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SI Base Units

Physical Quantity Name Symbol mass length time m x t Unit Name kilogram metre second Symbol kg m s

electric current temperature interval amount of substance luminous intensity

I T n I

ampere kelvin mole candela

A K mol cd

SI comes from the French Le Systme International d'Units


Symbol cases are significant (e.g. t = time; T = temperature)

Derived units (examples)


Consist of one or more base units multiplied or divided together

quantity
area volume density velocity momentum acceleration force

symbol (s)
A V D or u or v p a F

unit
m2 m3 kg m-3 m s-1 kg m s-1 m s-2 kg m s-2

work

kg m2 s-2

Special derived units (examples)


All named after scientists and/or philosophers to simplify notation physical quantity name symbol (s) name unit symbol base SI form

force
work & energy power pressure electric charge p.d. (voltage) resistance

F
W&E P p q or Q V R

newton
joule watt pascal coulomb volt ohm

N
J W Pa C V

kg m s-2
kg m2 s-2

frequency

hertz

Hz

Note Special derived unit symbols all begin with an upper case letter

Some Greek characters used in physics


character

name
alpha

use
radioactivity

character

name
mu

use
micro & muons

beta
gamma delta epsilon

radioactivity
radioactivity very small & finite changes emf of cells

nu
pi rho sigma

neutrinos
3.142 & pi mesons density & resistivity summation

kappa
theta lambda

K mesons
angles wavelength & lambda particle

tau
phi omega

tau lepton
work function angular speed & resistance

Multiples and prefixes


multiple
x 1000

prefix kilo mega giga tera


peta exa

symbol k M G T
P E

example km M GW THz
Ps Em

x 1000 000
x 109 x 1012

x 1015
x 1018

also, but rarely used: deca = x 10, hecto = x 100

Smaller multiples
multiple
10 100

prefix
deci

symbol
d

example
dB

centi
milli micro

c
m

cm
mA V

1000
1000 000 x 10-9 x 10-12 x 10-15

nano
pico femto

n
p f

nC
pF fm

x 10-18

atto

as

Complete:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. There are 5000 mA in 5A There are 8000 pV in 8 nanovolts There are 500 m in 0.05 cm There are 6 000 000 g in 6 000 kg There are 4 fm in 4 000 am There are 5.0 x 107 kHz in 50 GHz There are 3.6 x 106 ms in 1 hour There are 0.030 M in 30 k There are 4.0 x 1028 pC in 40 PC There are 60 pA in 0.060 nA

Mathematical signs
sign meaning
greater than less than much greater than much less than greater than or equal to less than or equal to

sign

meaning
square root mean value mean square value root mean square value proportional to finite change

> <

approximately equal to
not equal to equivalent to

<x> < x2 > <x2>

extremely small change


sum of infinity