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Force is that quantity which causes a mass to
accelerate. The formula for force is mass times acceleration.
Thus, force can be represented by any mass unit
times any acceleration unit, but, few but the
common ones would have any practical application.
Force is the same quantity that causes a mass
to have weight. However, as a force unit, it can
be considered in all types of directions besides
straight down. And, while the weight of a one
kilogram mass on earth is one kilogram-force, the
weight of the same mass on the moon would be
considerably less. So used as a weight unit, a
kilogram-force is defined only on the
earths surface, but as a force unit it is
more flexible. Still, the Newton is the preferred
force unit in the metric system.
Force is what causes a bullet to come out the
end of a gun, a rocket ship to blast off, a clock
to tick, water to come out of a hose, wind to
blow, and all things that have motion.
Force, as a quantity separate from weight, was
not a quantity people dealt with in earlier
times, and so the British and metric units are
the only ones in common use. This megaConverter
converts between the most commonly used force
units of today.
For a more comprehensive treatment of
measurements, find "NTCs Encyclopedia
of International Weights & Measures" by
William D. Johnstone at your local library. For a
better discussion of force, see any college
* Much of our written history still refers to
things in common units. The Bible does not refer
to meters or kilograms, but to cubits and stadia,
or shekels and drachma. Wouldn't it be nice to
know what they were talking about way back then?
Now you can use megaConverter! For a more
complete listing of ancient, foreign, and
obsolete measures, download our
'megaSpreadsheet' of conversions in MS Excel
The dyne is a force under whose influence a body
with 1.0 gram mass experiences an acceleration of
1.0 centimeter per second 2.
The poundal is the force needed to accelerate one
pound-mass by one foot per second
The newton is the force required to cause one
kilogram to accelerate by one meter per second 2.
The pound is the force needed to accelerate one
slug-mass by one foot per second
2, or the force exerted on one
pound-mass by earths gravity.
The kilopond or kilogram-force is the force
exerted on one kilogram by earths gravity
One Kip is equal to 1000 pound-force
Note: Because of round-off
errors, converting from very large units to very
small units or vice-versa may not be accurate (or
practical). Conversion factors can be found by
converting a quantity of 1 unit to another unit
several steps above or below the first. You may
need to string several conversion factors
together to find the factor from a very large
unit to a very small unit, and then you can use a
calculator with sufficient digits to find your