Units & Measurements

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Units & Measurements

The use of a single unit of measurement for some quantity has obvious drawbacks. For example, it is impractical to use the same unit for the distance between two cities and the length of a needle. Thus, historically they would develop independently. One way to make large numbers or small fractions easier to read, is to use unit prefixes.

At some point in time though, the need to relate the two units might arise, and consequently the need to choose one unit as defining the other or viceversa. For example an inch could be defined in terms of a barleycorn. A system of measurement is a collection of units of measurement and rules relating them to each other.

As science progressed, a need arose to relate the measurement systems of different quantities, like length and weight and volume. The effort of attempting to relate different traditional systems between each other exposed many inconsistencies, and brought about the development of new units and systems. Systems of measurement in modern use include the metric system, the imperial system, and United States customary units.

Metric systems of units have evolved since the adoption of the original metric system in France in 1791. The current international standard metric system is the International System of Units (abbreviated to SI). An important feature of modern systems is standardization. Each unit has a universally recognized size.

An example of metrication in 1860 when Tuscany became part of modern Italy (ex. one “libbra” = 339.54 grams)

Both the imperial units and US customary units derive from earlier English units. Imperial units were mostly used in the British Commonwealth and the former British Empire. US customary units are still the main system of measurement used in the United States outside of science, medicine, many sectors of industry, and some of government and military, and despite


  Capacitance is the ratio of the change in an electric charge in a system to the corresponding change in its electric potential. There are two closely related notions of capacitance: self capacitance and mutual capacitance. Any object that can be electrically charged exhibits self capacitance.

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