# 9/5/12

Essentials of the SI: Base & derived units

SI base units
The SI is founded on seven SI base units for seven base quantities assumed to be mutually independent, as given in Table 1.

Table 1. SI base units
Base quantity Name Symbol SI base unit meter kilogram second ampere kelvin mole candela m kg s A K mol cd

length mass time electric current thermodynamic temperature amount of substance luminous intensity

For detailed information on the SI base units, see Definitions of the SI base units and their Historical context.

SI derived units
Other quantities, called derived quantities, are defined in terms of the seven base quantities via a system of quantity equations. The SI derived units for these derived quantities are obtained from these equations and the seven SI base units. Examples of such SI derived units are given in Table 2, where it should be noted that the symbol 1 for quantities of dimension 1 such as mass fraction is generally omitted. Derived quantity Name Symbol

Table 2. Examples of SI derived units
physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/units.html 1/6

gov/cuu/Units/units. which may be represented by the number 1 m2 m3 m/s m/s2 m-1 kg/m3 m3/kg A/m2 A/m mol/m3 cd/m2 kg/kg = 1 amount-of-substance concentration mole per cubic meter For ease of understanding and convenience.9/5/12 Essentials of the SI: Base & derived units SI derived unit area volume speed. as shown in Table 3. velocity acceleration wave number mass density specific volume current density magnetic field strength luminance mass fraction square meter cubic meter meter per second meter per second squared reciprocal meter kilogram per cubic meter cubic meter per kilogram ampere per square meter ampere per meter candela per square meter kilogram per kilogram.nist. stress physics.html radian (a) hertz newton pascal rad N/m2 m·m-1 = 1 (b) m2·m-2 = 1 (b) s-1 m·kg·s-2 m-1·kg·s-2 2/6 steradian (a) sr (c) Hz N Pa . 22 SI derived units have been given special names and symbols. SI derived units with special names and symbols SI derived unit plane angle solid angle frequency force pressure. Expression in terms of Expression other SI in terms of Symbol units SI base units Derived quantity Name Table 3.

work. radiant flux electric charge. quantity of electricity watt J W N·m J/s m2·kg·s-2 m2·kg·s-3 coulomb C - s·A electric potential difference.nist. volt electromotive force capacitance farad electric resistance ohm V W/A m2·kg·s-3·A-1 F C/V V/A m-2·kg-1·s4·A2 m2·kg·s-3·A-2 m-2·kg-1·s3·A2 m2·kg·s-2·A-1 kg·s-2·A-1 m2·kg·s-2·A-2 K m2·m-2·cd = cd m2·m-4·cd = m-2·cd s-1 electric siemens conductance magnetic flux weber magnetic flux tesla density inductance henry Celsius degree temperature Celsius luminous flux lumen illuminance lux activity (of a becquerel radionuclide) absorbed dose.gov/cuu/Units/units. joule quantity of heat power. physics.html 3/6 . specific energy (imparted). kerma S Wb T H °C lm lx Bq A/V V·s Wb/m2 Wb/A cd·sr (c) lm/m2 - gray Gy J/kg m2·s-2 dose sievert equivalent (d) catalytic activity katal Sv kat J/kg m2·s-2 s-1·mol (a) The radian and steradian may be used advantageously in expressions for derived units to distinguish between quantities of a different nature but of the same dimension.9/5/12 Essentials of the SI: Base & derived units energy.

the Celsius temperature difference t and the thermodynamic temperature difference T between the melting point of gallium and the triple point of water may be written as t = 29. which in turn implies that the numerical value of a given temperature difference or temperature interval whose value is expressed in the unit degree Celsius (°C) is equal to the numerical value of the same difference or interval when its value is expressed in the unit kelvin (K). see relationships among SI units.15 K. The special names and symbols of the 22 SI derived units with special names and symbols given in Table 3 may themselves be included in the names and symbols of other SI derived units.15. temperature differences or temperature intervals may be expressed in either the degree Celsius or the kelvin using the same numerical value. and is defined by the quantity equation t= T. (c) In photometry. For example.html 4/6 . the ice point. For a graphical illustration of how the 22 derived units with special names and symbols given in Table 3 are related to the seven SI base units.7546 K. This temperature difference is called a Celsius temperature. it remains common practice to express a thermodynamic temperature. the symbols rad and sr are used where appropriate. Note on degree Celsius. personal dose equivalent.nist. physics. in terms of its difference from the reference temperature T0 = 273.9/5/12 Essentials of the SI: Base & derived units some examples are given in Table 4. Thus. and organ equivalent dose. but the derived unit "1" is generally omitted.7546 °C = T = 29. (d) Other quantities expressed in sieverts are ambient dose equivalent. as shown in Table 4.gov/cuu/Units/units. the unit name steradian and the unit symbol sr are usually retained in expressions for derived units. The numerical value of a Celsius temperature t expressed in degrees Celsius is given by t/°C = T/K . The derived unit in Table 3 with the special name degree Celsius and special symbol °C deserves comment.T0. symbol °C. symbol t. The unit of Celsius temperature is the degree Celsius. symbol T. (b) In practice. directional dose equivalent. It follows from the definition of t that the degree Celsius is equal in magnitude to the kelvin. Because of the way temperature scales used to be defined.273.

nist.gov/cuu/Units/units. molar heat capacity exposure (x and radiant intensity radiance rays) absorbed dose rate joule per kilogram watt per meter kelvin joule per cubic meter volt per meter coulomb per cubic meter coulomb per square meter farad per meter henry per meter joule per mole joule per mole kelvin coulomb per kilogram gray per second watt per steradian watt per square meter steradian catalytic (activity) concentration katal per cubic meter physics. entropy pascal second newton meter newton per meter radian per second watt per square meter joule per kelvin Pa·s N·m N/m rad/s W/m2 J/K J/(kg·K) J/kg W/(m·K) J/m3 V/m C/m3 C/m2 F/m H/m J/mol J/(mol·K) C/kg Gy/s W/sr W/(m2·sr) kat/m3 radian per second squared rad/s2 specific heat capacity.9/5/12 Essentials of the SI: Base & derived units Derived quantity Name Symbol Table 4. specific joule per kilogram kelvin entropy specific energy thermal conductivity energy density electric field strength electric charge density electric flux density permittivity permeability molar energy molar entropy.html 5/6 . Examples of SI derived units whose names and symbols include SI derived units with special names and symbols SI derived unit dynamic viscosity moment of force surface tension angular velocity angular acceleration heat flux density. irradiance heat capacity.

html 6/6 .nist.9/5/12 Essentials of the SI: Base & derived units Continue to SI prefixes physics.gov/cuu/Units/units.