What is the international system of units?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The international system of units is a standard form of measurement that is used by people around the world. In this way, people within the same field are able to speak a common language when it comes to measurements. This prevents confusion and differences amongst nations, which was the case after the collapse of the Roman Empire. During the 18th century, measurements were different in different countries. For example, a length of a foot was the length of a man's foot. So "a French Pied was 12.8 English inches while a Spanish Pie was 10.96 English inches".  

The international system of units is the modern-day metric system and is made of seven basic units, which are: 

Length = meter

Mass = kilogram

Time = second

Electric current = ampere 

Temperature = Kelvin 

Amount of a substance = mole

Luminosity = candela 

These base units are easily converted into larger or smaller quantities. This is an advantage of the international system of units as the conversions are based on multiples of ten. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial