Standard Unit – How are you friends of Sinaumed’s? Hope you are always in good
health. Our material this time will explain standard and non-standard units in physics.
As understood, the unit is the quantity of comparison used in measurement. In other
words, a unit is something that is used to compare the size of a quantity.
The units known today are divided into two types, namely standard units and non-standard units.
So, what do each type of unit look like and what are the differences between the two?
Standard units are units that have been determined internationally, while non-standard units are units that
are not defined as scientific units of measurement.
Quoted from a book entitled IPA Physics 1 SMP and MTs for Class VII written by Mikrajuddin Abdullah
(2004: 11), standard units are units that have been defined internationally as units of measurement.
Standard quantities and units apply throughout the world to facilitate scientific communication
between nations and the values are always the same.
The determination of standard units always changes over time according to human ability to make
measurements accurately and to use technology that requires accurate measurements. Today, a
measurement accuracy of 1/10,000,000 millimeters is considered commonplace.
What is meant by standard unit? The standard unit is a unit that has been determined and
recognized for its use internationally. This unit is also called the International System
of Units or often abbreviated as SI.
The standard unit is also called the standard unit, which is obtained from the results of measurements with
standard measurement tools. It is this unit in the scientific world that is agreed upon by
everyone, especially scientists, to state measurement results.
Who sets the units? Standard units are determined by a special community of world scientists
called The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (French: Bureau International des Poids et Measures)
which was founded on May 20, 1875 in Sevres, France.
There are three conditions that must be met in International Units to become a standard unit.
These conditions include:
- The first requirement of a standard unit is fixed or does not change under any influence.
The measurement results will always remain the same, even if they are carried out by different
people and in different places. So, the standard unit is the unit used to make measurements
with the same results for everyone.
- The second requirement of a standard unit is that it is easily imitated by everyone who will use it.
The goal is that everyone can easily create, acquire and use it as a unit of the same
- The third condition of standard units is widely applicable. It means. these
units apply internationally and are useful as measurement standards, for example the units used in
Indonesia are also used by all countries in the world.
In addition to these three conditions, an additional requirement for standard units is that they are easy
to change or convert into other units. Unit conversion serves to simplify measurement
1. Types of Standard Units
In its development, standard units are divided into two types, namely the MKS and CGS systems.
- The MKS system (meters, kilograms and seconds) is a way of expressing quantities using the units of
meters, kilograms and seconds. For example, the unit of force in the MKS system is kg.m/s
- The CGS system (centimeters, grams and seconds), is a way of expressing quantities using units of
centimeters, grams and seconds. For example, the unit of density in the CGS system is g/cm
2. Examples of Standard Units
Here are some examples of standard units of measurement.
- The standard units of length are centimeters (cm), meters (m), and kilometers (km).
- The standard units of mass are grams (g) and kilograms (kg).
- Standard units for temperature: Celsius, Kelvin, Reaumur, and Fahrenheit.
- The standard units for electric current strength are milliamperes (mA) and amperes (A).
- The standard unit for luminous intensity: candela (cd).
- The standard unit for the amount of substance: moles.
- The standard units for area are: square meters (m 2 ), square centimeters (cm
2 ), and square kilometers (km 2 ).
- The standard units for volume are cubic meters (m 3 ) and cubic centimeters (cm
What is meant by non-standard units? Non-standard units are units that are not defined as
scientific units of measurement. This unit is not generally accepted or recognized
internationally. Non-standard units are units that if used by different people can produce
different measurements, for example measuring the length of a book using the span of the hand.
When you and your friends measure the length of the book using a ruler and a span of each hand, you will find
that the length of the book is 20 cm and 1.5 spans, while your friend will find the length of the book is 20 cm
and 1.25 spans.
It can be seen that the span of the hand gives different results if the measurements are taken by different
people. That is, non-standard units have properties that are not fixed. This is
why the span is called a non-standard unit.
1. Examples of Non-standard Units
Here are some examples of non-standard units that are often used in measurement.
- Non-standard units of length: spans, fathoms, and cubits.
- Non-standard units of mass measurement: mayam and entik.
- Non-standard units of volume: bottles, glasses, and buckets.
The following is the definition of some non-standard units.
- The span is the distance between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index finger when extended.
- Depa is the distance between the tip of the middle finger of the left hand and the tip of the middle finger
of the right when both arms are extended.
- The cubit is the distance between the elbow and the tip of the middle finger when
Tumbak is a unit of land area used in West Java. 1 tumbak is
equivalent to 14 m 2 .
2. Weaknesses of Unstandardized Units
Non-standard units cannot be used in scientific measurements because they have several drawbacks.
These weaknesses include:
- Non-standard units have variable properties and measurement results vary.
- Non-standard units are difficult to imitate, for example it is difficult to find the exact span of a person.
- Its use is limited or cannot be used in general.
- Cannot be changed or converted to other units.
Examples of Standard Units and Measuring Instruments
Examples of standard units and measuring instruments in Physics are as follows.
1. Unit of Length
The SI unit of length is the meter. Originally, a meter was defined as a length equal to one
ten millionth (1/10,000,000) the distance from the equator to the north pole of the earth along the meridian
passing through Paris, France. Next, physicists created an alloy bar of platinum and iridium
that was defined as a standard meter.
This standard meter is kept at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures which is located at Sevres,
near Paris. After the speed of light in a vacuum could be accurately measured, one meter was
determined to be equal to the distance traveled by light in a vacuum, namely 1/229,792,458 of a second at
the 17th General Conference on Weights and Measurements in 1983. commonly used is a ruler or ruler, caliper,
screw micrometer, and tape measure.
2. Unit of Mass
The unit mass has not changed since the 19th century. The standard mass of 1 kg is a metal
cylinder made of an alloy of platinum and iridium. This standard mass is kept at the
International Bureau of Weights and Measures located at Sevres, near Paris. The mass
measurement tools commonly used are scales and balances.
3. Unit of Time
The standard unit for time is seconds. From the second unit, other units can be set, such as
minutes, hours, and days. 1 minute = 60 seconds, 1 hour = 60 minutes, and 1 day = 24 hours.
Therefore, 1 day can be concluded equal to 86,400 seconds. One second is determined
based on atomic vibrations at the 13th General Conference on Weights and Measurements in 1967. One second is
determined based on the time required for a cesium-133 atom to vibrate, which is 9,192,631,770 times.
The tools used to measure time are stopwatches, watches, and wall clocks.
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