Unit conversion

I often get asked about unit conversion, and it is a common mistake made in exams and prac classes. Units are very important, your answer without a unit means absolutely nothing! So, it’s important to get it right.

In the metric system, you need to know some of the prefixes associated with orders of magnitude.

tera- (T-) 1012
giga- (G-) 109
mega- (M-) 106
kilo- (k-) 103
hecto- (h-) 102
deka or deca- (da-) 10
deci- (d-) 10-1
centi- (c-) 10-2
milli- (m-) 10-3
micro- (µ-) 10-6
nano- (n-) 10-9
pico- (p-) 10-12

You need to multiply by a factor of 1000 to go between each prefix shown above.

There are a series of tutorials below, many of which have worked examples and problems for you to try:

http://chemistry.about.com/od/convertcalculate/a/conversions.htm

http://www.tutor-homework.com/Chemistry_Help/Unit_Conversion.html

http://www.learnchem.net/tutorials/mathb.shtml

http://pages.towson.edu/ladon/unit.html

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