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# Units of Force

by Ron Kurtus (revised 1 October 2015)

A force is a push, pull, or dragging on an object that changes its velocity or direction. A * unit of force* is an arbitrary measurement that we designate as "1" (unit), so that all other measurements of force are multiples of that unit.

Most often, force is designated as a newton (**N**) in the metric or SI system of measurement. The newton has applications in various scientific measurements. There are other units, not used as often.

Questions you may have include:

- What is the definition of the newton?
- What are some applications of the newton?
- what are other units of force?

This lesson will answer those questions. Useful tool: Units Conversion

## Definition of newton

A *newton* is the force required to give a mass of 1 kilogram (**1 kg**) an acceleration of 1 meter per second per second (**1 m/s ^{2}**). It is abbreviated as

**N**.

This unit of measurement is in the metric or SI system and is used in scientific work more than other units of force.

1 Nis equivalent to1 kg-m/s.^{2}

## Applications of the newton

The newton combined with other measurements is used in various applications.

### Moment of force

The unit of *torque* or moment of force is the newton-meter (**N-m**), where **m** is the moment arm.

### Energy, work and heat

The newton-meter (**N-m**) is also the definition of the *joule* (**J**), which is a unit of energy. It can be seen that the units of kinetic energy **E = ½mv ^{2}** are in kilogram-meter

^{2}/seconds

^{2}and

**kg-m**.

^{2}/s^{2}= N-m### Power and radiant flux

Power is energy per second or **N-m/s**, with the unit of *watt*. This is also the unit for radiant flux or power from electromagnetic radiation.

### Pressure

The unit of pressure is the *pascal* (**P**), which is the force per unit area (**N-m _{2}**).

## Other units of force

There are other units of force, not as commonly used as the newton.

### Dyne

A *dyne* is the force required to give a mass of 1 gram (**1 g**) an acceleration of 1 centimeter per second per second (**1 cm/s ^{2}**).

**1 N = 100,000 dynes**.

You might use the dyne, if working with small objects.

### Poundal and pound

A *poundal* is the force required to give a mass of 1 pound (**1 lb**) an acceleration of 1 foot per second per second (**1 ft/s ^{2}**). 1 poundal equals 0.1382 newtons.

A *pound* is the force applied on a mass of 1 pound (**1 lb**) by the acceleration due to gravity. It is a non-technical unit of force and is also called the weight.

These units of force are in the English system and are seldom used in scientific measurements.

## Summary

A force acts on an object to change its velocity or direction. In most scientific work, force is designated as a newton (**N**) in the metric or SI system of measurement. The newton has applications in various scientific measurements. There are other units, not used as often.

Be forceful in your actions

## Resources and references

### Websites

### Books

**Top-rated books on Physics of Force**

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## Units of Force