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Common Unit Prefixes
Prefix Symbol Factor Example
femto f 10 −15 1 femtosecond (fs) = 1 × 10 −15 s (0.000000000000001 s)
pico p 10 −12 1 picometer (pm) = 1 × 10 −12 m (0.000000000001 m)
nano n 10 −9 4 nanograms (ng) = 4 × 10 −9 g (0.000000004 g)
micro µ 10 −6 1 microliter (μL) = 1 × 10 −6 L (0.000001 L)
milli m 10 −3 2 millimoles (mmol) = 2 × 10 −3 mol (0.002 mol)
centi c 10 −2 7 centimeters (cm) = 7 × 10 −2 m (0.07 m)
deci d 10 −1 1 deciliter (dL) = 1 × 10 −1 L (0.1 L )
kilo k 10 3 1 kilometer (km) = 1 × 10 3 m (1000 m)
mega M 10 6 3 megahertz (MHz) = 3 × 10 6 Hz (3,000,000 Hz)
giga G 10 9 8 gigayears (Gyr) = 8 × 10 9 yr (8,000,000,000 Gyr)
tera T 10 12 5 terawatts (TW) = 5 × 10 12 W (5,000,000,000,000 W)

Si base units

The initial units of the metric system, which eventually evolved into the SI system, were established in France during the French Revolution. The original standards for the meter and the kilogram were adopted there in 1799 and eventually by other countries. This section introduces four of the SI base units commonly used in chemistry. Other SI units will be introduced in subsequent chapters.

Length

The standard unit of length    in both the SI and original metric systems is the meter (m)    . A meter was originally specified as 1/10,000,000 of the distance from the North Pole to the equator. It is now defined as the distance light in a vacuum travels in 1/299,792,458 of a second. A meter is about 3 inches longer than a yard ( [link] ); one meter is about 39.37 inches or 1.094 yards. Longer distances are often reported in kilometers (1 km = 1000 m = 10 3 m), whereas shorter distances can be reported in centimeters (1 cm = 0.01 m = 10 −2 m) or millimeters (1 mm = 0.001 m = 10 −3 m).

One meter is slightly larger than a yard and one centimeter is less than half the size of one inch. 1 inch is equal to 2.54 cm. 1 m is equal to 1.094 yards which is equal to 39.36 inches.
The relative lengths of 1 m, 1 yd, 1 cm, and 1 in. are shown (not actual size), as well as comparisons of 2.54 cm and 1 in., and of 1 m and 1.094 yd.

Mass

The standard unit of mass in the SI system is the kilogram (kg)    . A kilogram was originally defined as the mass of a liter of water (a cube of water with an edge length of exactly 0.1 meter). It is now defined by a certain cylinder of platinum-iridium alloy, which is kept in France ( [link] ). Any object with the same mass as this cylinder is said to have a mass of 1 kilogram. One kilogram is about 2.2 pounds. The gram (g) is exactly equal to 1/1000 of the mass of the kilogram (10 −3 kg).

The photo shows a small metal cylinder on a stand. The cylinder is covered with 2 glass lids, with the smaller glass lid encased within the larger glass lid.
This replica prototype kilogram is housed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland. (credit: National Institutes of Standards and Technology)

Temperature

Temperature is an intensive property. The SI unit of temperature is the kelvin (K)    . The IUPAC convention is to use kelvin (all lowercase) for the word, K (uppercase) for the unit symbol, and neither the word “degree” nor the degree symbol (°). The degree Celsius (°C)    is also allowed in the SI system, with both the word “degree” and the degree symbol used for Celsius measurements. Celsius degrees are the same magnitude as those of kelvin, but the two scales place their zeros in different places. Water freezes at 273.15 K (0 °C) and boils at 373.15 K (100 °C) by definition, and normal human body temperature is approximately 310 K (37 °C). The conversion between these two units and the Fahrenheit scale will be discussed later in this chapter.

Questions & Answers

what is an atom
Precious Reply
An atom is the smallest particle of an element which can take part in a chemical reaction..
olotu
hello
Karan
how to find the rate of reaction?
Karan
what is isomerism ?
Lucky Reply
Formula for equilibrium
Danmori Reply
is it equilibrium constant
olotu
Yes
Olatunde
yes
David
what us atomic of molecule
Imhologhomhe Reply
chemical formula for water
Muhammad Reply
H20
Samson
what is elemental
Maryam Reply
what are the properties of pressure
Maryam
How can water be turned to gas
VICTOR
what's a periodic table
Okiemute Reply
how does carbon catenate?
obuke Reply
condition in cracking from Diesel to petrol
Brient Reply
hey I don't understand anything in chemistry so I was wondering if you could help me
Ruth Reply
i also
Okikiola
I also
Brient
hello
Brient
condition for cracking diesel to form kerosene
Brient
Really?
Isa
yes
Brient
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Brient
please let me know
Brient
what is periodic law
rotimi Reply
periodic law state that the physical and chemical properties of an element is the periodic function of their atomic number
rotimi
how is valency calculated
Ashley Reply
How is velency calculated
Bankz
Hi am Isaac, The number of electrons within the outer shell of the element determine its valency . To calculate the valency of an element(or molecule, for that matter), there are multiple methods. ... The valency of an atom is equal to the number of electrons in the outer shell if that number is fou
YAKUBU
what is the oxidation number of this compound fecl2,fecl3,fe2o3
Asmau Reply
bonds formed in an endothermic reaction are weaker than the reactants but y r these compound stable at higher temperatures
zille Reply
what is a disproportionation reaction
Ogor Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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