Pounds per square inch

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Pound per square inch
A pressure gauge reading in psi (red scale) and kPa (black scale)
General information
Unit system Imperial units, US customary units
Unit of Pressure, Stress
1 psi in ...... is equal to ...
    SI units    6.894757 kPa

The pound per square inch or, more accurately, pound-force per square inch (symbol: lbf/in2; [1] abbreviation: psi) is a unit of pressure or of stress based on avoirdupois units. It is the pressure resulting from a force of one pound-force applied to an area of one square inch. In SI units, 1 psi is approximately equal to 6895 N/m2.


Pounds per square inch absolute (psia) is used to make it clear that the pressure is relative to a vacuum rather than the ambient atmospheric pressure. Since atmospheric pressure at sea level is around 14.7 psi (101 kilopascals ), this will be added to any pressure reading made in air at sea level. The converse is pounds per square inch gauge (psig), indicating that the pressure is relative to atmospheric pressure. For example, a bicycle tire pumped up to 65 psig in a local atmospheric pressure at sea level (14.7 psia) will have a pressure of 79.7 psia (14.7 psi + 65 psi). [2] [3] When gauge pressure is referenced to something other than ambient atmospheric pressure, then the units would be pounds per square inch differential (psid).


The kilopound per square inch (ksi) is a scaled unit derived from psi, equivalent to a thousand psi (1000 lbf/in2).

ksi are not widely used for gas pressures. They are mostly used in materials science, where the tensile strength of a material is measured as a large number of psi. [4]

The conversion in SI units is 1 ksi = 6.895 MPa, or 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.

The megapound per square inch (Mpsi) is another multiple equal to a million psi. It is used in mechanics for the elastic modulus of materials, especially for metals. [5]

The conversion in SI units is 1 Mpsi = 6.895 GPa, or 1 GPa = 0.145 Mpsi.



The conversions to and from SI are computed from exact definitions but result in an inexact number that must be rounded at some point. [6] [7]

As the pascal is very small unit, relative to industrial pressures, the kilopascal is commonly used. 1000 kPa ≈ 145 lbf/in2.

Approximate conversions (rounded to some arbitrary number of digits, except when denoted by "≡") are shown in the following table.

Pressure units
Pascal Bar Technical atmosphere Standard atmosphere Torr Pounds per square inch
1 Pa≡ 1 N/m210−51.0197×10−59.8692×10−67.5006×10−30.000 145 037 737 730
1 bar105≡ 100 kPa

 106  dyn/cm2

1.01970.98692750.0614.503 773 773 022
1 at98066.50.980665≡ 1 kgf/cm20.967 841 105 354 1735.559 240 114.223 343 307 120 3
1 atm1013251.013251.0332176014.695 948 775 514 2
1 Torr133.322 368 4210.001 333 2240.001 359 511/760 ≈ 0.001 315 7891 Torr

≈ 1  mmHg

0.019 336 775
1 lbf/in26894.757 293 1680.068 947 5730.070 306 9580.068 045 96451.714 932 572≡ 1 lbf/in2

See also

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  1. IEEE Standard Letter Symbols for Units of Measurement (SI Units, Customary Inch-Pound Units, and Certain Other Units), IEEE Std 260.1™-2004 (Revision of IEEE Std 260.1-1993)
  2. "Glossary of Industrial Air Cleaning Technology". United Air Specialists, Inc. Archived from the original on August 1, 2011.
  3. "Gage v. Sealed v. Absolute pressure" (PDF). Dynisco.
  4. "Tensile Strength of Steel and Other Metals". All Metals & Forge Group. Retrieved 2016-07-26. A metal’s yield strength and ultimate tensile strength values are expressed in tons per square inch, pounds per square inch or thousand pounds (KSI) per square inch. For example, a tensile strength of a steel that can withstand 40,000 pounds of force per square inch may be expressed as 40,000 PSI or 40 KSI (with K being the [multiplier] for thousands of pounds). The tensile strength of steel may also be shown in MPa, or megapascal.
  5. An example of the use of Mpsi in mechanics for the elastic moduli of several materials
  6. BS 350: Part 1: 1974 – Conversion factors and tables. British Standards Institution. 1974. p. 49. ISBN   0 580 08471 X.
  7. NIST Special Publication 811 – Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI) (PDF). National Institute of Standards and Technology. 2008. p. 66.