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Section 1: The Metric System

The Metric System is known as the International System of Measurement. The Metric System is based on Standard-prefixes that correspond to ‘multiples of 10’. The measurements of volume (the liter), mass (the gram), and length (the meter) are the baseline for all metric unit conversion factors.

In the United States, the English System is more commonly used; however, in the professions of medicine and science, the Metric System is favored. The Unit of Measurement for the English System is based on units used in historical England. Examples of English units include: gallons, pounds, inches, and feet.

Dimensional analysis is the method used to convert from ‘English to Metric’ or from ‘Metric to Metric’.

Metric Unit Conversion Factors

The base unit of volume is the Liter (l).

The base unit of mass is the Gram (g).

The base unit of length is the Meter (m).

Larger

Base

Smaller

1 Mega (M) = 1,000,000 (106)

1 Kilo (K) = 1,000 (103)

1 Hecto (H) = 100 (102)

1 Decka (D) = 10 (101)

-------------1 Liter, Gram, and Meter (100)---------------------

1 deci (d) = 0.1 (10-1)

1 centi (c) = 0.01 (10-2)

1 milli (m) = 0.001 (10-3)

1 micro () = 0.000001 (10-6) 1 nano (n) = 0.000000001 (10-9)

When looking at the metric system conversion factors, you read it like this: The meter, liter, gram line is your base or 100.

The prefixes and numbers above the base line are larger. The prefixes and numbers below the base line are smaller.

Conversion between orders of magnitude requires simple movement of the decimal point.

To convert from larger size unit to smaller size unit move the decimal to the right which will result in a larger number.

To convert from smaller size unit to larger