Watch: The definition of a kilogramme is about to change
Experts are set to redefine the kilogramme (or kilogram, as Americans would have it) ditching the relic made of a platinum-iridium alloy that has been the basis for weight measurements.
The fate of dozens of copies of calibrated weights, used for global standardisation of what a kilogram weights, hangs in the balance.
Scientists believe the standard kilogramme called “le grand K”, which sets the standard, has lost weight over time, about as much as an eyelash.
The device is locked away in a vault inside the Louis XIV Pavillon de Breteuil, Paris.
It is believed that even cleaning it can affect its mass over time, but so can pollutants in the atmosphere that can stick to the mass, so whether it is cleaned or not, its weight would change.
That is why the platinum-iridium cylinder is rubbed with a chamois that has been soaked in alcohol and ether, and is then steam-rinsed using boiling double-distilled water before it is returned to its resting place, reports The Guardian.
Scientists want to replace it with a new value found in physics, the Planck Constant. It will be voted on it at the General Conference on Weights and Measures, on November 16.
Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.
Also from Business Insider South Africa
- All of the celebrities who have evacuated or lost their homes as wildfires spread across California
- Telkom is seeing massive growth in cellphone subscribers – and it keeps making more money out of them
- Twitter troublemaker Tito Mboweni ‘postponed’ a Q&A – and even the rand was disappointed
- South African investors waste money by getting these two things wrong, says a top advisor
- Vodacom’s data prices fell 16.4% in six months – and the customers are streaming in
- This is the ‘fainting’ dance craze taking SA by storm – and no, Limpopo is not lining up extra ambulances
- Watch: The 10 Wildest Amusement Park Rides