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Metric Ton - Unit of Weight

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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What is a Metric Ton?

The metric ton is a measuring unit of weight. It is used in a maximum number of countries and one metric ton means a thousand kilograms of weight. Generally, one metric ton is also equivalent to 2204.6 pounds. The terminology metric ton is derived from the word tun. Usually, tuns are large or huge barrels used to trade wine in most regions of the world. The term tun again has been derived from the French word Tonnerre which means thunder. It is because of the large rumbling noise these barrels produce while being transferred from one location to the other due to rolling. Let’s take a deeper look into what metric ton means actually.


What is Mt in Weight?

Often mt is used in measuring weight. But what is mt in weight? The abbreviation mt means in weight as simply the unit metric ton. In the avoirdupois system of units, the ton is one of the major units of weight. It is approved worldwide. In the United States of America, one metric ton means 907.18 kilograms or two thousand pounds. While in Britain, per metric ton is equivalent to 1016.05 kilograms or two thousand two hundred and forty pounds. The former is known as the short ton while the latter is known as the long ton. Now, a metric ton is acclaimed in most of the countries worldwide as thousand kilograms or 2204.6 pounds as stated before. The metric ton or ton is equivalent to 0.984 long tons and similarly 1.102 short tons. The same weight can be expressed as Mega gram which is the official SI unit. But this unit is not as popular as ton in general.


Symbol of Metric Ton

Now that we know what a metric ton is, we can proceed with knowing its symbol and abbreviations. The international bureau of weights and measures has given the symbol t for ton. It was later accepted as the official unit back in 1879. The metric ton in the USA has also been officially accepted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. But one thing to be remembered is that it is the symbol and not the abbreviation. It should not be followed by a period. But some letter case combinations can lead to confusion. For example, MT, mt, mT, T, and Mt are SI units used for mega tesla, millitonne or a kilogram, mini tesla, tesla, and megatonne respectively. Like, in terms of energy a megaton of TNT is equivalent to 4.184 pent joules. 


Alternative Metric Ton Usage

Metric ton in the US metal trading industry usually means ten kilograms. Generally, it also refers to the metric ton of an ore that will contain one percent of the original metal. Also, in the case of MTU, it is referred to as metric tons of uranium or thousand kilograms of uranium. In the coal mining industry gigaton is also used. 

Ton also gave birth to a new unit of force just like kilograms and grams. It is known as a ton force and is equal to 9.8 kilos Newton. It is also referred to as metric ton or ton, in general, to be referred to as a unit of force. The metric ton force or ton force is not acceptable by the SI unit standards. While a ton as a mass unit is acceptable. It is because ton force is not an exact multiple of Newton which is the SI unit of force.


Ton as a Unit of Volume

Often, the freight itself or a ship’s cargo capacity is also referred to as ton. Here ton or metric ton is referred to as a unit of volume. Forty cubic feet is known as the measurement ton. The register ton refers to hundred cubic feet. 35 cubic feet is also known as a long ton of seawater traditionally. The English water ton is equivalent to 224 BIS gallons used to measure petroleum products. We also have a wheat ton and timber ton of 20 bushels and 40 cubic meters respectively. But generally, a metric ton means 1000 kilograms. The units of Imperial United States Customary as well as ton or metric ton, both are spelled as ton in English. But they may differ in mass.


Did You Know?

In 1985, the Weights and Measures Act of the UK banned the use of many imperial units which included tons.

A full tune or barrels used for wine trade easily weighed one ton due to which the term ton or ton was developed from the word tun and is equal to a thousand kilograms.

Metric Ton

Ton can be defined as the unit of weight in the system of avoirdupois system. This is equal to 2000 pounds or 907.18 kg according to the United States and 2240 pounds or 1016.05 kg in British measuring standards. Ton is used as a measurement of larger weight. Ton is also used as a unit of volume e.g. it may be referred to as the capacity of cargo of the ships or the freight. There are various types of capacity that have existed for different commodities e.g. water ton in British measurements is used to measure the products of petroleum and has the value of 224 British Imperial System gallons. Similarly, the timer is measured as 40 cubic feet and wheat ton of 20 bushels of United States.

Thus, the ton is a measurement unit and has a long history of usage where it has been given different meaning and usage over the past years. Principally, it is used for the measurement of weight. Its first usage was when it was used as a measurement of volume which was used to measure ship cargo’s capacity and was defined in terms of freight ton. The recent usage of ton has been more specialized which uses ton as a measure of energy and for the classification of trucks. It is a colloquial term which defines ton as the heaviest unit to measure weight. In an informal way, it is also used to mean a large amount of something, a material or not.  The ton is used for measuring volume units which range from 35-100 cubic feet capacity. Furthermore, it is used as an energy unit or refrigeration unit that is also called the ton of refrigeration.

FAQs on Metric Ton - Unit of Weight

1. What are the Derived Units of the Metric Ton?

Thousands of millions of tons are usually said concerning multiples of the ton. TNT equivalent mass or energy emitted during a nuclear explosion is measured in terms of gigatonne, megatonne, or kilotonne. Tens multiple of three is known as kilotonne. Similarly, for multiples of 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 we have megatonne, gigatonne, teratonne, petatonne, and exatonne respectively. One metric ton or simply a tonne is equivalent to thousands of kilograms. Further, it is also the mass of a cubic meter of pure water at 4 degrees centigrade. Hence, the absolute mass of about a thousand liters of water is one metric ton. It is equal to 2204.6 pounds, 0.907 short tons, and 1.016 long tons approximately.

2. What is a Metric Ton?

One of the very basic questions to ask is what is a metric ton. A metric ton is a very basic unit of measurement used to measure weight. It is equivalent to a thousand kilograms and can be interconverted. The full form of mt in weight is also metric ton. In the English language, the original spelling is a tonne. In the USA, the tonne is referred to as the metric ton as recommended by the prestigious NIST as they also have concepts of short ton and long ton. The imperial ton was considered to be twenty hundredweights or 2240 pounds before the UK metrication. Tun is the word from which tonne or ton was developed which means large barrels or casks. These were used for the wine trade across France and Germany.

3.  What are other units of mass or volume related to ton?

There are other units which are similar to ton. First one is the weight ton or long ton which has a value of 2240 lb and is used in the United Kingdom and other commonwealth countries. The second one is short ton which has the unit of 2000 lb that is used in the United States. Then, ton is another unit or an equivalent of megagram and has the value of 1000 kg which is used in the International System worldwide.

4.  How is ton used to describe units of power?

There are several units of power:

  • A ton or ton of TNT (Trinitrotoluene) is an energy unit equal to 109 calories which is also known as gigacalorie or Gcal that has the value of gigajoules or GJ.

  • Kiloton or kiloton of TNT is an energy unit which is equal to 1012 calories.

  • Lastly, megaton of TNT in an energy unit which is equal to 1015 calories sometimes referred to as peta calorie. 

5.  What is a ton of refrigeration?

Ton of refrigeration can is a unit used for refrigeration and air conditioning which is used for measuring heat absorption rate. Before mechanical refrigeration was present, the cooling process was accomplished by ice. Thus, a ton of mechanical refrigeration installment capacity replaced one ton of ice usage. In North America, the standard ton of refrigeration is defined as the heat absorption per day which is approximately the heat of fusion of a ton at a temperature 32 Fahrenheit.  The ton of refrigeration is abbreviated as RT. Another less common usage is the power required to cool a long ton or short of a ton of water by 0.56 Celsius in the duration of 10 minutes.

4.  What are informal tons?

Ton is informally used in common vocabulary as well i.e. to represent a larger amount of something. For example, someone saying ‘I have a ton of homework to do’. In Britain, ton is used colloquially to refer to 100 of a given unit. For example, it is used to define 100 miles per hour or 100 points in a game. Similarly, in Dutch, a ton is used informally to define the amount of money which can be written as 100,000. Thus, when talking about the cost of buying a house, people say the cost is 2 tons which means it is 200,000 Euros. This has been used since the 18th century.

7.  Can I get notes for the topic metric ton?

Yes, Vedantu provides all the study materials required for you and your study preparations. The study materials consist of important notes, test and revision notes which have been prepared by our experts. This will help you understand the concepts better and can also help you get good scores. Students can simply log in to Vedantu App or website and download the PDF file which is free of cost. Furthermore, students can talk to the Vedantu tutors if they have any subject-related doubts. This is free of cost which makes learning more fun. 

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