Types of Units

Generally we can use any convenient unit to measure a physical quantity depending on how much magnitude we are measuring or in which system of units we want to measure it.

What kind of unit we should use?

The unit i) must be accepted internationally.

ii) Should be reproducible.

iii) Should be invariable.

iv) Should be easily available.

v) Should be consistent.

vi) Should be large, if the physical quantity to be measured is a big quantity.

Ex: To measure larger lengths we use units like Km, mt etc, to measure large magnitude of time we use units like hour , day ,week, month , year etc.

vii) Should be small if the physical quantity to be measured is small.

Ex: To measure small time we use units like millisecond, microsecond etc

To measure small lengths we use units like millimeter, centimeter etc.

Types of physical Quantities.:

We can broadly divide the physical quantities in to two types i)Fundamental Physical quantities ii)Derived physical quantities.

Fundamental physical quantities: A physical quantity which can exist independently is called Fundamental physical quantity.

Ex: Length, mass and time etc.

Derived physical quantities: A physical quantity which can not exist independently is called derived physical quantity. (Or) A physical quantity which is dependent or derived from any other physical quantity is called derived physical quantity.

Ex : Area, volume, density, speed, acceleration, force, energy etc.

Like the physical quantities we can divide the units in to two types. I)Fundamental units ii)derived units.

Fundamental units : The units of fundamental physical quantities are called fundamental units, (or) The units which are independent or can not derived from any other unit is called fundamental unit.

Ex:­ Every unit of length is fundamental unit (irrespective of the system to which it belongs);millimeter, centimeter, meter, kilometer etc.

­ Every unit of time is a fundamental unit. microsecond, millisecond, second, minute, hour, day etc are units of time.All these units are fundamental units.

Derived units: The units of derived physical quantities are called derived units. Units of area, volume, speed, density, energy etc are derived units.

Ex: ­ Every unit of speed is a derived unit ; m/sec, cm/sec, km/hr etc.

­ Every unit of density is a derived unit; kg/m³, gr/cm³ etc.

­ Every unit of acceleration is a derived unit; m/sec², cm/sec², km/hr² etc.

System of Units: To measure the fundamental physical quantities Length,Mass and Time we have three systems of units, they are i) C.G.S system(metric system) ii) F.P.S system (British system)   and iii) M.K.S system. In all these three systems only three physical quantities mass,length and time are considered to be fundamental quantities.

But, in system International (S.I) system there are seven fundamental physical quantities. Which are i)Mass ii)Length iii) Time iv)Electric current v) Thermo dynamic temperature vi) Luminous intensity vii) Quantity of substance.

In addition to the above seven fundamental quantities two more supplementary physical quantities were add.They are i) Plane angle ii)Solid angle.


3 thoughts on “Types of Units

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