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A newton metre is a unit of torque (also called "moment") in the SI system. The symbolic form is N m or N·m,[1] and sometimes hyphenated newton-metre. One newton metre is equal to the torque resulting from a force of one newton applied perpendicularly to a moment arm which is one metre long.

Torque force equivalence at one meter leverage.png

It is also used less commonly as a unit of work, or energy, in which case it is equivalent to the more common and standard SI unit of energy, the joule.[2] In this very different usage the metre term represents the distance travelled or displacement in the direction of the force, and not the perpendicular distance from a fulcrum as it does when used to express torque. This usage is discouraged by the SI authority, since it can lead to confusion as to whether a given quantity expressed in newton metres is a torque or a quantity of energy.[3]

Conversion factors

  • 1 newton metre = 0.7375621 pound-foot (often (incorrectly) "foot-pound")
  • 1 kilogram-force metre = 9.80665 Nm[4][5]
  • 1 pound-foot (often (incorrectly) "foot-pound") = 1 pound force foot ≈ 1.3558 Nm
  • 1 inch ounce-force = 7.0615518 mNm
  • 1 dyne centimetre = 10−7 Nm

See also

  • Bending moment
  • Spring scale
  • Torque tester


  1. BIPM - unit symbols
  2. For example: Eshbach's handbook of engineering fundamentals - 10.4 Engineering Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer "In SI units the basic unit of energy is Newton-Meter".
  3. BIPM - special names
  4. Mechanical Engineering Formulas Pocket Guide, p6
  5. Concise encyclopedia of plastics, by Donald V. Rosato, Marlene G. Rosato, Dominick V. Rosato, p621

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