Metric System 

08-000-007

UNDERSTANDING THE METRIC SYSTEM
The Metric System is based on powers of ten. The table below shows the progression of prefixes.
PREFIX
SYMBOL
MATHEMATICAL VALUE
exa-
E
1,000,000,000,000,000,000
peta-
P
1,000,000,000,000,000
tera-
T
1,000,000,000,000
giga-
G
1,000,000,000
meg-
M
1,000,000
kilo-
k
1,000
hecto-
h
100
deka-
da
10
(meter, liter, gram)
1
deci-
d
0.1
centi-
c
0.01
milli-
m
0.001
micro-
0.000,001
nano-
n
0.000,000,001
pico-
p
0.000,000,000,001
femto-
f
0.000,000,000,000,001
atto-
a
0.000,000,000,000,000,001

The unit of measurement from length is the meter. The progression of the
more common units of measure are:

kilometer km 1,000 meters
meter m 1.0
centimeter cm 0.01 meters
millimeter mm 0.001 meters
nanometers nm 0.000,000,001 meters

The unit of measure for capacity is the liter, so the measurements allow
the same progression, such as kiloliter, centiliter, and so on.

The unit of measure for weight is the gram, so the measurement prefixes
are kilogram, centigram, and so forth.

When making conversions within the metric system, each change in prefix
represents one decimal point move. If you move downward one the chart,
the decimal places will be added. If you move upward, the decimal places
are moved to the left.

13.12.2005