The Millilitre


THE founders of the metric system sought to establish a simple relationship between units of volume based on units of length and units of volume defined as the space occupied by a specified mass of water. To this end they decided that the kilogramme should be the mass of a quantity of water, which, at its temperature of maximum density, had a volume of one cubic decimetre. Lavoisier and Haüy made a provisional standard kilogramme and Lefèvre-Gineau and Fabbroni were entrusted with the construction of the standard afterwards known as the ‘Kilogramme des Archives’. Their work was reported to the Commission des Poids et Mesures in 1799, and the ‘Kilogramme des Archives’ was accepted as being accurately in accordance with the original definition of the kilogramme. The litre at that time could be regarded either as a cubic decimetre or as the volume, at its temperature of maximum density, of one kilogramme of water.

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    "Units of Volume", Report No. 1, Joint Committee for the Standardisation of Scientific Glassware,1924.

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STOTT, V. The Millilitre. Nature 124, 622–623 (1929).

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