Newton (unit)

The newton (symbol: N) is the International System of Units (SI) derived unit of force. It is named after Isaac Newton in recognition of his work on classical mechanics, specifically Newton's second law of motion.

See below for the conversion factors.

Illustration on One Newton, 2018-07-06
Visualization of one newton of force
General information
Unit systemSI derived unit
Unit ofForce
Named afterSir Isaac Newton
1 N in ...... is equal to ...
   SI base units   1 kgms−2
   British Gravitational System   0.2248089 lbf


One newton is the force needed to accelerate one kilogram of mass at the rate of one metre per second squared in the direction of the applied force.

In 1946, Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures (CGPM) Resolution 2 standardized the unit of force in the MKS system of units to be the amount needed to accelerate 1 kilogram of mass at the rate of 1 metre per second squared. In 1948, the 9th CGPM Resolution 7 adopted the name newton for this force. The MKS system then became the blueprint for today's SI system of units. The newton thus became the standard unit of force in the Système international d'unités (SI), or International System of Units.

This SI unit is named after Isaac Newton. As with every International System of Units (SI) unit named for a person, the first letter of its symbol is upper case (N). However, when an SI unit is spelled out in English, it is treated as a common noun and should always begin with a lower case letter (newton)—except in a situation where any word in that position would be capitalized, such as at the beginning of a sentence or in material using title case.

In more formal terms, Newton's second law of motion states that the force exerted by an object is directly proportional to the acceleration of that object, namely:[1]

where the proportionality constant, , represents the mass of the object undergoing an acceleration, . As a result, the newton may be defined in terms of kilograms (), metres (), and seconds () by


At average gravity on Earth (conventionally, g = 9.80665 m/s2), a kilogram mass exerts a force of about 9.8 newtons. An average-sized apple exerts about one newton of force, which we measure as the apple's weight.[2]

1 N = 0.10197 kg × 9.80665 m/s2    (0.10197 kg = 101.97 g)

The weight of an average adult exerts a force of about 608 N.

608 N = 62 kg × 9.80665 m/s2 (where 62 kg is the world average adult mass)[3]

Commonly seen as kilonewtons

It is common to see forces expressed in kilonewtons (kN) where 1 kN = 1000 N. For example, the tractive effort of a Class Y steam train locomotive and the thrust of an F100 fighter jet engine are both around 130 kN.

One kilonewton, 1 kN, is 102.0 kgf, or about 100 kg of load.

1 kN = 102 kg × 9.81 m/s2   

So for example, a platform that shows it is rated at 321 kilonewtons (72,000 lbf), will safely support a 32,100 kilograms (70,800 lb) load.

Specifications in kilonewtons are common in safety specifications for:

Conversion factors

Units of force
(SI unit)
dyne kilogram-force,
pound-force poundal
1 N ≡ 1 kg⋅m/s2 = 105 dyn ≈ 0.10197 kp ≈ 0.22481 lbf ≈ 7.2330 pdl
1 dyn = 10−5 N ≡ 1 g⋅cm/s2 ≈ 1.0197 × 10−6 kp ≈ 2.2481 × 10−6 lbf ≈ 7.2330 × 10−5 pdl
1 kp = 9.80665 N = 980665 dyn gn ⋅ (1 kg) ≈ 2.2046 lbf ≈ 70.932 pdl
1 lbf ≈ 4.448222 N ≈ 444822 dyn ≈ 0.45359 kp gn ⋅ (1 lb) ≈ 32.174 pdl
1 pdl ≈ 0.138255 N ≈ 13825 dyn ≈ 0.014098 kp ≈ 0.031081 lbf ≡ 1 lb⋅ft/s2
The value of gn as used in the official definition of the kilogram-force is used here for all gravitational units.
Three approaches to units of mass and force or weight[4][5]
Base Force Weight Mass
2nd law of motion m = F/a F = Wa/g F = ma
Acceleration (a) ft/s2 m/s2 ft/s2 m/s2 ft/s2 Gal m/s2 m/s2
Mass (m) slug hyl pound-mass kilogram pound gram tonne kilogram
Force (F),
weight (W)
pound kilopond pound-force kilopond poundal dyne sthène newton
Pressure (p) pound per square inch technical atmosphere pound-force per square inch atmosphere poundal per square foot barye pieze pascal
Standard prefixes for the metric units of measure
Multiples Prefix name deca hecto kilo mega giga tera peta exa zetta yotta
Prefix symbol da h k M G T P E Z Y
Factor 100 101 102 103 106 109 1012 1015 1018 1021 1024
Submultiples Prefix name           deci centi milli micro nano pico femto atto zepto yocto
Prefix symbol d c m μ n p f a z y
Factor 100 10−1 10−2 10−3 10−6 10−9 10−12 10−15 10−18 10−21 10−24

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Table 3. Coherent derived units in the SI with special names and symbols". The International System of Units (SI). International Bureau of Weights and Measures. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-06-18.
  2. ^ Whitbread BSc (Hons) MSc DipION, Daisy. "What weighs 100g?". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  3. ^ Walpole, Sarah Catherine; Prieto-Merino, David; Edwards, Phillip; Cleland, John; Stevens, Gretchen; Roberts, Ian (2012). "The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass". BMC Public Health (12): 439. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-439.
  4. ^ Comings, E. W. (1940). "English Engineering Units and Their Dimensions". Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 32 (7): 984–987. doi:10.1021/ie50367a028.
  5. ^ Klinkenberg, Adrian (1969). "The American Engineering System of Units and Its Dimensional Constant gc". Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 61 (4): 53–59. doi:10.1021/ie50712a010.

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Early life of Isaac Newton

The following article is part of a biography of Sir Isaac Newton, the English mathematician and scientist, author of the Principia. It portrays the years after Newton's birth in 1642, his education, as well as his early scientific contributions, before the writing of his main work, the Principia Mathematica, in 1685.

Fluent (mathematics)

A fluent is a time-varying quantity or variable. The term was used by Isaac Newton in his early calculus to describe his form of a function. The concept was introduced by Newton in 1665 and detailed in his mathematical treatise, Method of Fluxions. Newton described any variable that changed its value as a fluent – for example, the velocity of a ball thrown in the air. The derivative of a fluent is known as a fluxion, the main focus of Newton's calculus. A fluent can be found from its corresponding fluxion through integration.


The fluxion of a "fluent" (a time-varying quantity, or function) is its instantaneous rate of change, or gradient, at a given point. Fluxions were introduced by Isaac Newton to describe his form of a time derivative (a derivative with respect to time). Newton introduced the concept in 1665 and detailed them in his mathematical treatise, Method of Fluxions. Fluxions and fluents made up Newton's early calculus.

Glossary of aerospace engineering

Most of the terms listed in Wikipedia glossaries are already defined and explained within Wikipedia itself. However, glossaries like this one are useful for looking up, comparing and reviewing large numbers of terms together. You can help enhance this page by adding new terms or writing definitions for existing ones.

This glossary of aerospace engineering terms pertains specifically to aerospace engineering and its sub-disciplines. For a broad overview of engineering, see glossary of engineering.

Index of aerospace engineering articles

This is an alphabetical list of articles pertaining specifically to aerospace engineering. For a broad overview of engineering, see List of engineering topics. For biographies, see List of engineers.

Index of physics articles (N)

The index of physics articles is split into multiple pages due to its size.

To navigate by individual letter use the table of contents below.

Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes or ING consists of three optical telescopes: the William Herschel Telescope, the Isaac Newton Telescope, and the Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope, operated by a collaboration between the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Dutch NWO and the Spanish IAC. The telescopes are located at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

These telescopes were formerly under the control of the Royal Greenwich Observatory before UK government cutbacks in 1998.

Isaac Newton Telescope

The Isaac Newton Telescope or INT is a 2.54 m (100 in.) optical telescope run by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands since 1984.

Originally the INT was situated at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, England, which was the site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory after it moved away from Greenwich due to light pollution. It was inaugurated in 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II.Herstmonceux suffered from poor weather, and the advent of mass air travel made it plausible for UK astronomers to run an overseas observatory. In 1979, the INT was shipped to La Palma, where it has remained ever since. It saw its second first light in 1984, with a video camera.Today, it is used mostly with the Wide Field Camera (WFC), a four CCD instrument with a field of view of 0.56x0.56 square degrees which was commissioned in 1997. The other main instrument available at the INT is the Intermediate Dispersion Spectrograph (IDS), recently re-introduced having been unavailable for a period of several years.

List of things named after Isaac Newton

This is a list of things named after Isaac Newton.

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