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Metric Measurements

  • Published: 2017-12-20 (Revised/Updated 2017-12-28) : Disabled World (
  • Synopsis: Handy metric measurement tables and conversions including area length and weight mass.

Main Document

What is the Metric Measurement System? The metric system is a decimalised system of measurement. Multiples and submultiples are related to the fundamental unit by factors of powers of ten eg. 10, 100, 1000.

The names of multiples and submultiples are formed with prefixes. They include deca (ten), hecto (hundred), kilo (thousand), mega (million), and giga (billion), deci (tenth), centi (hundredth), milli (thousandth), micro (millionth), and nano (billionth).

Metric units are commonly used around the world for personal, commercial and scientific purposes.

What is an Are?

An Are is a unit of area equal to 100 square metres (10 m by 10 m), used for measuring land area. It is mainly used in French, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch and German-speaking countries to measure real estate, elsewhere, the square metre is usually used.

What is a Centiare?

A centiare is a unit of area, equal to 1 square meter. 1 centiare = 0.01 ares = 1 square metre = 1 m2 = 1 m by 1 m.

The are is sometimes used in combination with the centiare, e.g. "10 ares 12 centiares" = 1012 m2.

Base Units of Metric Measurements
1000 litres = 1 cubic meter = 1 tonne of water
1 litre = 1 cubic decimeter = 1 kilogram of water
1 millilitre = 1 cubic centimeter = 1 gram of water
1 microlitre = 1 cubic millimeter = 1 milligram of water
Metric Length
10 millimeters = 1 centimeter
10 centimeters = 1 decimeter
10 decimeters = 1 meter
10 meters = 1 decameter
10 decameter = 1 hectometer
10 hectometers = 1 kilometer
1000 metes = 1 kilometer
Metric Volume
1000 cu. mm = 1 cu. cm
1000 cu. cm = 1 cu. decimeter
1000 cu. dm = 1 cu. meter
1 million cu. cm = 1 cu. meter
Metric Area
100 sq. mm = 1 sq. cm
10 000 sq. cm = 1 sq. meter
1 Are = 100 sq. meters
10 000 sq. meters = 1 hectares
100 hectares = 1 sq. kilometer
1 000 000 sq. meters = 1 sq. kilometer
Metric Capacity
10 milliliters = 1 centiliter
10 centiliters = 1 deciliter
10 deciliters = 1 liter
1000 liters = 1 cu. meter
Metric Weights and Mass
1,000,000 microgram = 1 gram
1000 milligram = 1 gram
1000 grams = 1 kilogram
1000 kilograms = 1 tonne

Who Uses the Metric System?

Most countries have either used the metric system for many years, or have adopted the metric system within the past 30 or 40 years. The only countries besides the U.S. that have not officially adopted the metric system are Liberia (Africa) and Burma (Southeast Asia). However the use of the metric system in the U.S. is slowly due to increasing wider acceptance of global standards and global trade which usually use metric measurements.

Why Doesn't America Use the Metric System?

America has always wanted to be different since it gained independence from England - The US declared independence on July 4th 1776 but did not gain independence until September 3, 1783 after the American Revolutionary War or the American War of Independence - One of the first things they changed was producing left hand drive cars and driving on the right side of the road, (as opposed to the R/H drive, L/H side of the road British system), as they were anxious to cast off all remaining links with their British colonial past. This mentality seems to continue today with the reluctance of the US to odopt the far more practical metric system into everyday use.

In fact the reluctance of the US to convert to the metric system resulted in the loss of the $125 million NASA Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from Imperial to metric measurements when exchanging data before the craft was launched.

A navigation team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) used the metric system in its calculations, while Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, which built the orbiter, provided acceleration data in the English Imperial system of inches, feet and pounds. JPL engineers mistook acceleration readings in English units of pound-seconds for a metric measure of force called newton-seconds.

It is ironic that the US can cooperate in space with the Russians, Japanese, and French yet have trouble communicating across different areas of the United States.

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