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# What is the difference between fundamental and derived quantities?

**The metric system (SI) defines seven fundamental quantities that cannot be further broken down, from which all other derived quantities come.** The meter is the fundamental quantity for length. Area uses the derived quantity of square meters and volume uses cubic meters.

When measuring very small or very large units, use of the fundamental unit often becomes cumbersome. Measuring the width of a human hair using the meter requires a decimal point and several zeros. The SI system handles this prefixes that describe multiplying the base unit by a power of ten. Measuring the hair in nanometers (0.000000001 meter) is more appropriate.

Units such as the day, hour and astronomical unit, are not officially a part of the metric system, but they are often used in science. These units are also possible to derive from the SI fundamental quantities. For example, a day is 86,400 seconds, according to HowStuffWorks.

Some derived units have special names. For example, the metric system also uses the liter to measure volume. One liter is 1000 cubic centimeters. The Newton, for measuring force, is the product of acceleration (meters per second squared) and mass (kilogram) or kilogram meter per second squared. Many of the special names given to the derived units honor the work of scientists in the area the unit represents.

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Q:
## What is the purpose of using prefixes in the metric system?

A: The prefixes used within the metric system serve to designate a multiple or subdivision of a unit. The most common prefixes include: mega-, kilo-, centi-, ... Full Answer >Filed Under: -
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## What is the difference between a liter and a quart?

A: A liter is a metric system measurement for volume. One kilogram of water is equal to one liter. One liter is equivalent to 1.0567 liquid US quarts, making ... Full Answer >Filed Under: -
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## How does the metric system differ from SI?

A: The metric system is different from SI or International System of Units in that it has only three base units, whereas the SI has seven base units. Also, th... Full Answer >Filed Under: -
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## What are the two systems of measurement?

A: The two major systems of measurement in use in the world are the U.S. Customary System of measurement and the International System of Units, commonly known... Full Answer >Filed Under: