Estonia redefines the definition of kilogram ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Kilogram standard near Sevres at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, Paris.
Kilogram standard near Sevres at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, Paris. Source: Christophe Ena, AP / Scanpix

The government at a sitting on Thursday endorsed a regulation seeking to harmonize the system of units of measurement used in Estonia with the updates agreed at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in 2018 and transpose into national legislation the corresponding European Union directive.

The most important change is the redefinition of the mass unit, according to which the kilogram will from now be determined by the Planck constant. The redefined SI base units took effect on May. 20 this year.

Since 1879, the kilogram has officially been defined using a cylinder of platinum and iridium called Le Grand K or the International Prototype Kilogram. The redefinition of the kilogram based on the Planck constant is the biggest change since the adoption of the SI base units at the signing of the international Metric Convention in 1875. 

Ordinary consumers will not be affected by the changes, which will mainly be relevant to electronics and pharmaceuticals companies, who need to measure small units with great accuracy and base their results on the SI base units in order to ensure reliability.

From the perspective of consumer protection and for the purpose of eliminating trade barriers, it is important that the use of units of measurement be harmonized in the EU.

The regulation is planned to enter into force in accordance with general procedure

The new definitions will have no impact on the average consumer and those exposed to the unit, a government spokesman said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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