measurement system required for trade and commerce in the 18th century rested on the definitions of two units; units for other necessary quantities, such as area and volume, were derived from them. The ultimate goal of a complete system of measurements logically derived from the definition of a single unit was not realizable when the metric system was first established, and it is not realizable today. Nevertheless, the fundamental idea persisted, and a modern metric system has been founded on six base units and designated by the 11th CGPM (1960) as the International System of Units with the international abbreviation SI (see UNITS OF MEASUREMENT). The SI base units--expanded to seven in 1971--are independent by convention, and are the meter, kilogram, second, ampere, kelvin, mole, and candela. It is possible, in principle, for industrial nations to maintain complete systems of measurement that are equivalent within acceptable limits of uncertainty by comparing national standards for the SI base units to those maintained by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, BIPM (Bureau International des Poids et Mesures), in Sevres, France. Future trends The seven SI base units constitute a complete set in the sense that all the other necessary units of measure can be logically derived from them. In a practical sense, these seven also constitute an irreducible set within which no member can be derived from any combination of the others. It is, however, possible that advances in science and technology will result in a reduction of the number of SI base units. Since 1967 the SI unit for time, the second, has been defined as exactly 9,192,631,770 periods of radio radiation emitted as a result of gyroscopic precession of the outermost electron in

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undisturbed cesium atoms. From 1960 to 1983 the SI unit for length, the meter, was defined as exactly 1,650,763.73 wavelengths of one of the spectral lines of krypton-86. By 1983, however, even this laser-generated wavelength came to be considered insufficiently accurate in reproducibility, and the meter was redefined as the length of the path traveled by light in a vacuum during a time interval of 1/299,792,458 of a second. That is, the standard unit of length is defined in terms of the speed of light.

Modern methods for the measurement of luminous energy provide another example of advances that may, in principle, reduce the number of necessary SI base units. The unit of luminous intensity, the candela, is defined in terms of the radiation from a defined small area of a platinum body at a specified high temperature. It has become possible to measure such radiation by direct comparison to equivalent small amounts of electrical power. Therefore, electrical units--watts--are, in principle, sufficient for the measurement of optical radiation flux, as well as of electrical power. Recent advances using X rays to sense the positions of atoms in pure samples of perfect crystalline structures have made it possible to determine the number of atoms in a known amount of substance with great accuracy. On this basis, it may also become practical to derive the SI mole directly from the kilogram, contributing thereby to further simplification of the SI base units. Such advances even point the way to a possible redefinition of the kilogram in terms of the mass of a selected universally available atom. The present kilogram is the only SI base unit that is still defined in terms of an artifact kept at Sevres. In the case of special units in different disciplinary fields, it is clearly desirable to encourage a trend toward uniform practice. For example, the units used to measure the physiological effects of optical radiation include a factor for the average efficiency of the human eye, while the corresponding units used in physics and engineering for the same quantity do not. Similar examples exist in the case of other units that are used for physiological responses, including acoustic power and energy, and ionizing radiation dose. Those who are concerned with the refinement of the modern metric system seek

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ways to harmonize such diverse measurement practices while at the same time avoiding any tendency to make the system less useful to those who have special needs. The objective is to reduce the potential for confusion and error arising from the limitations of measurement language used in widely different fields of scientific and technological specialization.

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NAMES AND SYMBOLS FOR METRIC PREFIXES Table 1 Prefix exa peta tera giga mega kilo hecto deka deci centi milli nano atto pico femto micro Symbol E P T G M k h da d c m u n p f a Multiplier 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 1,000,000,000,000,000 1,000,000,000,000 1,000,000,000 1,000,000 1,000 100 10 0.1 0.01 0.001 001 0.000 000 001 0.000 000 000 001 0.000 000 000 000 001 0.000 000 000 000 000 001

## METRIC AND ENGLISH EQUIVALENTS

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Table 2 Unit acre barrel (oil, US) carat degrees, C (Celsius) (Fahrenheit) degrees, F foot gallon (US) hectare kilogram hundredweight inch hectoliter hectoliter hundredweight inch kilogram kilometer kilometer, square liter Meter meter, square meter, cubic mile, nautical Metric 0.405 hectares 159 liters 200 milligrams water boils at 100 0 deg. C deg. C, freezes at subtract 32 and divide degrees C by 1.8 to obtain 0.3048 meters 3.79 liters 0.1 sq kilometer 0.001 tons, metric 45.36 kilograms 2.54 centimeters 100 liters 100 liters 45.36 kilograms 2.54 centimeters 0.001 tons, metric 1,000 meters 100 hectares 0.01 hectoliter 100 centimeters 1.196 sq yards 1,000 liters 1.852 kilometers English 4,840 sq yards 42 gallons (US) .007 ounce avdp obtain degrees and add 32 to multiply by 1.8 water boils at 21 at 32 deg. F deg. F, freezes 0.333 yards 4 quarts, liquid 2.47 acres; 10,00 sq meters; 11,960 sq yard 2.2 pounds, avdp 100 pounds, avdp 0.0278 yards 26.42 gallons (US 26.42 gallons (US 100 pounds, avdp 0.0278 yards 2.2 pounds, avdp 0.621 miles 247 acres; 0.38 sq miles 1.06 quarts, liquid 1.09 yards

## 1.308 cu yards; 4 board feet 1.151 miles

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1.61 kilometers mile (statute) 259 hectares mile,square pound, avdp quart (US) 1.016 metric tons ton, deadweight ton, long ton, metric ton, register ton, short yard yard, square yard, cubic 1.016 metric tons 1,000 kilograms 2.83 cu meters 0.907 metric tons 0.914 meters 0.836 sq meters 0.765 cu meters 2,240 pounds, avd 2,240 pounds, avd 2,205 pounds, avd 100 cu feet 2,000 pounds, avd 3 feet 9 sq feet 27 cu feet 0.454 kilograms 0.946 liters 640 acres; 2.59 s kilometers 16 ounces, avdp 0.25 gallons (US) 5,280 feet

Metric System

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All living things are organized. This organization extends to all the measurable parameters of a living structure (size, weight, surface area, and energy). Scientists use a system of measure called the Metric System to record measurable parameters. The objectives of this laboratory exercise are: to become more familiar with the rational for using the Metric System, become proficient in the collection of biological information using metric measurements, demonstrate an ability to convert between units of metric measurement. Rational Why Metric? The metric system utilizes standard units derived from natural systems. Other commonly used systems of measure e.g. english system use units that often have no natural relevence to earth processes or a relationship between measured units. In many cases the units were created based on the physical features associated with a ruling monarch. Exercise 1: Using the internet links provided below, answer the following questions: In the United States of America, we currently use the English system to assess everyday measurements of length, weight, and temperature. 1) What are the standard English units for these measurements? 2) Who is responsible for the creation of these units? 3) What rational (if any) is behind the formulation of the unit? Scientists use the Metric System of measure for everyday data collection. 1) What are the standard metric units for length, mass, temperature, and volume? 2) What is the rational behind each metric unit?

Internet Resources

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Background on the SI Current definitions of the SI units Metric Internet Links METRIC STYLE GUIDE FOR THE NEWS MEDIA NSTA: Scope, Sequence, and Coordination Educational Resources Pennsylvannia State University Johnson County Community College Colorado State Sam Houston State University L. A. Pierce College Conversions Often the standardized unit for each kind of measurement is to large (or small) to measure the intended object. We must use units of measure that are fractions or multiples of the standard units. For example, if we measure a window using the english system it might measure 23 3/4 inches. This measure uses both multiples and fractions of the unit inches. The Metric System also allows for multiples or fractions of a unit to be measured except that instead of using fractions with variable denominators the unit size is variable. Unit size varies based on multiples of 10. The particular unit size to be measured is reflected in the prefix preceeding each unit measurement. The chart below lists commonly used prefixes (in bold) and their reflective relationship to the standardized unit of measure. Unit Kilometer (Km) Meter decimeter (dm) centimeter (cm) millimeters (mm) Equivalent 1000 meters 1 meter 1/10 meter 1/100 meter 1/1,000 meter Metric System The Metric System (Systeme International) Commonly used metric system units, symbols, and prefixes Ch.1: Metric System The Metric System

## National Institute of Standards and Technology

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micrometer (um) nanometers (nm) 1/1,000,000 meter 1/1,000,000,000 meter

To directly compare data measurements, it may be necessary to convert all measurements to a common unit value. In the example below, if we wish to compare the height of two animals where the first animal was measured in centimeters and the second animal was measured in millimeters we may wish to compare their height in millimeters. Animal 1) Height = 90 cm Animal 2) Height = 45 mm This would require us to convert the height of animal 1 from a value measured in centimeter units into a value reflecting millimeter units. To convert from one metric unit value to another requires two steps. Step 1: Ask yourself, is the value I am converting to larger or smaller than the original unit size. Using the example above: the measure of animal 1 height must be converted from centimeter to millimeter units because we wish to compare height measurements in millimeter units. Answer: millimeter units are smaller than centimeter units (1mm=1/1000 m whereas 1cm=1/100 m).

If the unit value you are converting to is smaller than the original unit value then a multiplication function will be used. If the unit value you are converting to is larger than the original unit value then a division function will be used. Let's use an example that is familiar to us: How many pennies are there in a dollar bill? To convert our value from dollar to pennies we must multiply (the number of

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pennies will exceed the number of dollars even though the total value of the transaction remains the same). Likewise, It is important to remember that when we are converting units from one unit size to another unit size that the total value of the measurement remains the same only the size of each unit has changed. Step 2 requires us to know the difference in size between the units to be converted. This "difference" between unit size will be the value that we will either multiply or divide for the conversion. In the example above we are converting centimeter unit into millimeter units. From the earlier chart we know that: 1 centimeter= 1/100m 1 millimeter = 1/1000m therefor 1 cm is 10 times greater in value than a millimeter. "Difference" is 10. If both values are expressed as fractions of the same reference (in this case "m") then cancelling out the zeros can help expose the "difference between the unit values. By cancelling zeros (multiplying each value by a common number) above we get: 1 centimeter = 1/100m x 100= 1/1 0r 1 1 millimeter = 1/1000m x 100=1/10 so a centimeter is 10 times larger than a millimeter

So to solve our original problem: What is the height of animal 1 in millimeters? we do the following: Step 1: the unit value we are converting to is smaller than the original unit value so we will multiply (x). Step 2: the "difference" between unit values is 10. Answer: 90cm = __ mm is answered by 90x10 =900mm

WEEK 8
The conversion format followed above works for any metric conversion you will be asked to do reguardless of the unit of measure being collected. It is important that you be able to recognize and undrstand the meaning behind the prefixes outlined earlier. Measurements Most metric measurements are obtained using devices that you have been using to collect English measurements. Length Metric length is collected with a ruler measured in meter (m), centimeter (cm), and/or millimeter (mm) units. We use this instrument the same way we would use a foot ruler or yard stick of the english system. Obtain a meter stick and centimeter ruler from the supply table.

Locate the centimeter and millimeter markings. How many centimeters are there in the meterstick? How many millimeters are there in the meterstick? (Hint: count how many millimeters in 1 centimeter) How long is the centimeter ruler in cm? In mm? Practice using the centimeter ruler or meter stick to measure objects around the room (table, chair, classmates, shoe, pencil) until you are comfortable recording length in metric units. Practice converting your measurements from one unit value of length to another. Try these. Use your centimeter ruler to assist if necessary.

WEEK 8
10 cm = ___mm 25 mm = ___cm 95 cm = ___m 0.75m = ___cm = ___mm 5.5mm = ___m (tough one) 11.5cm = ___mm = ___m Mass Mass is measured in gram (g) units and is a measure of how much substance an object consists of. Mass differs from weight because it is unaffected by gravity. The mass of an astronaut on Earth or the moon is constant even though the weight of the astronaut is less at the moon than on Earth. To measure mass we use a balance. Mass is calculated with a balance similar to how an object might be weighed.

Place an object in the pan of the balance. The arm of the balance is no longer centered but rests above the center indication line. Using the counterbalances of known mass (1g, 10g, or 100g), slide the counterbalances toward the right until the arm rests at the centerline. If the arm falls below the centerline, move the counterbalance towards the left. Practice balancing other objects from around the room.

WEEK 8
Practice converting your measurements from one unit value of mass to another. Try these practice problems. 150 mg=___g 1500g=___kg 950ug=___mg 2500ug=___g 1.5kg=___mg Volume Volume is a measured in liter (l) units and is a measure of how much space an object occupies. Volume is a cubic measurement meaning that in order to calculate volume a scientist needs to consider not only the length and width of an object but also the height. Liquids and gases conform to the shape of the container they occupy. (Coffee poured out of a pot conforms to the shape of the cup). To calculate the volume of a liquid a scientist needs only to pour the solution that is being measured into a container of known volume. Scientists usually use a container called a graduated cylinder to measure the volume of a liquid.