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Translations of Encyclopedia about Mathematics

 

Units and Measurement

We run into quantities every day of our lives. Quantities are composed of a number value and a unit of measurement.

Therefore, with the statement 300 g, we have the numerical value of 300 and the unit of measurement, the gram (g).

We use measurements and weight daily: when making our purchases, during our work, or during our free time. In the end, we may find ourselves converting between units without even thinking about it. For example, we may say "we drove 23 km", although no one else might convert that into metres, because that would be unnecessary. We use different prefixes instead of multiples. The most important prefixes are:

Abbreviation

Prefix

Meaning

Multiple of ten

Fraction

Decimal number

k

kilo

thousand

103

1000

1000

d

deci

one tenth

10-1

0,1

c

centi

one one-hundredth

10-2

0,01

m

mili

one one-thousandth

10-3

0,001

As the table shows, quantities and measurements can be converted into other quantities and measurements.

Example:

6 mg = 6 milligrams = 6 one thousandths of a gram 6 . g = 6 . 0.001 g = 6 . 10-3 g.

Converting small units to large ones is attained by dividing their numerical value by the multiple relating to how many times the unit is greater than the original.

Example:

300g = ? kg
300 g : 1000 = 0.3 kg

Converting larger units to smaller ones is achieved by multiplying by the numerical value.

Example:

5 km = ? dm
5 km . 10000 = 50000dm

Besides the common prefixes, there are also many less-used ones, although still important.

Prefix Abbreviation Multiple of ten
atto a 10 18
femto f 10 15
piko p 10 12
nano n 10 9
mikro m 10 6
mili m 10 3
centi c 10 2
deci d 10 1
deka da 10 1
hekto h 10 2
kilo k 10 3
mega M 10 6
giga G 10 9
tera T 10 12
peta P 10 15
exa E 10 18

For measuring lengths, surface areas, volumes or mass, we usually use the decimal metric system.

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