SI base unit

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The seven SI base units
Symbol
Name
Base quantity
s
second
time
m
metre
length
kg
kilogram
mass
A
ampere
electric current
K
kelvin
thermodynamic temperature
mol
mole
amount of substance
cd
candela
luminous intensity SI base units.svg
The seven SI base units
SymbolNameBase quantity
s second time
m metre length
kg kilogram mass
A ampere electric current
K kelvin thermodynamic temperature
mol mole amount of substance
cd candela luminous intensity

The SI base units are the standard units of measurement defined by the International System of Units (SI) for the seven base quantities of what is now known as the International System of Quantities: they are notably a basic set from which all other SI units can be derived. The units and their physical quantities are the second for time, the metre (sometimes spelled meter) for length or distance, the kilogram for mass, the ampere for electric current, the kelvin for thermodynamic temperature, the mole for amount of substance, and the candela for luminous intensity. The SI base units are a fundamental part of modern metrology, and thus part of the foundation of modern science and technology.

Contents

The SI base units form a set of mutually independent dimensions as required by dimensional analysis commonly employed in science and technology. [ citation needed ]

The names and symbols of SI base units are written in lowercase, except the symbols of those named after a person, which are written with an initial capital letter. For example, the metre has the symbol m, but the kelvin has symbol K, because it is named after Lord Kelvin and the ampere with symbol A is named after André-Marie Ampère.

A number of other units, such as the litre, astronomical unit, and electronvolt, are not formally part of the SI, but are accepted for use with SI.

Definitions

On 20 May 2019, as the final act of the 2019 redefinition of the SI base units, the BIPM officially introduced the following new definitions, replacing the preceding definitions of the SI base units.

SI base units
NameSymbolMeasurePost-2019 formal definition [1] Historical origin / justification Dimension
symbol
second s time "The second, symbol s, is the SI unit of time. It is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the caesium frequency, ∆νCs, the unperturbed ground-state hyperfine transition frequency of the caesium 133 atom, to be 9192631770 when expressed in the unit Hz, which is equal to s−1." [1] The day is divided into 24 hours, each hour divided into 60 minutes, each minute divided into 60 seconds.
A second is 1 / (24 × 60 × 60) of the day. Historically, a day was defined as the mean solar day; i.e., the average time between two successive occurrences of local apparent solar noon.
T
metre m length "The metre, symbol m, is the SI unit of length. It is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the speed of light in vacuum c to be 299792458 when expressed in the unit m s−1, where the second is defined in terms of νCs." [1] 1 / 10000000 of the distance from the Earth's equator to the North Pole measured on the meridian arc through Paris.L
kilogram kg mass "The kilogram, symbol kg, is the SI unit of mass. It is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the Planck constant h to be 6.62607015×10−34 when expressed in the unit J s, which is equal to kg m2 s−1, where the metre and the second are defined in terms of c and ∆νCs." [1] The mass of one litre of water at the temperature of melting ice. A litre is one thousandth of a cubic metre.M
ampere A electric current "The ampere, symbol A, is the SI unit of electric current. It is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the elementary charge e to be 1.602176634×10−19 when expressed in the unit C, which is equal to A s, where the second is defined in terms of ∆νCs." [1] The original "International Ampere" was defined electrochemically as the current required to deposit 1.118 milligrams of silver per second from a solution of silver nitrate. Compared to the SI ampere, the difference is 0.015%. However, the most recent pre-2019 definition was: "The ampere is that constant current which, if maintained in two straight parallel conductors of infinite length, of negligible circular cross-section, and placed one metre apart in vacuum, would produce between these conductors a force equal to 2×10−7 newtons per metre of length." This had the effect of defining the vacuum permeability to be
μ0 = 4π×10−7  H/m or N/A 2 or T⋅m/A or Wb/(A⋅m) or Vs/(A⋅m)
I
kelvin K thermodynamic temperature "The kelvin, symbol K, is the SI unit of thermodynamic temperature. It is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the Boltzmann constant k to be 1.380649×10−23 when expressed in the unit J K−1, which is equal to kg m2 s−2 K−1, where the kilogram, metre and second are defined in terms of h, c and ∆νCs." [1] The Celsius scale: the Kelvin scale uses the degree Celsius for its unit increment, but is a thermodynamic scale (0 K is absolute zero).Θ
mole mol amount of substance "The mole, symbol mol, is the SI unit of amount of substance. One mole contains exactly 6.022 140 76 × 1023 elementary entities. This number is the fixed numerical value of the Avogadro constant, NA, when expressed in the unit mol−1 and is called the Avogadro number.

The amount of substance, symbol n, of a system is a measure of the number of specified elementary entities. An elementary entity may be an atom, a molecule, an ion, an electron, any other particle or specified group of particles." [1]

Atomic weight or molecular weight divided by the molar mass constant, 1 g/mol.N
candela cd luminous intensity "The candela, symbol cd, is the SI unit of luminous intensity in a given direction. It is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the luminous efficacy of monochromatic radiation of frequency 540×1012 Hz, Kcd, to be 683 when expressed in the unit lm W−1, which is equal to cd sr W−1, or cd sr kg−1 m−2 s3, where the kilogram, metre and second are defined in terms of h, c and ∆νCs." [1] The candlepower, which is based on the light emitted from a burning candle of standard properties.J

2019 redefinition of the SI base units

New SI: Dependence of base unit definitions on physical constants with fixed numerical values and on other base units that are derived from the same set of constants. Arrows are shown in the opposite direction compared to typical dependency graphs, i.e.
a
-
b
{\displaystyle a\rightarrow b}
in this chart means
b
{\displaystyle b}
depends on
a
{\displaystyle a}
. Unit relations in the new SI.svg
New SI: Dependence of base unit definitions on physical constants with fixed numerical values and on other base units that are derived from the same set of constants. Arrows are shown in the opposite direction compared to typical dependency graphs, i.e. in this chart means depends on .
The SI system after 1983, but before the 2019 redefinition: Dependence of base unit definitions on other base units (for example, the metre is defined as the distance travelled by light in a specific fraction of a second), with the constants of nature and artefacts used to define them (such as the mass of the IPK for the kilogram). Unit relations in the old SI.svg
The SI system after 1983, but before the 2019 redefinition: Dependence of base unit definitions on other base units (for example, the metre is defined as the distance travelled by light in a specific fraction of a second), with the constants of nature and artefacts used to define them (such as the mass of the IPK for the kilogram).

New definitions of the base units were approved on 16 November 2018, and took effect 20 May 2019. The definitions of the base units have been modified several times since the Metre Convention in 1875, and new additions of base units have occurred. Since the redefinition of the metre in 1960, the kilogram had been the only base unit still defined directly in terms of a physical artefact, rather than a property of nature. This led to a number of the other SI base units being defined indirectly in terms of the mass of the same artefact; the mole, the ampere, and the candela were linked through their definitions to the mass of the International Prototype of the Kilogram, a roughly golfball-sized platinumiridium cylinder stored in a vault near Paris.

It has long been an objective in metrology to define the kilogram in terms of a fundamental constant, in the same way that the metre is now defined in terms of the speed of light. The 21st General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM, 1999) placed these efforts on an official footing, and recommended "that national laboratories continue their efforts to refine experiments that link the unit of mass to fundamental or atomic constants with a view to a future redefinition of the kilogram". Two possibilities attracted particular attention: the Planck constant and the Avogadro constant.

In 2005, the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) approved preparation of new definitions for the kilogram, the ampere, and the kelvin and it noted the possibility of a new definition of the mole based on the Avogadro constant. [2] The 23rd CGPM (2007) decided to postpone any formal change until the next General Conference in 2011. [3] [ needs update ]

In a note to the CIPM in October 2009, [4] Ian Mills, the President of the CIPM Consultative Committee – Units (CCU) catalogued the uncertainties of the fundamental constants of physics according to the current definitions and their values under the proposed new definition. He urged the CIPM to accept the proposed changes in the definition of the kilogram, ampere, kelvin, and mole so that they are referenced to the values of the fundamental constants, namely the Planck constant (h), the electron charge (e), the Boltzmann constant (k), and the Avogadro constant (NA). [5] This approach was approved in 2018, only after measurements of these constants were achieved with sufficient accuracy.

See also

Related Research Articles

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The General Conference on Weights and Measures is the supreme authority of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), the intergovernmental organization established in 1875 under the terms of the Metre Convention through which member states act together on matters related to measurement science and measurement standards. The CGPM is made up of delegates of the governments of the member states and observers from the Associates of the CGPM. Under its authority, the International Committee for Weights and Measures executes an exclusive direction and supervision of the BIPM.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kilogram</span> Metric unit of mass

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metre Convention</span> 1875 international treaty

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The International System of Units, known by the international abbreviation SI in all languages and sometimes pleonastically as the SI system, is the modern form of the metric system and based on the metre as the unit of length and either the kilogram as the unit of mass or the kilogram-force as the unit of force.</ref> and the world's most widely used system of measurement. Established and maintained by the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM), it is the only system of measurement with an official status in nearly every country in the world, employed in science, technology, industry, and everyday commerce.

The mole, symbol mol, is the unit of amount of substance in the International System of Units (SI). The quantity amount of substance is a measure of how many elementary entities of a given substance are in an object or sample. The mole is defined as containing exactly 6.02214076×1023 elementary entities. Depending on what the substance is, an elementary entity may be an atom, a molecule, an ion, an ion pair, or a subatomic particle such as an electron. For example, 10 moles of water (a chemical compound) and 10 moles of mercury (a chemical element), contain equal amounts of substance and the mercury contains exactly one atom for each molecule of the water, despite the two having different volumes and different masses.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Avogadro constant</span> Fundamental physical constant representing the molar number of entities

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metric system</span> Metre-based systems of measurement

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A base unit is a unit adopted for measurement of a base quantity. A base quantity is one of a conventionally chosen subset of physical quantities, where no quantity in the subset can be expressed in terms of the others. The SI base units, or Systeme International d'unites, consists of the metre, kilogram, second, ampere, Kelvin, mole and candela.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Metrology</span> Science of measurement and its application

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The molar mass constant, usually denoted by Mu, is a physical constant defined as one twelfth of the molar mass of carbon-12: Mu = M(12C)/12. The molar mass of any element or compound is its relative atomic mass multiplied by the molar mass constant.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kelvin</span> SI unit of temperature

The kelvin, symbol K, is the primary unit of temperature in the International System of Units (SI), used alongside its prefixed forms and the degree Celsius. It is named after the Belfast-born and University of Glasgow based engineer and physicist William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824–1907). The Kelvin scale is an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale, meaning it uses absolute zero as its null (zero) point.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">2019 redefinition of the SI base units</span> Definition of the units kg, A, K and mol

In 2019, four of the seven SI base units specified in the International System of Quantities were redefined in terms of natural physical constants, rather than human artifacts such as the standard kilogram. Effective 20 May 2019, the 144th anniversary of the Metre Convention, the kilogram, ampere, kelvin, and mole are now defined by setting exact numerical values, when expressed in SI units, for the Planck constant, the elementary electric charge, the Boltzmann constant, and the Avogadro constant, respectively. The second, metre, and candela had previously been redefined using physical constants. The four new definitions aimed to improve the SI without changing the value of any units, ensuring continuity with existing measurements. In November 2018, the 26th General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) unanimously approved these changes, which the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) had proposed earlier that year after determining that previously agreed conditions for the change had been met. These conditions were satisfied by a series of experiments that measured the constants to high accuracy relative to the old SI definitions, and were the culmination of decades of research.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of the metric system</span> History of the metric system measurement standards

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Outline of the metric system</span> Overview of and topical guide to the metric system

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alternative approaches to redefining the kilogram</span>

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "The International System of Units (SI), 9th Edition" (PDF). Bureau International des Poids et Mesures. 2019.
  2. 94th Meeting of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (2005). Recommendation 1: Preparative steps towards new definitions of the kilogram, the ampere, the kelvin and the mole in terms of fundamental constants Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. 23rd General Conference on Weights and Measures (2007). Resolution 12: On the possible redefinition of certain base units of the International System of Units (SI).
  4. Ian Mills, President of the CCU (October 2009). "Thoughts about the timing of the change from the Current SI to the New SI" (PDF). CIPM. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
  5. Ian Mills (29 September 2010). "Draft Chapter 2 for SI Brochure, following redefinitions of the base units" (PDF). CCU. Retrieved 1 January 2011.