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Units,

Conversions and

Symbols

Contents

45.1

Introduction

45.1.1 Units

45.1.2 Conversion factors

45.1.3 Properties of materials

45.1.4 Mathematical relations and

trigonometrical functions

45/3

45/3

45/3

45/3

45.2

45.2.1 Base units

45.2.2 Supplementary units

45.2.3 Notes

45.2.4 Derived units

45.2.5 Decimal multiples and submultiples

45.2.6 Common variations and auxiliary units

45/3

45/3

45/3

45/3

45/4

45/4

45/4

45.3

Conversion factors

45.3.1 Systeme International and imperial units

45.3.2 Systeme International and US units

45/5

45/5

45/6

45.4

Symbols

45.4.1 Greek alphabet

45/6

45/6

45/3

45.1 Introduction

45.1.1 Units

The Systeme International (SI) system of units used throughout

this book is the standard system used throughout Europe and

many other countries in the world. It was first accepted at an

international conference in 1960 and, in 1971, a directive by the

European Economic Community required the existing imperial

and metric CGS systems to be replaced by SI.

The definitions of, and the symbols for, SI units are given in

sections 2.1.1 to 2.1.5.

Although, in time, it can be expected that there will be strict

adherence to the SI units given in sections 2.1.1 to 2.1.5, there

are at present some cases in which, for convenience or because

of previously established practice, the units are varied or auxiliary units are introduced. The most common variations are given

in section 2.1.6 and it should be noted that they do not represent

a serious departure from the SI system.

45.1.2 Conversion factors

Section 2.2.1 and, in particular, Table 2.4 gives conversion

factors between most common imperial and SI units, together

with the reciprocals. Section 2.2.2 draws attention to some

differences between imperial and US units.

45.1.3 Properties of materials

For information on the properties of materials, the reader is

referred to the appropriate earlier chapter, as follows:

Aluminium

Bituminous materials

Concrete

Masonry

Paint

Plastics

Reinforcement

Rock

Rubber

Soil

Timber

Chapter 14

Chapters 23 and 24

Chapters 4, 12 and 37

Chapter 15

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Chapter 12

Chapter 10

Chapter 4

Chapter 9

Chapter 16

functions

Mathematical relations commonly employed in civil engineering

work, including those for statistical applications, are given in

Chapter 1.

The reader is referred to any of the standard works which

evaluate mathematical relations and provide tables of trigonometrical functions for more detailed information.

The SI is a metric system giving a fully coherent set of units for

science, technology and engineering, involving no conversion

factors. The starting point is the selection and definition of a

minimum set of independent 'base' units. From these, 'derived'

units are obtained by forming products or quotients in various

combinations, again without numerical factors. For convenience, certain combinations are given shortened names. A

single SI unit of energy (joule = kilogram metre-squared per

second-squared) is, for example, applied to energy of any kind,

whether it be kinetic, potential, electrical, thermal, chemical...

thus unifying usage throughout science and technology.

units of angle. Combinations of these are derived for all other

units.

45.2.1 Base units

Definitions of the seven base units have been laid down in the

following terms. The quantity symbol is given in italic, the unit

symbol (with its standard abbreviation) in roman type. As

measurements become more precise, changes are occasionally

made in the definitions.

(1) Length: /, metre (m) The metre was defined in 1983 as the

length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum during a

time interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second.

(2) Mass: m, kilogram (kg). The mass of the international

prototype (a block of platinum preserved at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, Sevres).

(3) Time: t, second (s) The duration of 9 192 631 770 periods

of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the

two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133

atom.

(4) Electric current: i, ampere (A) The current which, maintained in two straight parallel conductors of infinite length,

of negligible circular cross-section and 1 m apart in vacuum,

produces a force equal to 2 x 10~ 7 N/m length.

(5) Thermodynamic temperature: T, kelvin (K) The fraction

1/273.16 of the thermodynamic (absolute) temperature of

the triple point of water.

(6) Luminous intensity: /, candela (cd) The luminous intensity

in the perpendicular direction of a surface of 1/600 000 m2 of

a black body at the temperature of freezing platinum under

a pressure of 101 325 N/m2.

(7) Amount of substance: Q, mole (mol) The amount of

substance of a system which contains as many elementary

entities as there are atoms in 0.012kg of carbon-12. The

elementary entity must be specified and may be an atom, a

molecule, an ion, an electron . . . or a specified group of such

entities.

Plane angle: : a, ft, . . . radian (rad) The plane angle between

two radii of a circle which cuts on the circumference of the circle

an arc of length equal to the radius.

Solid angle: Q, steradian (sr) The solid angle which, having its

vertex at the centre of a sphere, cuts off an area of the surface of

the sphere equal to a square having sides equal to the radius.

45.2.3 Notes

Temperature At O K, bodies possess no thermal energy. Specified points (273.16 and 373.16 K) define the Celsius (centigrade)

scale (O and 10O0C). In terms of intervals, I 0 C= 1 K. In terms of

levels, a scale Celsius temperature 9 corresponds to

(9 + 273.16) K.

Force The SI unit is the newton (N). A force of 1 N endows a

mass of 1 kg with an acceleration of 1 m/s2.

Weight The weight of a mass depends on gravitational effect.

The standard weight of a mass of 1 kg at the surface of the Earth

is 9.807 N.

All physical quantities have units derived from the base and

supplementary SI units, and some of them have been given

names for convenience in use. Base, supplementary and some of

the derived units are listed in Table 45.1.

units

Quantity

Base

length

mass

time

electric current

thermodynamic

temperature

luminous intensity

amount of

substance

Supplementary

plane angle

solid angle

Derived

force

pressure, stress

energy

power

electric charge,

flux

magnetic

flux

electric potential

magnetic

flux

density

resistance

inductance

capacitance

conductance

frequency

luminous

flux

illuminance

radiation activity

absorbed dose

mass density

dynamic viscosity

concentration

linear velocity

linear acceleration

angular velocity

angular

acceleration

torque

current density

resistivity

conductivity

thermal capacity

specific heat

capacity

thermal

conductivity

luminance

Unit name

Derivation

Unit

symbol

Metre

Kilogram

Second

Ampere

Kelvin

m

kg

s

A

K

Candela

Mole

cd

mol

Radian

Steradian

rad

sr

Newton

Pascal

Joule

Watt

Coulomb

kgm/s 2

N/m 2

N m, W s

J/s

As

N

Pa

J

W

C

Weber

Volt

Tesla

Vs

J/C

Wb/m2

Wb

V

T

Ohm

V/A

Henry

Wb/A, Vs/A

Farad

C/V, A s/V

Siemens

A/V

Hertz

s '

Lumen

cd sr

Lux

lm/m2

Becquerel

s '

Gray

J/kg

Kilogram per

cubic metre

Pascal-second

Mole per cubic

metre

Metre per second

Metre per secondsquared

Radian per second

Radian per secondsquared

Newton metre

Ampere per square

metre

Ohm metre

Siemens per metre

Joule per kelvin

Joule per kilogram

kelvin

Watt per metre

kelvin

Candela per square

metre

Decimal multiples and submultiples of SI units are indicated by

the prefix letters given in Table 45.2. Thus, MN is meganewton

and us is microsecond. Prefixes for the kilogram are expressed in

terms of the gram, i.e. 1000kg= 1 Mg, not 1 kkg. There is a

preference to express stress as 1 N/mm2 instead of 1 MN/mm2.

Factor by which

unit is multiplied

Name

Prefix

Symbol

1018

1015

1012

109

106

103

102

10'

10 '

10 2

10 3

10 6

10 9

10 l2

10 15

10 18

exa

peta

tera

giga

mega

kilo

hecto

deca

deci

centi

milli

micro

nano

pico

femto

atto

E

P

T

G

M

k

h

da

d

c

m

u,

n

p

f

a

The main variations that are commonly applied to civil engineering are:

Stress expressed as N/mm instead of pascals (Pa) (1 N/mm

= 1 MN/m= IMPa)

Pressure, e.g. underwater, expressed as bar instead of pascals

(1 bar= 10OkPa, 1 mbar = 0.1 kPa)

Temperature expressed as 0C (Celsius or centigrade) instead

of K (kelvin) (O0C = 273.16K, 10O0C = 373.16 K)

Mass expressed as tonne instead of kilograms (kg)

( I t =1000 kg)

Q

H

F

S

Hz

Im

Ix

Bq

Gy

listed in Table 45.3 and are here termed 'auxiliary' units.

kg/m3

Pa s

Symbol

SI

Angle

degree

minute

second

()

(')

(")

TC/180

Area

acre

hectare

barn

a

ha

barn

Energy

erg

calorie

electron-volt

gauss-oersted

erg

cal

eV

GaOe

0.1

4.186

0.160

7.96

uJ

J

aJ

uJ/m3

W/(m K)

Force

dyne

dyn

10

uN

cd/m2

Length

Angstrom

mol/m3

m/s

m/s2

rad/s

rad/s

Nm

A/m 2

Qm

S/m

J/K

J/(kg K)

Quantity

100

0.01

10 28

0.1

rad

m2

km2

m2

um

Quantity

Mass

tonne

Symbol

Imperial

SI

1000

Nucleonics, Radiation

becquerel

Bq

gray

Gy

curie

Ci

rad

rd

roentgen

R

kg

1.0

1.0

3.7 x 10'

0.01

2.6x10

Pressure

bar

torr

b

Torr

Time

minute

hour

day

min

h

d

Volume

litre

lor L

100

133.3

s"1

J/kg

Bq

Gy

C/kg

kPa

Pa

60

3600

86400

s

s

s

dm3

1.0

45.3.1 Systeme International and imperial units

Although SI is now the standard system in use throughout

Europe and much of the rest of the world, imperial units are

used occasionally in some specialized areas and many publications prior to about 1980 were in imperial units.

Conversion factors between SI and imperial units are given in

Table 45.4. Column 1 gives the imperial units, column 2 the SI

equivalent and column 3 the reciprocal.

Imperial

SI

Reciprocal

Length (m)

in

ft

yd

fathom

mile

nautical mile

25.40 mm

0.3048m

0.9144m

1.829m

1.6093km

1.852km

0.0394

3.2800

1.0940

0.5470

0.6210

0.5400

Area (m2)

lin 2

lft2

lyd 2

!acre

lmile 2

645.2mm

0.0929m2

0.8361m2

4047m2

2.590km2

1.550OxIO10.7600

1.2000

0.247OxIQ- 3

0.3860

Volume (m3)

1 in3

1 ft3

lyd 3

I U K gal

0.0283 m3

0.7646m3

4.546dm3

0.0610 x 10~ 3

35.300

1.310

0.220

lin 4

416 x l O 3 mm4

Velocity (m/s, rad/s)

Acceleration (m/s2, rad/s2)

Ift/s

0.3048 m/s

2.40 x 10~6

3.2800

Imile/h

!knot

Ideg/s

Irev/s

lft/s 2

Mass (kg)

1 oz

1 Ib

Icwt

1 UK ton

SI

Reciprocal

0.4470 m/s

0.5144 m/s

17.45mrad/s

6.283 rad/s

0.3048 m/s2

2.2370

1.9440

0.0573

0.1590

3.2810

28.35 g

0.454 kg

50.80kg

1016 kg

0.0353

2.2000

0.0197

0.9840 x 10~ 3

lftlbf

1.356 J

IBtu

1055 J

1 therm

105.5 kJ

IkWh

3.60 MJ

IBtu/h

0.293 W

Iftlbf/s

1.356 W

lhp

745.9 W

0.737

0.948 x l O 3

9.478 x 10"3

0.278

3.413

0.737

1.34IxIO3

lBtu/(ft 2 h)

3.155 W/m2

1 Btu/(ft3 h)

10.35 W/m3

0

1 Btu/(ft h F)

1.731 W/(m K)

Iftlbf/lb

2.989 J/kg

1 Btu/lb

2326 J/kg

IBtu/ft 3

37.26 KJ/m3

1 ft lbf/(lb 0F)

5.380 J/(kg K)

1 Btu/(lb 0F)

4.187 kJ/(kg K)

30

1 Btu/(ft F)

67.07 kJ/m3 K

0.3170

0.9660

0.5780

0.3340

0.430OxIO3

0.0268

0.1860

0.2390

0.0149

Density (kg/m3)

lib/in 3

lib/ft 3

1 ton/yd3

27.68 Mg/m3

16.02 kg/m3

1329 kg/m3

0.0361

0.0624

0.7520 x IQ- 3

llb/h

1 ton/h

1 Ib/s

Ift 3 /h

Ift 3 /s

Igal/h

Igal/min

Igal/s

0.1260g/s

0.2822 kg/s

0.4536 kg/s

7.866 cm3/s

0.0283 m3/s

1.263cm3/s

75.77 cm3/s

4.546 dm3/s

7.9360

3.5440

2.2046

0.1270

35.3360

0.7920

0.0312

0.2200

ldyn

10.OuN

1 lbf

4.445 N

ltonf

9.964 kN

1 lbf/ft 2

47.88 Pa

llbf/in 2

6.895 kPa

2

1 tonf/ft

107.2 kPa

1 tonf/in 2

15.44 MPa

linHg

3.386 kPa

1 inH2O

149.1 Pa

0.1000

0.2250

0.1004

0.0209

0.1450

9.3280 x 10~ 3

0.0648

0.2950

6.707Ox 10~ 3

Torque (N m)

1 lbf in

1 lbf ft

ltonf ft

8.8490

0.7370

0.3020

0.113Nm

1.356Nm

3.307 kNm

Momentum (kg m/s, kg m2/s)

lib in2

0.293 gm2

3.4130

Imperial

SI

l i b ft2

1 ton ft2

llbft/s

1 Ib ft 2 /s

0.0421 kg m2

94.30 kg m2

0.138kgm/s

0.042 kg m2/s

Reciprocal

23.7530

0.0106

7.2460

23.8100

1 poise

llbfs/ft 2

1 lbf h/ft 2

1 stokes

Iin 2 /s

Ift 2 /s

9.807 Pa s

47.88 Pa s

172.4 kPa s

I.0cm2/s

6.452 cm2/s

929.0 cm2/s

0.1020

0.0209

5.8000 x 10~ 3

1.0000

0.1550

1.076OxIO3

llm/ft 2

led/ft 2

1 cd/in2

10.76 lm/m2

10.76 cd/m2

1550 cd/m2

0.0929

0.0929

0.645 x IQ- 3

United States units differ from imperial units in respect of liquid

measurement and mass.

1 US gal.

1 US long ton

I U S short ton

(1 imperial ton

= 3.788 dm3 (reciprocal 0.264)

= 3.7881

=1.02Ot (SI)

= 0.9091 (SI)

= 1.0161 (SI)

45.4 Symbols

45.4.1 The Greek alphabet

Although very little use is made of Greek letters for symbols in

SI, the Greek alphabet is, of course, widely used in mathemati-

the Greek alphabet in the form used throughout the text of this

book.

Capital

Lower case

Name

English

transliteration

A

B

F

A

E

Z

H

9

/

K

A

M

TV

E

O

n

P

E

T

Y

<P

X

V

Q

a

P

y

6

E

C

r\

6

/

K

A

n

v

o

n

p

a

i

D

<f>

x

if/

oj

alpha

beta

gamma

delta

epsilon

zeta

eta

theta

iota

kappa

lambda

mu

nu

xi

omicron

pi

rho

sigma

tau

upsilon

phi

chi

psi

omega

a

b

g

d

e

z

e

th

i

k

1

m

n

x

o

p

r

s

t

u

ph

kh

ps

6

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