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The pascal (symbol: Pa) is the SI derived unit of pressure, stress, Young's modulus and tensile strength. It is a measure of force per unit area, defined as one newton per square metre. In everyday life, the pascal is perhaps best known from meteorological barometric pressure reports, where it occurs in the form of hectopascals(1 hPa ≡ 100 Pa) or kilopascals (1 kPa = 1000 Pa). In other contexts, the kilopascal is commonly used, for example on bicycle tire labels. One hectopascal corresponds to about 0.1% and one kilopascal to about 1% of atmospheric pressure (near sea level). One hectopascal is equivalent to one millibar; one atmosphere is exactly equal to 1013.25 hPa.


1 pascal (Pa) = 1 N/m2 = 1 kg/(m·s2)


The unit is named after Blaise Pascal, the eminent Frenchmarker mathematician, physicist, and philosopher noted for his experiments with a barometer, an instrument to measure air pressure.The name pascal was adopted for the SI unit newton per square metre by the 14th CGPM in 1971. [10351]


Standard atmospheric pressure is 101,325 Pa = 101.325 kPa = 1013.25 hPa = 1013.25 mbar = 760 Torr. This definition is used for pneumatic fluid power (ISO R554), and in the aerospace (ISO 2533) and petroleum (ISO 5024) industries.

In 1985, IUPAC recommended that standard atmospheric pressure should be harmonized to 100,000 Pa = 1 bar = 750 Torr. The same definition is used in the compressor and the pneumatic tool industries (ISO 2787).

The Unicode computer character set has dedicated symbols ( ) for Pa and ( ) for kPa, but these exist merely for backward-compatibility with some older ideographic character-sets and are therefore deprecated.


The pascal (Pa) or kilopascal (kPa) as a unit of pressure measurement is widely used throughout the world and largely replaces the pounds per square inch (psi) unit except in some countries still using the Imperial measurement system.

Tectonophysicists use the gigapascal (GPa) in measuring or calculating tectonic forces within the earth.

Another unit for pressure measurement in common use today is millimetres of water (1 mm H2O = 9.80665 Pa).

Meteorologists worldwide have for a long time measured atmospheric pressure in millibars. After the introduction of SI units, many preferred to preserve the customary pressure figures. Therefore, meteorologists use hectopascals (hPa) today for air pressure, which are equivalent to millibars, while similar pressures are given in kilopascals in practically all other fields, where the hecto prefix is hardly ever used. Since official metrication, meteorologists in Canada use kilopascals (kPa), see for example CTV News, weather; current conditions in Montreal and CBC weather, current conditions in Montreal, although in some other countries hectopascals are still in use, see for example KNMI, KMI, DWD, JMA, MDD and NOAA.

1 hectopascal (hPa) ≡ 100 Pa ≡ 1 mbar.
1 kilopascal (kPa) ≡ 1000 Pa ≡ 10 hPa ≡ 10 mbar.

In the cgs system, the unit of pressure is the barye (symbol ba), which is equal to one decipascal.

In the former mts system, the unit of pressure is the pièze (symbol pz), which is equal to one kilopascal.

Vehicle owners' guides now specify tire inflation in kilopascals.

Airtightness testing of buildings is measured at 50 Pa or 0.2 inches of water.

See also


  1. U.S. Federal Meteorological Handbook
  2. ISO 5775: Bicycle tires and rims
  3. Table 3 (Section 2.2.2), SI Brochure, International Bureau of Weights and Measures

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