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Centimeter

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Centimeter

1 centimetre =
SI units
10×10−3 m 10 mm
US customary / Imperial units
32.81×10^−3 ft 0.39370 in
Further information: metre

A centimetre (International spelling as used by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures; symbol cm) or centimeter (American spelling) is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one hundredth of a metre, which is the SI base unit of length. Centi is the SI prefix for a factor of 10−2.[1] Hence a centimetre can be written as 1×10−2 m, 10×10−3 m (engineering notation) or 1E−2 m (scientific E notation) — meaning 10 mm or 1 m/100 respectively. The centimetre was the base unit of length in the now deprecated centimetre-gram-second (CGS) system of units.

Though for many physical quantities, SI prefixes for factors of 103—like milli- and kilo-—are often preferred by technicians, the centimetre remains a practical unit of length for many everyday measurements. A centimetre is approximately the width of the fingernail of an adult person (between 3/8 in and 7/16 inch on an English inch ruler).

Equivalence to other units of length

1 centimetre is equal to:

  • 10 millimetres
  • 0.01 metre, which can be represented by 1.00 E-2 m (1 metre is equal to 100 centimetres)
  • about 0.393700787401575 inch (1 inch is equal to 2.54 centimetres) [2]

1 cubic centimetre is equal to 1 millilitre, under the current SI system of units.

Uses of centimetre

In addition to its use in the measurement of length, the centimetre is used:

  • sometimes, to report the level of rainfall as measured by a rain gauge [3]
  • in the CGS system, the centimetre is used to measure capacitance, where 1 cm of capacitance = 1.113 \times 10^{-12} Farad [4]
  • in maps, centimetres are used to make conversions from map scale to real world scale (kilometres)
  • to represent second moment of areas (cm4)
  • as the inverse of the kayser, a CGS unit, and thus a non-SI metric unit of wavenumber: 1 kayser=1 wave/centimetre; or, more generally, (wavenumber in kaysers)=1/(wavelength in centimetres).

Unicode symbols

For the purposes of compatibility with Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) characters, Unicode has symbols for:[5]

  • centimetre (㎝) – code 339D
  • square centimetre (㎠) – code 33A0
  • cubic centimetre (㎤) – code 33A4

They are mostly used only with East Asian fixed-width CJK fonts, because they are equal in size to one Chinese character.

See also

References

  • CJK Compatibility excerpt from The Unicode Standard, Version 4.4 and co-exterior users.
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