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1.6.

Units (SI) used in the Pharmacopoeia

NCPF

EUROPEAN PHARMACOPOEIA 5.0

The derived units may be formed by combining the


base units according to the algebraic relationships linking
the corresponding quantities. Some of these derived units
have special names and symbols. The SI units used in the
European Pharmacopoeia are shown in Table 1.6-2.

National Collection of Pathogenic Fungi


London School of Hygiene and Tropical
Medicine
Keppel Street
London WC1E 7HT, Great Britain
National Collection of Type Cultures
Central Public Health Laboratory
Colindale Avenue
London NW9 5HT, Great Britain
National Collection of Yeast Cultures
AFRC Food Research Institute
Colney Lane
Norwich NR4 7UA, Great Britain
Statens Serum Institut
80 Amager Boulevard, Copenhagen,
Denmark

NCTC

NCYC

S.S.I.

Some important and widely used units outside the


International System are shown in Table 1.6-3.
The prefixes shown in Table 1.6-4 are used to form the names
and symbols of the decimal multiples and submultiples of
SI units.
NOTES
1. In the Pharmacopoeia, the Celsius temperature is used
(symbol t). This is defined by the equation :

where T0 = 273.15 K by definition. The Celsius or


centigrade temperature is expressed in degree Celsius
(symbol C). The unit degree Celsius is equal to the unit
kelvin.
2. The practical expressions of concentrations used in the
Pharmacopoeia are defined in the General Notices.

01/2005:10600

1.6. UNITS OF THE INTERNATIONAL


SYSTEM (SI) USED IN THE
PHARMACOPOEIA AND
EQUIVALENCE WITH OTHER UNITS
INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM OF UNITS (SI)
The International System of Units comprises 3 classes of units,
namely base units, derived units and supplementary units(1).
The base units and their definitions are set out in Table 1.6-1.

3. The radian is the plane angle between two radii of a circle


which cut off on the circumference an arc equal in length
to the radius.
4. In the Pharmacopoeia, conditions of centrifugation are
defined by reference to the acceleration due to gravity (g) :

5. Certain quantities without dimensions are used in the


Pharmacopoeia : relative density (2.2.5), absorbance
(2.2.25), specific absorbance (2.2.25) and refractive index
(2.2.6).
6. The microkatal is defined as the enzymic activity which,
under defined conditions, produces the transformation
(e.g. hydrolysis) of 1 micromole of the substrate per
second.

Table 1.6.-1. SI base units


Unit

Quantity

Definition

Name

Symbol

Name

Symbol

Length

metre

The metre is the length of the path travelled by light in a vacuum during a time
interval of 1/299 792 458 of a second.

Mass

kilogram

kg

The kilogram is equal to the mass of the international prototype of the kilogram.

Time

second

Electric current

ampere

The ampere is that constant current which, maintained in two straight parallel
conductors of infinite length, of negligible circular cross-section and placed
1 metre apart in vacuum would produce between these conductors a force equal to
2 10 7 newton per metre of length.

Thermodynamic
temperature

kelvin

The kelvin is the fraction 1/273.16 of the thermodynamic temperature of the


triple point of water.

Amount of substance

mole

mol

The mole is the amount of substance of a system containing as many elementary


entities as there are atoms in 0.012 kilogram of carbon-12*.

Luminous intensity

Iv

candela

cd

The candela is the luminous intensity in a given direction of a source emitting


monochromatic radiation with a frequency of 540 1012 hertz and whose energy
intensity in that direction is 1/683 watt per steradian.

The second is 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.

* When the mole is used, the elementary entities must be specified and may be atoms, molecules, ions, electrons, other particles or specified groups of
such particles.
(1) The definitions of the units used in the International System are given in the booklet Le Systme International dUnits (SI) published by the Bureau International des Poids et
Mesures, Pavillon de Breteuil, F-92310 Svres.

10

See the information section on general monographs (cover pages)

1.6. Units (SI) used in the Pharmacopoeia

EUROPEAN PHARMACOPOEIA 5.0

Table 1.6.-2. SI units used in the European Pharmacopoeia and equivalence with other units
Unit

Quantity

Expression in SI Expression in other Conversion of other units into SI units


base units
SI units
m 1

Name

Symbol

Name

Symbol

Wave number

one per metre

1/m

Wavelength

m
nm

Area

A, S

micrometre
nanometre
square metre

m2

10 6m
10 9m
m2

Volume

cubic metre

m3

m3

Frequency

hertz

Hz

s 1

Density

kilogram per cubic


metre

kg/m3

kgm 3

Velocity

metre per second

m/s

ms 1

Force

newton

mkgs 2

Pressure

pascal

Pa

m 1kgs 2

Nm 2

1 dyne/cm2 = 10 1 Pa = 10 1 Nm 2
1 atm = 101 325 Pa = 101.325 kPa
1 bar = 105 Pa = 0.1 MPa
1 mm Hg = 133.322 387 Pa
1 Torr = 133.322 368 Pa
1 psi = 6.894 757 kPa

Dynamic
viscosity

pascal second

Pas

m 1kgs 1

Nsm 2

1 P = 10 1 Pas = 10 1 Nsm 2
1 cP = 1 mPas

Kinematic
viscosity

square metre per


second

m2/s

m2s 1

Pasm3kg 1
Nmskg 1

1 St = 1 cm2s 1 = 10 4 m2s 1

Energy

joule

m2kgs 2

Nm

Power
Radiant flux

watt

m2kgs 3

Nms 1
Js 1

1 erg/s = 1 dynecms 1 =
10 7 W = 10 7 Nms 1 =
10 7 Js 1

Absorbed dose
(of radiant
energy)

gray

Gy

m2s 2

Jkg 1

1 rad = 10 2 Gy

Electric
potential,
electromotive
force

volt

m2 kgs 3A 1

WA 1

Electric
resistance

ohm

m2 kgs 3A 2

VA 1

Quantity of
electricity

coulomb

As

Activity of a
radionuclide

becquerel

Bq

s 1

Concentration
(of amount of
substance),
molar
concentration

mole per cubic


metre

mol/m3

molm 3

1 mol/l = 1M = 1 mol/dm3 = 103 molm 3

Mass
concentration

kilogram per cubic


metre

kg/m3

kgm 3

1 g/l = 1 g/dm3 = 1 kgm 3

Table 1.6.-3. Units used with the International System


Unit

Quantity

Value in SI units

Time

Symbol

minute

min

1 min = 60 s

hour

1 h = 60 min = 3600 s

day

1 d = 24 h = 86 400 s

Plan angle

degree

1 = (/180) rad

Volume

litre

1 l = 1 dm3 = 10 3 m3

Mass

tonne

1 t = 103 kg

Rotational
frequency

revolution
per minute

r/min

1 r/min = (1/60) s 1

Time

General Notices (1) apply to all monographs and other texts

1 ml = 1 cm3 = 10 6 m3

1 g/ml = 1 g/cm3 = 103 kgm 3

1 dyne = 1 gcms 2 = 10 5 N
1 kp = 9.806 65 N

1 erg = 1 cm2gs 2 =
1 dynecm = 10 7 J
1 cal = 4.1868 J

1 Ci = 37109 Bq = 37109 s 1

Table 1.6.-4. Decimal multiples and sub-multiples of units


Factor

Prefix

Prefix

Symbol

10

deci

10

centi

10 3

milli

10

micro

nano

exa

15

peta

1012

tera

10
10

Factor
1

Symbol

18

10

giga

10

mega

10

10

kilo

10 12

pico

hecto

10 15

femto

atto

102
10

deca

da

10

18

11