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Base Unit for Mass

December 24, 2012

The units chosen for measuring any physical quantity should meet the following essential requirements:

It should be of suitable size
It should be accurately defined
It should be easily accessible
It should be easily reproducible i.e. replicas of the unit should be available easily
It should not change with time
It should not change with the changing physical conditions like temperature, pressure etc.

The first essential thing about the choice of a standard unit for a physical quantity is its international acceptance. If everyone were to choose his / her own unit for a particular quantity then it becomes a mess to communicate freely among each other. Thus the unit of mass which is universally accepted is called the base unit of mass and it is nothing but the kilogram and it is abbreviated as kg. In general the kilogram is the unit of mass which is an international prototype of the mass and the Kilogram is recognized by CGPM and it is also bring in the custody of Bureau International des Poids.
Defining Basic Unit of Mass (kg)

The kilogram is defined as the mass of the international prototype of the kilogram which is nothing but a standard block of Platinum Iridium alloy preserved in the International Bureau of Weight and Measures. Fig.1 shows the conversion of kg to gram.

There are several systems of the units such as:

The f.p.s. system: It is the British engineering system of units which uses pound as the unit of mass.
The c.g.s. system: It is the Gaussian system which uses gram as the unit of mass.
The m.k.s. system: It is the most fundamental system of units which is used widely in the whole world and it uses kilogram as the unit of mass.

The unit kilogram is used preferably but in some cases it is not good to use this such as the case of the heavy masses where the mass is measured in tonnes or metric ton and quintal and slug and lb. these all are connected with kilogram as:

1 tonne or 1 metric ton = 1000 kg
1 quintal = 100 kg
1 slug = 14.57 kg
1 lb = 0.4536 kg

Conclusion for the Basic Unit of Mass

As per the discussion on base unit of mass, we conclude the importance and need of such units for convenience, standards and methodical approach. We have also studied the different systems of units used.


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