• Share
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Discuss in my forum

Metric to Metric Conversions - Unit Cancelling Method

Metric to Metric Conversions - Grams to Kilograms

It is not difficult to convert units if you use the cancelling method.

Todd Helmenstine
Unit cancellation is one of the easiest ways to keep control of your units in any science problem. This example converts grams to kilograms. It doesn't matter what the units are, the process is the same.

Question: How many kilograms are in 1,532 grams?

The graphic shows seven steps to convert grams to kilograms.
Step A shows the relationship between kilograms and grams.

In Step B, both sides of the equation are divided by 1000 g.

Step C shows how the value of 1 kg/1000 g is the equal to the number 1. This step is important in the unit cancellation method. When you multiply a number or variable by 1, the value is unchanged.

Step D restates the example problem.

In Step E, multiply both sides of the equation by 1 and substitute the left side's 1 with the value in step C.

Step F is the unit cancellation step. The gram unit from the top (or numerator) of the fraction is canceled from the bottom (or denominator) leaving only the kilogram unit.

Dividing 1536 by 1000 yields the final answer in step G.

The final answer is: There are 1.536 kg in 1536 grams.

Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.