Part of the Mathematics glossary:

The centimeter (abbreviation, cm) is a unit of displacement or length in the cgs (centimeter/gram/second) system of units. One centimeter is the distance traveled by a ray of electromagnetic (EM) energy through a vacuum in 3.33564095 x 10-11 of a second. It is equivalent to 0.01 meter. There are about 2.54 centimeters in one linear inch.

Power-of-10 prefix multipliers facilitate the derivation of other, often more convenient, distance units from the centimeter. One meter (m) is equal to 100 cm, one millimeter (mm) is equal to 0.1 cm, and one kilometer (km) is equal to 100,000 (105) cm. These units are found in nonscientific as well as scientific literature. Smaller units are the realm of the scientist and engineer. One micrometer (symbolized µm or µ), also called a micron, is equal to 0.0001 (10-4) cm. One nanometer (nm) is equal to 10-7 cm. One Angström unit (symbolized Ä) is equal to 10-8 cm, or 0.1 nm.

The centimeter and its kin are used to specify the wavelengths of EM fields, particularly at ultra-high and microwave radio frequencies. The so-called radio spectrum occupies an informally defined range of wavelengths from roughly 1 mm to several tens of kilometers. A 300-cm radio wave falls near the middle of the standard FM (frequency-modulation) broadcast band; a 1-cm radio wave corresponds to a frequency of approximately 30 gigahertz (GHz). The range of visible light wavelengths is from approximately 390 nm (violet) to 770 nm (red). The speed of EM-field propagation in a vacuum, to nine significant figures, is 2.99792458 x 1010 centimeters per second.

Also see displacement, meter, prefix multipliers, and International System of Units (SI).

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • normal distribution

    - A normal distribution is an arrangement of a data set in which most values cluster in the middle of the range and the rest taper off symmetrically toward either end.  A graphical representation of ... (WhatIs.com)

  • zettaflops

    - Zettaflop or (ZFlop) is a processing power of one septillion floating point operations per second (FLOPS). The zetta in zettaflop represents 10 to the 21st power -- 10 multiplied by itself 21 times... (WhatIs.com)

  • mathematical induction

    - Mathematical induction is a a specialized form of deductive reasoning used to prove a fact about all the elements in an infinite set by performing a finite number of steps.  (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Mathematics

    - Terms related to mathematics, including definitions about logic, algorithms and computations and mathematical terms used in computer science and business.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About centimeter (cm)Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.