Definition of the Metric System in Chemistry

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The Metric System is commonly used in the world of chemistry in a very particular way. Get a definition of the Metric System in chemistry with help from an expert in the field of chemistry in this free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm professor Don Mueller although I'm perhaps better known as Doctor Bones. Today, I'm going to talk about uses of the metric system in chemistry. The metric system is a decimal base system of weights and measures based on powers of ten. First proposed by the British first adopted by the French. It's a set of base units. We actually call this system international now. These base units are the meter, the kilogram, second, the ampere, the measure of current, electrical current, Kelvin, temperature, mole, molecular quantity and candela, like intensity. From these base units you derive a variety of what are called derived units. Frequency, one over seconds, force measured in Newtons, energy measured in joules, power measured in watts. The watt is a joule per second. Moving over here we've got pressure measured in Pascals, pressure is a force, Newton per meter squared. We have voltage, a joule per coulomb, measurement of resistance, or ohms, would be volts divided by amps. This is based on Ohm's Law. And a variety of equations that are used in the physics world. Force equals mass times acceleration, weight is mass times gravity and perhaps the most famous equation of all time, energy equals mass times the speed of light squared, Einstein's equation. Let's convert some of these things to English. By the way be careful when going from English to metric units. Inchworms might become centipedes. And don't fear the metric system although a friend of mine really fears a lot of things. Here we've got my friend Drew. I don't know why he fears the metric system but come on, you're afraid of too many things. All right. So let's take a look at some of these conversion factors. The kilogram, 2.2 pounds. The pound about 454 grams. A gallon, 3.8 liters. One mile if you traveled a mile in those shoes you've gone 1.6 kilometers. One meter about 3.3 feet. So a little more than a yard. Temperature, we have temperature measurements that aren't exactly what we'd call metric. You've seen your thermometer, indoor and outdoor Celsius and Fahrenheit. Well Celsius is connected to metric through Kelvin. Celsius equals Celsius plus 273 degrees Kelvin so there's the conversion factor. And if you want to go to Fahrenheit, you can see the connection with the old standby nine fifths Celsius plus 32 degrees Fahrenheit. So some uses for metric. We've seen a variety in the kitchen. We've got measuring cups so metric and English one side or the other. Thermometers as we've seen before also can be used in the kitchen and finally that good old cereal box. Look at the side of your cereal box. We don't talk about English anymore, we talk about grams of fat and grams of carbohydrate and grams of protein. So the metric system. It's all around you and it's certainly in use in chemistry. So finally I'd like to introduce my friend Skelly Skeleton and he can tell you where you can find out more about Doctor Bones. Go ahead, Skelly. Hey Doctor Bones, how are you. You can find out more about us at and See you later.


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