Converting from nC to C is a common requirement you'll face with physics problems and equations; understanding the conversion rate can help you work through any problems.

    For easy conversions between various charge units, try our free nC to C calculator. Simply add an amount to convert in the field above, or select alternative units to work with.

    In the guide below, we're going over everything you need to know about coulombs and the related units. We take a closer look at what coulombs are, how to go from nC to C, and more.


    What are nC and C in physics?

    Nanocoulombs (nC) and coulombs (C) are units to designate electric charge. The standard unit used to indicate charge is the Coulomb.

    The Coulomb

    If we're getting technical, 1 coulomb (represented by the letter C) is equal to the charge carried by a current of 1 Ampere in 1 second.

    1 Coulomb = 1 Ampere * 1 second

    One electron is known to have a charge of about 1.602 * 10-19 C.

    Knowing this, we can figure out the charge of 1 coulomb. If 1 electron = 1.602 * 10-19 C, then:

    1 C = 6.24 * 1018 electrons

    The Nanocoulomb

    On the other hand, nC refers to nanocoulombs. 1 nanocoulomb is equal to 1 * 10-9 coulombs.

    1 nC = 1 * 10-9 C

    The nC unit is useful when talking about extremely small charges, like those between atoms.

    How do you convert from nC to C (and vice versa)?

    As we mentioned earlier, 1 nanocoulomb is equal to 1 * 10-9 coulombs.

    Inversely, 1 C is equal to 1 * 109 nanocoulombs. You can use these ratios in order to convert nC to C and vice versa. Below is a full conversion table.

    Nanocoulombs to Coulombs Example

    Let's say you have 5.7 nC and you want to figure out what that would be in coulombs. Your conversion equation would look something like this:

    5.7 nC * (1 C / 1 * 109 nC)

    = 5.7 e-9 C

    Coulombs to Nanocoulombs Example

    Let's say you have 1.9 coulombs and you want to convert that to nanocoulombs. Your conversion equation would look like this:

    1.9 C * (1 * 109 nC / 1 C)

    = 1.9 e9 nC

    Once you know the conversion rates between coulombs and nanocoulombs, the actual conversion is pretty simple.

    If you need extra help or want to double check your conversions, you can use our nC to C converter.

    When do you have to convert nC to C?

    If you understand Coulomb's law (more on this later) and coulombs as a unit, you might be confused where nanocoulombs come in.

    As already mentioned, it's standard to see extremely small units of charge expressed in nC.

    However, when calculating force, charge, and distance with Coulomb's law, you must be using the standard unit of coulombs, not nC.

    So if a problem gives you charge in terms of nC, you must convert them to C in order to use it in the formula.

    Similarly, you may be asked to give your answer in terms of nC instead of C.

    So you may calculate an answer with Coulomb's law in coulombs and then have to convert to nC to give the correct answer.

    When were coulombs discovered?

    Coulombs are named after the famous French physicist Charles-Augustin de Coulomb.

    His work was focused on electric forces between atoms and subatomic particles (electrons, protons, neutrons, etc).

    In 1785, Coulomb published a paper describing what's known as Coulomb's law where electric charge as "coulombs" was first discussed.

    Today, Coulomb's law is one of the fundamental equations for the study of electromagnetism.

    Some other notable scientists working on electromagnetism at the same time were Joseph Priestly, Charles Stanhope, and Henry Cavendish.

    While Coulomb was not the only physicist working on the relationship between force, electric charge, and distance, he was one of the first to have his work on the subject published.

    This is why it's his name that is linked with the concept.

    What is coulomb's law?

    The coulomb formula you'll see most often in the study of physics is Coulomb's law.

    This law refers to the relationship between force, charge, and distance between particles.

    The Equation

    The law states that the force (F) between two charges is equal to Coulomb's constant (represented as a lowercase k) multiplied by the two charges as coulombs (q1 and q2) divided by the square of the distance between the two charges (r).

    This can be confusing when explained with words, so let's look at the formula:

    F = k * ((q1*q2) / r2)

    Coulomb's constant (k) is equal to 9 e9 N·m2 C-2.

    Both q1 and q2 should be in Coulombs (C) and the distance measured in meters (m).

    This allows all the units to cancel properly to leave you with Newtons, giving you the answer as a unit of force.

    Interpreting The Resulting Force

    When the resulting force is a positive number (+F) that means that the force between the two charged objects is attractive.

    When the resulting force is a negative number (-F) that means that the force between the two charged objects is repulsive.

    This equation is used in many parts of physics, especially the study of electricity and magnetism.

    Final words?

    We hope that this guide to coulombs and nanocoulombs helped you understand a pretty complex subject.

    When you break it down to the fundamentals, coulombs and nanocoulombs are simply units to help us understand electric charge.

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