Newton units can sound like complex units of measurement, and in some cases they are. However, we can thank them for the majority of technological and travel advancements we enjoy today.

    If the idea of converting measurements sounds like too large of a task, don't worry. Try out our free calculator to receive accurate conversions of Newtons and their derived units in a matter of seconds, no equation required.

    In this article, we will discuss the history of the Newton, why it was created and how we continue to use it today. By the end of this guide, you'll know the simplest way to use this unit in your own life.


    What is a newton?

    Commonly written as "N," it is the si unit of force.

    While the unit may be named after the great scientist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton, the system wasn't used until hundreds of years after his work.


    Unlike imperial or metric units (both of which were founded in the 1800s) this measurement was a much more recent development.

    It was built on the foundation of Isaac Newton's

    second law of motion
    (which states that F=ma) but only came into place in 1946, making it a relatively young concept.


    The definition of "one Newton" is the force needed to accelerate the mass of one kilogram at the rate of one meter per second squared in the direction of the applied force.


    The measurement was introduced to the public at the General Conference of Weight and Measures and has been set into action ever since.

    Though the creation of the measurement units was based on Newton's second law of motion, the adaptation can actually be credited to a large team of gifted scientists.

    What does one newton equal?

    When viewed as an equation, one Newton can be defined as:

    1 N = 1 kg-m/s2

    In the equation, N represents the Newton while kg equals kilograms and m/s2 equals meters per second squared.

    This equation is commonly used by engineers and builders while developing systems involving units of weight and speeds.

    If that equation seems complex, remember you can always use a specialty calculator to determine the amount of Newtons exerted.

    There are also many force calculators you can utilize online.

    How do you convert newtons?

    How you convert Newtons depends greatly on the unit you choose. Each rate of conversion comes with its own equation. Below is a handy conversion table.

    The unit you choose will typically depend on the purpose of measurement as well as the location in which the measurement will be read.

    Two common conversions are into pound force (lbf) and kilograms (kg).

    How To: Newtons to Kilograms

    If you're trying to convert Newtons to kilograms you'll want to use the equation that 9.81 Newtons equals one kilogram.

    Kilograms = Newtons / 9.81

    Simply, divide by 9.81 to get your kilogram equivalent.

    How To: Newtons to Pound Force

    If you were looking to convert Newtons to pound-force, you would use the equation 1 pound force equals 4.4482216 Newtons.

    Pound-Force = Newtons / 4.4482216

    Same as above, you'll divide by that number to convert to pound force.

    What are real-life applications of newtons?

    While it may sound complex, these units are used every day in a number of real-life applications.

    For example, the Newton can be used to determine the average gravity on earth or even the weight of an apple.

    Aircrafts and Vehicles

    You can often find this measurement being used to determine the thrust of a fighter jet.

    We can also thank newtons for helping us calculate the thrust of rocket engines and even for turning on our vehicles.


    Large load shipments depend on Newtons to determine tension and shear, and an expert rock climber may use the equation to determine which equipment is right for a specific climb.


    These units are also used commonly within the building industry when determining the holding values of earth anchors or fasteners.

    If it involves weight, machines, and speeds you can bet that these units were used somewhere in the creation process.

    Why was this unit invented?

    Newton units were invented out of a need for more adequate weight measurements that can be used on a grander scale without the need for complex conversions.

    With a standard unit of weight that took force into account, measurements could be taken on multiple planes and dimensions.

    The need was birthed out of the technological advancements occurring in the 1960s, more specifically advancements in travel such as trains, vehicles, and air travel.

    The force equation was a valuable asset for advancements within the military while engineers developed fighter jets that needed to travel a great distance at rapid speeds.

    Keeping our military safe is just one of the many benefits of the Newton.

    As a result of this development, future inventions were made much safer both for the people and physical goods.

    Through the use of this measurement, both travel and shipping have become more effective, and for some industries more more profitable.

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