Physics relies heavily upon standards of comparison of one state of matter or energy to another. To apply the principles of physics, divers must be able to employ a variety of units of measurement.
2-4.1 Measurement Systems. Two systems of measurement are widely used throughout the world. Although the English System is commonly used in the United States, the most common system of measurement in the world is the International System of Units. The International System of Units, or SI system, is a modernized metric system designated in 1960 by the General Conference on Weights and Measures. The SI system is decimal based with all its units related, so that it is not necessary to use calculations to change from one unit to another. The
SI system changes one of its units of measurement to another by moving the decimal point, rather than by the lengthy calculations necessary in the English System. Because measurements are often reported in units of the English system, it is important to be able to convert them to SI units. Measurements can be converted from one system to another by using the conversion factors in Tables 2-10 through 2-18.
2-4.2 Temperature Measurements. While the English System of weights and measures uses the Fahrenheit (°F) temperature scale, the Celsius (°C) scale is the one most commonly used in scientific work. Both scales are based upon the freezing and boiling points of water. The freezing point of water is 32°F or 0°C; the boiling point of water is 212°F or 100°C. Temperature conversion formulas and charts are found in Table 2-18.
Absolute temperature values are used when employing the ideal gas laws. The absolute temperature scales are based upon absolute zero. Absolute zero is the lowest temperature that could possibly be reached at which all molecular motion would cease (Figure 2-3).
2-4.2.1 Kelvin Scale. One example of an absolute temperature scale is the Kelvin scale, which has the same size degrees as the Celsius scale. The freezing point of water is 273°K and boiling point of water is 373°K. Use this formula to convert from Celsius to absolute temperature (Kelvin):
2-4.2.2 Rankine Scale. The Rankine scale is another absolute temperature scale, which has the same size degrees as the Fahrenheit scale. The freezing point of water is 492°R and the boiling point of water is 672°R. Use this formula to convert from Fahrenheit to absolute temperature (degrees Rankine, °R):
2-4.3 Gas Measurements. When measuring gas, actual cubic feet (acf) of a gas refers to the quantity of a gas at ambient conditions. The most common unit of measurement for gas in the United States is standard cubic feet (scf). Standard cubic feet relates the quantity measurement of a gas under pressure to a specific condition. The specific condition is a common basis for comparison. For air, the standard cubic foot is measured at 60°F and 14.696 psia.
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