Dictionary for Basic and Intermediate Algebra
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The metric & English systems

The metric system is a decimal system using multiples or subdivisions of 10. All metric measurements are derived from a single base unit, the meter for the length; the gram for the weight; and the liter for the volume.One meter is defined as one ten-millionth of the distance from the equator to the North Pole (a little more than a yard or the height from the floor to the door knob); one gram is defined as the weight of the water that filled a box of one cubic centi meter (about the weight of a regular paper clip); and one liter is defined as the volume of a box that is 10 cm on a side (a little more than a quart).The advantages of the metric system can be seen when compared to the English system, it's eliminating the difficult calculations simply just moving around the decimal point. For example, in the English system, one inch is one-twelfth of a foot and one foot is one-third of a yard, there is no consistency in subdivision. In metric system, prefixes are used to indicate multiplications or division by power of ten. A complete list of the prefixes of the metric system is shown in the table below.

Metric Prefixes
Prefix multiple deci-(d) .1
exa 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 centi-(c) .01
peta 1,000,000,000,000,000 milli-(m).001
tera 1,000,000,000,000 micro .000001
giga 1,000,000,000 nano .000000001
mega 1,000,000 pico .0000000000001
kilo-(k) 1,000

femto .000000000001

hecto-(h) 100 atto .000000000000000001
deka-(dk) 10  
standard unit 1  

In example1- 4, perform each conversion by multiplying or dividing by the appropriate powers of 10.

Ex 1:Convert 5 m to millimeters

Ex 2:Convert 32,176 m to kilomrters

Ex 3: Convert 452 mg to grams

Ex 4:Convert 941 cL to liters

The following table shows the approximately equivalent relation between the metric system and the English system.

1 in 2,54 cm
1 cm0.394 in
1 yd0.914 m
1m1.09 yd
1m1.61 km
1 km0.621 mi
1 lb0.454 kg
1 kg2.20 lb
1 qt0.946 liter
1 liter1.06 qt
1 gallon 3.785 L
1 L 0.2642 gallon

In example 5 - 7, perform each conversion using the above table.

Ex 5:Convert 274 yd to meters.


Ex 6:Convert 6182 g to pounds

Ex 7:Convert 35.6 gal to liters


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