Physics

How many Feet in a Metric Meter



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1 meter = 3.280839895... feet. You can calculate this amount yourself, as well as other conversions between units if you know a few basic factors.

1 inch = exactly 2.54 centimeters, by definition.
100 cm = 1 m, also exact, by definition
12 inches = 1 foot, by definition

The nice thing about these factors is that because they are exact, they can be used to any number of decimal places. (You don't have to worry about losing significant figures along the way, in case you find significant figures frustrating.) You can round your answer off to however many places you like. You might, for instance, have been satisfied knowing that 3.3 feet = 1 meter, or 3.28 feet = 1 meter, or if you were really gung ho about it, you could keep working it out to fifty, one hundred, one thousand, or even a million decimal places. (I'd suggest letting the computer do that last one if I were you.)

Here's a common way to perform conversions:

Take your original measure, in this case, 1 meter (m).

Find a conversion factor you have that includes the original unit of measure, and one that is helpful in working towards your goal (feet). In this case, 100 cm = 1 m is helpful.

Multiply the original measure by a fraction with the old units on the bottom (to cancel by division) and the new units on the top (to replace the old units with the new ones).

[pardon the placeholding periods, helium doesn't like to recognize spaces for formatting]

1 m X 100 cm
- = 100 cm
..... 1 m

This result isn't Earth-shattering, since we started with 1 meter, but let's continue.

Continue the process by finding a factor that will convert centimeters to something else - inches in this case.

1 m X 100 cm X 1 in
- = 39.37 inches
..... 1 m .. X 2.54 cm

Add one more step and we can change the inches to feet.

1 m X 100 cm X 1 in .. X 1 ft
- = 3.280839895..... feet
..... 1 m .. X 2.54 cm X 12 in

In your calculator, you can ignore all the ones, making the problem much simpler:

100, divided by 2.54, all divided by 12

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