Metric Prefixes

Science - Math in Science

Metric prefixes, or SI prefixes, are words that precede a base unit to let you know the multiplication factor used. These multiplication factors are used to convert between two units.

For example:

5 cm = 5 centimeters = 5*10-2 m = 0.05 m

15 Gs = 15 gigaseconds = 15*109 s = 15,000,000,000 s


  Prefix    Symbol    Multplication  Factor
yotta Y 1024 One Septillion
zetta Z 1021 One Sextillion
exa E 1018 One Quintillion
peta P 1015 One Quadrillion
tera T 1012 One Trillion
giga G 109 One Billion
mega M 106 One Million
kilo k 104 One Thousand
hecto h 102 One Hundred
deka da 10 Ten
deci d 10-1 One Tenth
centi c 10-2 One Hundredth
milli m 10-3 One Thousandth
micro μ 10-6 One Millionth
nano n 10-9 One Billionth
pico p 10-12 One Trillionth
femto f 10-15 One Quadrillionth
atto a 10-18 One Quintillionth
septo z 10-21 One Sextillionth
yocto y 10-24 One Septillionth



Learn important vocabulary for this concept, including words that might appear in assessments (tests, quizzes, homework, etc.) that indicate the use of this concept.

 Important Vocabulary

Term Context


Computer Animations

Experience computer simulators or animations that illustrate the concept discussed here. Many simulators or animations come with worksheets for use in class.


Study Aides

Uncover helpful study tools, such as a mnemonic device or alternative ways to master the concept.

 Study Aides

Kids Have Dropped Over Dead Converting Metrics  

(Kilo Hecto Deka (Units) Deci Centi Milli)


Kangaroos Hop Down British Driveways Carrying M&Ms

(Kilo Hecto Deka BASE Deci Centi Milli)

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