Related Resources: Engineering Conversions Equivalent

### Decimal Multiples and Submultiples

Engineering Conversions and Equivalents

Decimal Multiples and Submultiples

SI prefixes used to form decimal multiples and submultiples of SI units

Multiple
Prefix
Symbol
1024
yotta
Y
1021
zetta
Z
1018
exa
E
1015
peta
P
1012
tera
T
109
giga
G
106
mega
M
103
kilo
k
102
hecto
h
101
deca
da

It is important to note that the kilogram is the only SI unit with a prefix as part of its name and symbol. Because multiple prefixes may not be used, in the case of the kilogram the prefix names of Table 5 are used with the unit name "gram" and the prefix symbols are used with the unit symbol "g." With this exception, any SI prefix may be used with any SI unit, including the degree Celsius and its symbol °C.

 Example 1: 10-6 kg = 1 mg (one milligram), but not 10-6 kg = 1 µkg (one microkilogram) Example 2: Consider the earlier example of the height of the Washington Monument. We may write h W = 169 000 mm = 16 900 cm = 169 m = 0.169 km using the millimeter (SI prefix milli, symbol m), centimeter (SI prefix centi, symbol c), or kilometer (SI prefix kilo, symbol k).

Because the SI prefixes strictly represent powers of 10, they should not be used to represent powers of 2. Thus, one kilobit, or 1 kbit, is 1000 bit and not 210 bit = 1024 bit. To alleviate this ambiguity, prefixes for binary multiples have been adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for use in information technology.

Submultiple
Prefix
Symbol
10-1
deci
d
10-2
centi
c
10-3
milli
m
10-6
micro
μ
10-9
nano
n
10-12
pico
p
10-15
femto
f
10-18
atto
a
10-21
zepto
z
10-24
yocto
y