# Imperial System – Definitions, Unit Conversions, & Examples

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## What Is the Imperial System?

The imperial measurement system, or the British Imperial system, is a traditional system of measurements based on the old English units.

(The English units, consisting of Winchester units and Exchequer Standards, were the prevailing system before 1826. This system was subsequently replaced by the Imperial and US customary systems that were developed later.)

The imperial system of units was first defined in the British Weights and Measures Act 1824 and developed through various Acts and amendments. It replaced the Winchester Standards that had been in practice since 1588 and became official in 1826. Although most nations adopted the metric system by the late 20th century, some parts of the world still use imperial units.

## Other Systems of Measurement

• The United States uses the system with the Customary units of measurement, which also originated from the old English system. Thus, the customary and Imperial systems are quite similar, with distinct differences in terms of some conversion factors and interpretations of units.
• The metric system is the measurement system that is used worldwide. The SI system (The International System of Units), commonly known as the modern form of the metric system, is the international standard for measurement. It is closely related to the metric system and is constantly updated to make it the global standard.

## What Are the Different Units of Measurement in the Imperial System?

The different units of measurement in the Imperial system are known as Imperial units. The following Imperial system chart includes a list of Imperial units of measurement.

## Metric Units of Measurement?

The metric system is a decimal-based system of measurement. It is used worldwide in scientific calculations and research. The base units for length, weight (mass), and capacity (volume) in the metric system are meter, gram, and liter, respectively.

Different units in the metric system are:

## Is the Imperial System Still in Use?

• In the United Kingdom, metric units are officially used, but Imperial units are still found in everyday transactions among the general population.
• The United States, the customary system or the US standard system is officially used (which is similar to the Imperial system except for the volume measurements). Despite initial intentions to adopt the metric system, the United States continues to use the Imperial system.
• In many parts of the government in Libya and Myanmar, the Imperial system is prevalent. In contrast, other parts have started using the SI system.

## Easy Conversions Between Imperial and Metric Units

The table shows the different conversions between metric and imperial units.

• The British Imperial System was established as a unified measurement system for use in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations.
• One notable advantage of the imperial system is it is based on human body measurements, with units like the inch representing the length of a thumb and the foot the length of a foot.

## Conclusion

In this article, we have learned about the imperial system and the conversions between imperial and metric systems. Now, let’s solve some examples and practice problems to understand the conversions better.

## Solved Examples on Imperial System

Example 1: Change the following lengths into inches.

i) 4 feet

ii) 7 yards

iii) 3 miles

Solution:

i) 4 feet

1 foot = 12 inches

Thus, 4 feet = 4 × 12 = 48 inches

ii) 7 yards

1 yard = 3 ft = 36 inches

7 yards = 7 × 36 inches = 252 inches

iii) 3 miles

1 mile = 1760 yards = 1760 × 36 inches = 63,360 inches

Thus, 3 miles = 63,360 × 3 inches = 190,080 inches

Example 2: Convert the following length measurements into centimeters.

i) 6 inches

ii) 8 feet

iii) 4 yards

Solution:

i) 6 inches:

1 inch = 2.5 cm

Thus, 6 inches = 6 × 2.5 cm = 15 cm

ii) 8 feet

1 foot = 12 inches.

Thus, 8 feet = 8 × 12 inches = 96 inches

Now, 1 inch = 2.5 cm

Thus, 96 inches = 96 × 2.5 cm = 240 cm

iii) 4 yards:

1 yard = 3 feet

Thus, 4 yards = 4 × 3 feet = 12 feet

1 foot = 12 inches

Thus, 12 feet = 12 × 12 inches = 144 inches

Now, 1 inch = 2.5 cm

Thus, 144 inches = 144 × 2.5 cm = 360 inches

Example 3: Convert 5 imperial gallons into liters.

Solution:

1 imperial gallon = 4.54609 liters

5 imperial gallons = 5 × 4.54609 liters

5 imperial gallons = 22.7304 liters

## Practice Problems on Imperial System

1

### The United States of America uses the _______ system of measurement.

Metric
Imperial
SI
Customary
CorrectIncorrect
The United States of America uses the Customary system of measurement.
2

### What is the largest volume? 1 imperial pint, 1 liter, 2,500 mL, or 1 imperial gallon?

1 pint
1 liter
2,500 ml
1 gallon
CorrectIncorrect
1 imperial pint = 0.568261 liters
2,500 mL = 2.5 liters
1 imperial gallon = 8 imperial pints = 4.54609 liters
Thus, 1 gallon is the largest volume.
3

### Which is bigger? A metric ton (tonne) or an Imperial ton?

Ton
Tonne
They are both the same