Discussion Forum

Accreditation and Quality Assurance

, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp 421-427

First online:

Failures of the global measurement system. Part 1: the case of chemistry

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This discussion puts a case of advocatus diaboli: that the Treaty of the Metre, its associated administrative apparatus and the International System of measurement units (SI) has basically failed for chemical measurement and is largely irrelevant to modern analysis, much of practical measurement in modern economies and much of recent technology. The practical use of the chemical unit termed the mole, the introduction to the SI units of the thermodynamic mole and the invention of a new physical quantity called “amount of substance” are each reviewed with the conclusion that the current means of expressing the results of chemical measurements are unsatisfactory in both practice and theory and are imposing large and readily avoidable costs on all advanced economies.


Treaty of the metre Mole Amount of substance Metrology