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The joule (Template:PronEng or Template:IPA) (symbol: J) is the SI unit of energy. It was named after James Prescott Joule for his work on the relationship between heat, electricity and mechanical work.


One joule is the work done, or energy expended, by a force of one newton moving one meter along the direction of the force. This quantity is also denoted as a newton-meter with the symbol N·m. Note that torque also has the same units as work, but the quantities are not identical. In elementary units:

One joule is also:

  • The work required to move an electric charge of one coulomb through an electrical potential difference of one volt; or one coulomb volt, with the symbol C·V.
  • The work done to produce power of one watt continuously for one second; or one watt second (compare kilowatt-hour), with the symbol W·s. Thus a kilowatt-hour is 3,600,000 joules or 3.6 megajoules


A joule is the mechanical equivalent of heat meaning the number of units of work in which the unit of heat can perform.. Its value was found by James Prescott Joule in experiments that showed the mechanical energy Joule's equivalent, and represented by the symbol J. The term was first introduced by Dr. Mayer of Heilbronn.


1 joule is exactly 107 ergs.

1 joule is approximately equal to:

Units defined in terms of the joule include:

Useful to remember:

  • 1 joule = 1 newton-metre = 1 watt-second

1 joule in everyday life is approximately:

  • the energy required to lift a small apple one meter straight up.
  • the energy released when that same apple falls one meter to the ground.
  • the amount of energy, as heat, that a quiet person produces every hundredth of a second.
  • the energy required to heat one gram of dry, cool air by 1 degree Celsius.
  • one hundredth of the energy a person can get by drinking a single drop of beer.

SI multiples

Template:SI multiples

Template:SI unit lowercase

See also


External links

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