The United States is one of the few nations in the world that operates on the English system of measurement. We use miles, yards, feet and inches, whereas most of the world uses the metric system – kilometers, meters and such. Americans are often puzzled by the metric system, so when someone talks about how a filter will remove particles down to “X” microns, their reaction is usually something like, “Wow! That is small.” But how small is a micron?
Let’s start with a quick lesson in converting English to metric and vice versa. Take a foot, for instance. We all know that 12 inches make up one foot. One inch is equivalent to 2.54 centimeters (cm). Centi is from the Latin word meaning hundredth, which means there are 100 centimeters in one meter. The next smallest measurement is the millimeter (mm). This is also from the Latin and means 1,000th. There are 1,000 millimeters in a meter. Now, getting back to the inch we referenced above, there are 25.4 mm in one inch. Dividing one inch by the number of millimeters in an inch, the end result is one millimeter is equivalent to 0.04 inches.
The metric system has smaller increments of measurement. One of the most common is the micrometer or micron which is abbreviated as µm. A micron is 1/1,000th of a millimeter, so it is really quite small. Now, do the calculation. If one millimeter equals 0.04 inches than one micron is equivalent to 0.00004 inches. Let’s try and put some of this in perspective:
A human hair is approximately 100 microns.
The average length of a dust particle is 100
A grain of pollen is 60 microns.
A piece of talcum powder is 10 microns.
So, when one hears that the filter can remove something as small as 0.5 micron, you can safely assume that it is an effective filter! That is why you should micro-filter your frying oil.
Neutralizing Microns and the Enemies of Frying Oil
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