Joule  

Unit system  SI derived unit 
Unit of  Energy 
Symbol  J 
Named after  James Prescott Joule 
Conversions  
1 J in ...  ... is equal to ... 
SI base units  kg⋅m ^{2}⋅s ^{−2} 
CGS units  1×10^{7} erg 
Wattseconds  1 W⋅s 
kilowatthours  ≈2.78×10^{−7} kW⋅h 
kilocalories (thermochemical)  2.390×10^{−4} kcal_{th} 
BTUs  9.48×10^{−4} BTU 
The joule ( /dʒaʊl,dʒuːl/ jowl, jool;^{ [1] }^{ [2] }^{ [3] } symbol: J) is a derived unit of energy in the International System of Units.^{ [4] } It is equal to the energy transferred to (or work done on) an object when a force of one newton acts on that object in the direction of the force's motion through a distance of one metre (1 newton metre or N⋅m). It is also the energy dissipated as heat when an electric current of one ampere passes through a resistance of one ohm for one second. It is named after the English physicist James Prescott Joule (1818–1889).^{ [5] }^{ [6] }^{ [7] }
In terms firstly of base SI units and then in terms of other SI units, a joule is defined as
where
Symbol  Meaning 

J  joule 
kg  kilogram 
m  metre 
s  second 
N  newton 
Pa  pascal 
W  watt 
C  coulomb 
V  volt 
Ω  ohm 
A  ampere 
One joule can also be defined as the following:
The joule is named after James Prescott Joule . As with every SI unit named for a person, its symbol starts with an upper case letter (J), but when written in full it follows the rules for capitalisation of a common noun ; i.e., "joule" becomes capitalised at the beginning of a sentence and in titles, but is otherwise in lower case.
The cgs system had been declared official in 1881, at the first International Electrical Congress. The erg was adopted as its unit of energy in 1882. Wilhelm Siemens, in his inauguration speech as chairman of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (23 August 1882) first proposed the Joule as unit of heat, to be derived from the electromagnetic units Ampere and Ohm, in cgs units equivalent to 10^{7} erg. The naming of the unit in honour of James Prescott Joule (1818–1889), at the time retired but still living (aged 63), is due to Siemens:
At the second International Electrical Congress, on 31 August 1889, the joule was officially adopted alongside the watt and the quadrant (later renamed to henry).^{ [9] } Joule died in the same year, on 11 October 1889. At the fourth congress (1893), the "international Ampere" and "international Ohm" were defined, with slight changes in the specifications for their measurement, with the "international Joule" being the unit derived from them.
In 1935, the International Electrotechnical Commission (as the successor organisation of the International Electrical Congress) adopted the "Giorgi system", which by virtue of assuming a defined value for the magnetic constant also implied a redefinition of the Joule. The Giorgi system was approved by the International Committee for Weights and Measures in 1946. The joule was now no longer defined based on electromagnetic unit, but instead as the unit of work performed by one unit of force (at the time not yet named newton) over the distance of 1 metre. The joule was explicitly intended as the unit of energy to be used in both electromagnetic and mechanical contexts.^{ [10] } The ratification of the definition at the ninth General Conference on Weights and Measures, in 1948, added the specification that the joule was also to be preferred as the unit of heat in the context of calorimetry, thereby officially deprecating the use of the calorie.^{ [11] } This definition was the direct precursor of the joule as adopted in the modern International System of Units in 1960.
The definition of the joule as J=kg⋅m^{2}⋅s^{−2} has remained unchanged since 1946, but the joule as a derived unit has inherited changes in the definitions of the second (in 1960 and 1967), the metre (in 1983) and the kilogram (in 2019).
One joule represents (approximately):

1 joule is equal to (approximately unless otherwise stated):
Units defined exactly in terms of the joule include:
In mechanics, the concept of force (in some direction) has a close analogue in the concept of torque (about some angle):
Linear  Angular 

Force  Torque 
Mass  Moment of inertia 
Displacement  Angle 
A result of this similarity is that the SI unit for torque is the newtonmetre, which works out algebraically to have the same dimensions as the joule, but are not interchangeable. The General Conference on Weights and Measures has given the unit of energy the name joule, but has not given the unit of torque any special name, hence it is simply the newtonmetre (N⋅m) – a compound name derived from its constituent parts.^{ [24] } The use of newton metres for torque and joules for energy is helpful to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications.^{ [24] }
The distinction may be seen also in the fact that energy is a scalar quantity – the dot product of a force vector and a displacement vector. By contrast, torque is a vector – the cross product of a force vector and a distance vector. Torque and energy are related to one another by the equation
where E is energy, τ is (the vector magnitude of) torque, and θ is the angle swept (in radians). Since plane angles are dimensionless, it follows that torque and energy have the same dimensions.
A wattsecond (symbol W s or W·s) is a derived unit of energy equivalent to the joule.^{ [25] } The wattsecond is the energy equivalent to the power of one watt sustained for one second. While the wattsecond is equivalent to the joule in both units and meaning, there are some contexts in which the term "wattsecond" is used instead of "joule".^{[ why? ]}
In photography, the unit for flashes is the wattsecond. A flash can be rated in wattseconds (e.g., 300 W⋅s) or in joules (different names for the same thing), but historically, the term "wattsecond" has been used and continues to be used.
The energy rating a flash is given is not a reliable benchmark for its light output because there are numerous factors that affect the energy conversion efficiency. For example, the construction of the tube will affect the efficiency, and the use of reflectors and filters will change the usable light output towards the subject. Some companies specify their products in "true" wattseconds, and some specify their products in "nominal" wattseconds.^{ [26] }
The British thermal unit is a unit of heat; it is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. It is also part of the United States customary units. Heat is now known to be equivalent to energy. The modern SI unit for heat and energy is the joule (J); one BTU equals about 1,055 J.
The calorie is a unit of energy defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a quantity of water by one degree from 15 degrees Celsius.
In physics, an electronvolt is the amount of kinetic energy gained by a single electron accelerating from rest through an electric potential difference of one volt in vacuum. When used as a unit of energy, the numerical value of 1 eV in joules is equivalent to the numerical value of the charge of an electron in coulombs. Under the 2019 redefinition of the SI base units, this sets 1 eV equal to the exact value 1.602176634×10^{−19} J.
In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to a body or physical system to perform work on the body, or to heat it. Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. The unit of measurement in the International System of Units (SI) of energy is the joule, which is the energy transferred to an object by the work of moving it a distance of one metre against a force of one newton.
In physics, the kinetic energy of an object is the energy that it possesses due to its motion. It is defined as the work needed to accelerate a body of a given mass from rest to its stated velocity. Having gained this energy during its acceleration, the body maintains this kinetic energy unless its speed changes. The same amount of work is done by the body when decelerating from its current speed to a state of rest.
In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, power is sometimes called activity. Power is a scalar quantity.
In physics and mechanics, torque is the rotational equivalent of linear force. It is also referred to as the moment, moment of force, rotational force or turning effect, depending on the field of study. The concept originated with the studies by Archimedes of the usage of levers. Just as a linear force is a push or a pull, a torque can be thought of as a twist to an object around a specific axis. Another definition of torque is the product of the magnitude of the force and the perpendicular distance of the line of action of a force from the axis of rotation. The symbol for torque is typically or τ, the lowercase Greek letter tau. When being referred to as moment of force, it is commonly denoted by M.
Thermodynamic temperature is the measure of absolute temperature and is one of the principal parameters of thermodynamics. A thermodynamic temperature reading of zero denotes the point at which the fundamental physical property that imbues matter with a temperature, transferable kinetic energy due to atomic motion, begins. In science, thermodynamic temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale and the unit of measure is the kelvin. For comparison, a temperature of 295 K is a comfortable one, equal to 21.85 °C and 71.33 °F.
The newton 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.
In physics, work is the energy transferred to or from an object via the application of force along a displacement. In its simplest form, it is often represented as the product of force and displacement. A force is said to do positive work if it has a component in the direction of the displacement of the point of application. A force does negative work if it has a component opposite to the direction of the displacement at the point of application of the force.
The kilowatthour is a unit of energy equal to 3600 kilojoules (3.6 megajoules). The kilowatthour is commonly used as a billing unit for energy delivered to consumers by electric utilities.
Food energy is chemical energy that animals derive from their food and molecular oxygen through the process of cellular respiration. Cellular respiration involves either the process of joining oxygen from air with the molecules of food or the process of reorganizing the atoms within the molecules.
Heat capacity or thermal capacity is a physical property of matter, defined as the amount of heat to be supplied to a given mass of a material to produce a unit change in its temperature. The SI unit of heat capacity is joule per kelvin (J/K).
The newtonmetre is a unit of torque in the SI system. One newtonmetre is equal to the torque resulting from a force of one newton applied perpendicularly to the end of a moment arm that is one metre long. The nonstandard notation Nm occurs in some fields.
Joule heating, also known as resistive, resistance, or Ohmic heating, is the process by which the passage of an electric current through a conductor produces heat.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to energy:
Specific energy or massic energy is energy per unit mass. It is also sometimes called gravimetric energy density, or just energy density though energy density more precisely means energy per unit volume. It is used to quantify, for example, stored heat and other thermodynamic properties of substances such as specific internal energy, specific enthalpy, specific Gibbs free energy, and specific Helmholtz free energy. It may also be used for the kinetic energy or potential energy of a body. Specific energy is an intensive property, whereas energy and mass are extensive properties.
As energy is defined via work, the SI unit of energy is the same as the unit of work – the joule (J), named in honour of James Prescott Joule and his experiments on the mechanical equivalent of heat. In slightly more fundamental terms, 1 joule is equal to 1 newton metre and, in terms of SI base units
Metric units are units based on the metre, gram or second and decimal multiples or submultiples of these. The most widely used examples are the units of the International System of Units (SI). By extension they include units of electromagnetism from the CGS and SI units systems, and other units for which use of SI prefixes has become the norm. Other unit systems using metric units include:
The watt is a unit of power or radiant flux. In the International System of Units (SI), it is defined as a derived unit of 1 kg⋅m^{2}⋅s^{−3} or, equivalently, 1 joule per second. It is used to quantify the rate of energy transfer. The watt is named after James Watt (17361819), an 18thcentury Scottish inventor.
A derived unit can often be expressed in different ways by combining base units with derived units having special names. Joule, for example, may formally be written newton metre, or kilogram metre squared per second squared. This, however, is an algebraic freedom to be governed by common sense physical considerations; in a given situation some forms may be more helpful than others. In practice, with certain quantities, preference is given to the use of certain special unit names, or combinations of unit names, to facilitate the distinction between different quantities having the same dimension.