# What is the metric system?

In these lessons, we'll compare metric and imperial.

First, what is the metric system?

It's a system of measurement based on a number of fundamental or derived units.

These include kilograms, meters, square and cubic meters, liters and kilometers per hour.

## What is the metric system used for?

The metric system's used to measure, for example, mass, distance, area, volume/capacity and speed.

## Converting between metric system units

### Mass

 Conversion factor Example Metric tons to kilograms(metric tons to kg) x 1000 1 metric ton= 1 x 1000= 1000kg Kilograms to metric tons(kg to metric tons) ÷ 1000 1000kg= 1000 ÷ 1000= 1 metric ton Kilograms to grams(kg to g) x 1000 1kg = 1 x 1000 = 1000g Grams to kilograms(g to kg) ÷ 1000 1000g = 1000 ÷ 1000 = 1kg

(kilo denotes one thousand)

### Distance (length/height/width)

 Conversion factor Example Kilometers to meters(km to m) x 1000 1km = 1 x 1000 = 1000m Meters to kilometers(m to km) ÷ 1000 1000m = 1000 ÷ 1000 = 1km Meters to centimeters(m to cm) x 100 1m = 1 x 100 = 100cm Centimeters to meters(cm to m) ÷ 100 100cm = 100 ÷ 100 = 1m Centimeters to millimeters (cm to mm) x 10 100cm = 100 x 10 = 1000mm Millimeters to centimeters (mm to cm) ÷ 10 1000mm = 1000 ÷ 10 = 100cm

(centi and milli denote one hundredth and one thousandth)

### Area

 Conversionfactor Example Hectaresto square meters(ha to m²) x 10000 1ha = 1 x 10000 = 10000m² Square metersto hectares(m² to ha) ÷ 10000 10000m²= 10000 ÷ 10000= 1ha Square metersto square centimeters(m² to cm²) x 10000 1m² = 1 x 10000 = 10000cm² Square centimetersto square meters(cm² to m²) ÷ 10000 10000cm²= 10000 ÷ 10000= 1m²

(note 1m² = 1m x 1m = 100cm x 100cm = 10000cm²)

### Volume / capacity

Capacity is the amount of space available to hold something. Volume is the amount of space actually taken up by that something. For example, milk of volume one liter takes up half the capacity of a two liter jug.

 Conversionfactor Example Cubic metersto cubic centimeters(m³ to cm³) x 1000000 1m³= 1 x 1000000= 1000000cm³ Cubic centimetersto cubic meters(cm³ to m³) ÷ 1000000 1000000cm³= 1000000 ÷ 1000000= 1m³ Cubic centimetersto milliliters(cm³ to ml) = 1cm³ = 1ml Millilitersto cubic centimeters(ml to cm³) = 1ml = 1cm³ Liters to milliliters(l to ml) x 1000 1l = 1 x 1000 = 1000ml Milliliters to liters(ml to l) ÷ 1000 1000ml = 1000 ÷ 1000 = 1l Cubic meters to liters(m³ to l) x 1000 1m³ = 1 x 1000 = 1000l Liters to cubic meters(l to m³) ÷ 1000 1000l = 1000 ÷ 1000 = 1m³

### Speed

 Conversionfactor Example Kilometers per hourto meters per second(km/hr to m/s) ÷ 3.6 3.6km/hr = 3.6 ÷ 3.6 = 1m/s Meters per secondto kilometers per hour(m/s to km/hr) x 3.6 1m/s = 1 x 3.6 = 3.6km/hr ## Feeling happy about metric system units?

Okay, now you've considered what is the metric system and metric system units, let's move onto imperial units of measure.

For more on metric vs imperial click:

Imperial units

Metric to imperial conversion