Weight Equivalents

Convert weights between metric and imperial

 

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WEIGHT EXPLAINED

The kilogram or kilogramme, (symbol: kg) is the SI base unit of mass. It is defined as being equal to the mass of the international prototype of the kilogram. It is the only SI base unit that employs a prefix, and the only SI unit that is still defined in relation to an artefact rather than to a fundamental physical property.

A kilogram is equivalent to 2.205 avoirdupois pounds in the Imperial system that is used in the United States.

 

In the physical sciences, weight is the downward force exerted on matter as a result of gravity. An object's weight is equal to its mass multiplied by the magnitude of the gravitational field. The word entered Old English sometime around the 9th century, and meant the quantity measured with a balance. The word "weight" is commonly used synonymously with "mass", though the two concepts are technically quite distinct.

 

Systems of units of weight (force) and mass have a tangled history, partly because the distinction was not properly understood when many of the units first came into use.

 

SI units

In most modern scientific work, physical quantities are measured in SI units. The SI unit of mass (and hence weight in some everyday senses) is the kilogram. The SI unit of force (and hence weight in the mechanics sense) is the newton (N) which can also be expressed in SI base units as kgm/s (kilograms times metres per second squared).

The gravitational force exerted on an object is proportional to the mass of the object, so it is reasonable to think of the strength of gravity as measured in terms of force per unit mass, that is, newtons per kilogram (N/kg). However, the unit N/kg resolves to m/s; (metres per second per second), which is the SI unit of acceleration, and in practice gravitational strength is usually quoted as an acceleration.

 

The pound and other non-SI units

In United States customary units, the pound can be either a unit of force or a unit of mass. Related units used in some distinct, separate subsystems of units include the poundal and the slug. The poundal is defined as the force necessary to accelerate a one-pound object at 1 ft/s, and is equivalent to about 1/32 of a pound (force). The slug is defined as the amount of mass that accelerates at 1 ft/s when a pound of force is exerted on it, and is equivalent to about 32 pounds (mass).

The kilogram-force is a non-SI unit of force, defined as the force exerted by a one-kilogram mass in standard Earth gravity (equal to 9.80665 newtons exactly). The dyne is the cgs unit of force and is not a part of SI, while weights measured in the cgs unit of mass, the gram, remain a part of SI.

 

Conversion between weight (force) and mass

To convert between weight (force) and mass we use Newton's second law, F = ma (force = mass acceleration). Here, F is the force due to gravity, m is the mass of the object in question, and a is the acceleration due to gravity, on Earth approximately 9.8 m/s or 32.2 ft/s). In this context the same equation is often written as W = mg, with W standing for weight, and g for the acceleration due to gravity.