Units of measurement table in centimetre-gram-second system (CGS)
Table shows various units (gal, erg, dyne etc.) and corresponding physical quantities (measurements) used in historical CGS (centimetre-gram-second) system. Both basic CGS and EMU/ESU extensions are presented.

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Basic CGS units#

Physical quantityCGS unit symbolCGS unit nameEquivalent in SI units
LengthShow sourcecmcmcentimetreShow source102 m10^{-2}\ m
MassShow sourcegggramShow source103 kg10^{-3}\ kg
TimeShow sourcesssecondShow source1 s1\ s
VelocityShow sourcecms\frac{cm}{s}centimetre per secondShow source102 ms10^{-2}\ \frac{m}{s}
AccelerationShow sourceGalGalgalShow source102 ms210^{-2}\ \frac{m}{s^2}
ForceShow sourcedyndyndyneShow source105 N10^{-5}\ N
EnergyShow sourceergergergShow source107 J10^{-7}\ J
PowerShow sourceergs\frac{erg}{s}erg per secondShow source107 W10^{-7}\ W
PressureShow sourceBaBabaryeShow source101 Pa10^{-1}\ Pa
Dynamic viscosityShow sourcePPpoiseShow source101 Pas10^{-1}\ Pa \cdot s
Kinematic viscosityShow sourceStStstokesShow source104 m2s10^{-4}\ \frac{m^2}{s}
WavenumberShow sourcecm1cm^{-1}kayserShow source100 m1100\ m^{-1}

ESU units (electrostatic)#

Physical quantityCGS unit symbolCGS unit nameEquivalent in SI units
Electric chargeShow sourcestatCstatCstatcoulombShow source10cC\frac{10}{c} C
Electric fluxShow sourcestatCstatCstatcoulombShow source14πc Vm\frac{1}{4\pi \cdot c}\ V \cdot m
Electric currentShow sourcestatAstatAstatampereShow source10 A10\ A
Electric potentialShow sourcestatVstatVstatvoltShow source108 c V10^{-8}\ c\ V
Electric fieldShow sourcestatVcm\frac{statV}{cm}statvolt per centimetreShow source106 c Vm10^{-6}\ c\ \frac{V}{m}
Electric displacement fieldShow sourcestatCcm2\frac{statC}{cm^2}statcoulomb times square centimetreShow source105 c1Cm210^{5}\ c^{-1} \frac{C}{m^2}
Electric dipole momentShow sourcestatCcmstatC \cdot cmstatcoulomb times centimetreShow source110c Cm\frac{1}{10 c}\ C \cdot m
Magnetic dipole momentShow sourcestatAcm2statA \cdot cm^2statampere times square centimetreShow source11000c Am2\frac{1}{1000 c}\ A \cdot m^2
Magnetic B fieldShow sourcestatTstatTstatteslaShow source104 c T10^{-4}\ c\ T
Magnetic H fieldShow sourcestatAcm\frac{statA}{cm}statampere per centimetreShow source10004π c Am\frac{1000}{4\pi\ c}\ \frac{A}{m}
Magnetic fluxShow sourcestatWbstatWbstatwebberShow source108 c Wb10^{-8}\ c\ Wb
ResistanceShow sourcescm\frac{s}{cm}second per centimetreShow source109 c2 scm10^{-9}\ c^2\ \frac{s}{cm}
ResistivityShow sourcesssecondShow source1011 c2 Ωm10^{-11}\ c^2\ \Omega \cdot m
CapacitanceShow sourcecmcmcentimetreShow source109 c2 F10^{9}\ c^{-2}\ F
InductanceShow sources2cm\frac{s^2}{cm}square second per centimetreShow source109 c2 H10^{-9}\ c^2\ H

EMU units (electromagnetism)#

Physical quantityCGS unit symbolCGS unit nameEquivalent in SI units
Electric chargeShow sourceabCabCabcoulombShow source10 C10\ C
Electric fluxShow sourceabCabCabcoulombShow source10 VA10\ V \cdot A
Electric currentShow sourceabAabAabampereShow source10 A10\ A
Electric potentialShow sourceabVabVabvoltShow source108 V10^{-8}\ V
Electric fieldShow sourceabVcm\frac{abV}{cm}abvolt per centimetreShow source106 Vm10^{-6}\ \frac{V}{m}
Electric displacement fieldShow sourceabCcm2\frac{abC}{cm^2}abcoulomb per square centimetreShow source105 Cm210^{5}\ \frac{C}{m^2}
Electric dipole momentShow sourceabCcmabC \cdot cmabcoulomb times centimetreShow source101 Cm10^{-1}\ C \cdot m
Magnetic dipole momentShow sourceabAcm2abA \cdot cm^2abampere times square centimetreShow source103 Am210^{-3}\ A \cdot m^2
Magnetic B fieldShow sourceGGgaussShow source104 T10^{-4}\ T
Magnetic H fieldShow sourceOeOeoerstedShow source10004π Am\frac{1000}{4 \pi}\ \frac{A}{m}
Magnetic fluxShow sourceMxMxmaxwellShow source108 Wb10^{-8}\ Wb
ResistanceShow sourceabΩab\OmegaabohmShow source109 Ω10^{-9}\ \Omega
ResistivityShow sourceabΩcmab\Omega \cdot cmabohm times centimetreShow source1011 Ωm10^{-11}\ \Omega \cdot m
CapacitanceShow sourceabFabFabfarradShow source109 F10^{9}\ F
InductanceShow sourceabHabHabhentryShow source109 H10^{-9}\ H

Some facts#

  • CGS (centimetre-gram-second) is the historical system of units used in physics before the spread of the SI system.
  • The basic units in the CGS system are one centimetre (1 cm), one gram (1 g) and one second (1 s). The short name CGS comes from the names of these units.
  • Other units of the CGS system are derived from basic units, e.g. the force unit in the CGS system is one dyne (1 dyn):
    1dyn=gcm2s21 dyn = \frac{g \cdot cm^2}{s^2}
  • The disadvantage of the CGS system is the lack of units related to electricity and magnetism. For this reason extensions of the CGS system were created:
    • ESU (electrostatic units) - extension of the CGS system by units come from electrostatics (electrical charges at rest), units from this extension have the stat prefix, e.g. statampere is a unit of electric current in the ESU-CGS system,
    • EMU (electromagnetic units) - extension of the CGS system by units come from electrodynamics (electric charges in motion), units from this extension have the ab prefix, e.g. abvolt is the unit of electric voltage in the EMU-CGS system.
  • The CGS has been displaced by SI units and is no longer in use.

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