You probably don’t realize how significant “small” quantities are in daily life!

Nature. It is beautiful, stunning and breath-taking. Over a period of time, we learnt to appreciate it by deriving more meaning from it. It is, what we call Engineering. Most of the engineering till now, is a discovery.

The result of this, is what lead to units of measurement. To put it simply, it basically comprises of Time, Length and Mass.

Depending upon the magnitude, there are classifications. It is elementary mathematics which requires no sort of introduction. Our interest is focused on the above three quantities when they are small. Very small.

I mean, starting from the order of one or “milli“. So, we have “second” and “millisecond“. Next, “centimetre” and “millimetre“. Metre is too large to be considered here. Finally, “gram” and “milligram“.

These quantities are usually ignored stating that it is too small to be of any importance. At the end of this article, you can justify yourself about your perception of the same.

Considering the first quantity, TIME, “second” has the least magnitude in common usage. Mathematically, second is too large, really.

Imagine a situation of a car travelling at 90Kmph which translates to 25m/s, which translates to 25mm/ms.

Now, the car is about to involve in a head-on collision with another vehicle.

Assuming that the accident happens in a time which equals the blinking of a human eye ( 300-400ms ), the distance travelled by the car is 25×300= 7500mm/ms i.e. 7.5m/ms.

This clearly explains the disastrous effect that even a “millisecond” can cause.

Do note that, millisecond is 1/1000th of a second.

The length travelled by the light in a given time would have been appropriate here, if considered a much smaller scale.

Now, considering the second quantity, LENGTH.

Imagine the cylinder-piston arrangement in an Internal Combustion Engine. The clearance between the cylinder and piston is less than 1/10th of a mm (70 to 80microns).

This fact makes it obvious, the significance of mm which itself feels too large in such an application.

A technical drawing pen has a 0.1mm tip (<0.5mm) which makes us feel how large a tip we are using for common writing (0.5 to 1.0mm).

A daily newspaper/ A4 sheet has a thickness of just around 0.1mm but which surprisingly is very strong. A 1mm paper can be approximated to a thin cardboard.

Finally, considering the last quantity, MASS.

Take the case of a engine. An engine receives as low as 100mg ( 1/10th of a gram ) of fuel per cycle. That indicates the amount of power that can be obtained from burning such a small quantity of fuel.

Another example would be the weight of diamonds, which is usually specified in carat. 1 carat is equal to 200mg. To make this even more shocking, diamonds are sold at as low as 0.2carat i.e. 200×0.2=40mg which is as low as 1/25th of a gram.

So, I hope this article would have made you feel how important a role the above quantities play in daily situations.





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