|Unit system||SI derived unit|
|Unit of||Electric charge|
|Named after||Charles-Augustin de Coulomb|
|1 C in ...||... is equal to ...|
|SI base units||A⋅s|
|CGS units||2997924580 statC|
|Atomic units||6.24150934(14)e×10 18|
Name and notation
This SI unit is named after Charles-Augustin de Coulomb. As with every International System of Units (SI) unit named for a person, the first letter of its symbol is upper case (C). However, when an SI unit is spelled out in English, it is treated as a common noun and should always begin with a lower case letter (coulomb)—except in a situation where any word in that position would be capitalized, such as at the beginning of a sentence or in material using title case.
The SI system defines the coulomb in terms of the ampere and second: 1 C = 1 A × 1 s. The ampere is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the elementary charge e to be 1.602176634×10−19 when expressed in the unit A s, where the second is defined in terms of ∆νCs.
Since the charge of one electron is −1.602176634×10−19 C, −1 C is the charge of approximately 6.241509×1018 electrons or +1 C the charge of that many positrons or protons, where the number is the reciprocal of 1.602177×10−19.
By 1873, the British Association for the Advancement of Science had defined the volt, ohm, and farad, but not the coulomb. In 1881, the International Electrical Congress, now the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), approved the volt as the unit for electromotive force, the ampere as the unit for electric current, and the coulomb as the unit of electric charge. At that time, the volt was defined as the potential difference [i.e., what is nowadays called the "voltage (difference)"] across a conductor when a current of one ampere dissipates one watt of power. The coulomb (later "absolute coulomb" or "abcoulomb" for disambiguation) was part of the EMU system of units. The "international coulomb" based on laboratory specifications for its measurement was introduced by the IEC in 1908. The entire set of "reproducible units" was abandoned in 1948 and the "international coulomb" became the modern Coulomb.
The 2019 redefinition of the ampere and other SI base units fixed the numerical value of the elementary charge to exactly 1.602176634×10−19 when expressed in coulombs, and therefore fixed the value of the coulomb when expressed as a multiple of the fundamental charge (the numerical values of those quantities are the multiplicative inverses of each other).
|Value||SI symbol||Name||Value||SI symbol||Name|
|10−1 C||dC||decicoulomb||101 C||daC||decacoulomb|
|10−2 C||cC||centicoulomb||102 C||hC||hectocoulomb|
|10−3 C||mC||millicoulomb||103 C||kC||kilocoulomb|
|10−6 C||µC||microcoulomb||106 C||MC||megacoulomb|
|10−9 C||nC||nanocoulomb||109 C||GC||gigacoulomb|
|10−12 C||pC||picocoulomb||1012 C||TC||teracoulomb|
|10−15 C||fC||femtocoulomb||1015 C||PC||petacoulomb|
|10−18 C||aC||attocoulomb||1018 C||EC||exacoulomb|
|10−21 C||zC||zeptocoulomb||1021 C||ZC||zettacoulomb|
|10−24 C||yC||yoctocoulomb||1024 C||YC||yottacoulomb|
|Common multiples are in bold face.|
See also Metric prefix.
- One coulomb is the magnitude (absolute value) of electrical charge in 6.241509126(38)×1018 protons or electrons.
- The inverse of this number gives the elementary charge of 1.602176634×10−19 C.
- The magnitude of the electrical charge of one mole of elementary charges (approximately 6.022×1023, the Avogadro number) is known as a faraday unit of charge (closely related to the Faraday constant). One faraday equals 96485.33212... coulombs. In terms of the Avogadro constant (NA), one coulomb is equal to approximately 1.036×10−5 mol × NA elementary charges.
- One ampere hour equals 3600 C, hence 1 mA⋅h = 3.6 C.
- One statcoulomb (statC), the obsolete CGS electrostatic unit of charge (esu), is approximately 3.3356×10−10 C or about one-third of a nanocoulomb.
Relation to elementary charge
The elementary charge, the charge of a proton (equivalently, the negative of the charge of an electron), is 1.602176634×10−19 C. With the 2019 redefinition of SI base units, as of 20 May 2019 the elementary charge in coulombs has an exact value: 1.602176634×10−19 C.
In everyday terms
- The charges in static electricity from rubbing materials together are typically a few microcoulombs.
- The amount of charge that travels through a lightning bolt is typically around 15 C, although for large bolts this can be up to 350 C.
- The amount of charge that travels through a typical alkaline AA battery from being fully charged to discharged is about 5 kC = 5000 C ≈ 1400 mA⋅h.
- Abcoulomb, a cgs unit of charge
- Ampère's circuital law
- Coulomb's law
- Elementary charge
- Faraday constant, the number of coulombs per mole
Notes and references
- 6.241509126(38)×1018 is the reciprocal of the 2014 CODATA recommended value 1.6021766208(98)×10−19 for the elementary charge in coulomb.
- "SI Brochure (2019)" (PDF). SI Brochure. BIPM. p. 127. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- "SI Brochure, Appendix 1" (PDF). BIPM. p. 144.
- "SI brochure (2019)" (PDF). SI Brochure. BIPM. p. 130. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- "SI brochure (2019)" (PDF). SI Brochure. BIPM. p. 132. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- "CODATA Value: elementary charge". The NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty. US National Institute of Standards and Technology. 20 May 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
- W. Thomson, et al. (1873) "First report of the Committee for the Selection and Nomenclature of Dynamical and Electrical Units," Report of the 43rd Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Bradford, September 1873), pp. 222–225. From p. 223: "The "ohm," as represented by the original standard coil, is approximately 109 C.G.S. units of resistance ; the "volt" is approximately 108 C.G.S. units of electromotive force ; and the "farad" is approximately 1/109 of the C.G.S. unit of capacity."
- (Anon.) (September 24, 1881) "The Electrical Congress," The Electrician, 7 .
- Donald Fenna, A Dictionary of Weights, Measures, and Units, OUP (2002), 51f.
- "CODATA Value: Faraday constant". The NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty. US National Institute of Standards and Technology. 20 May 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
- The 2019 redefinition is "The ampere, symbol A, is the SI unit of electric current. It is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the elementary charge e to be 1.602176634×10−19 when expressed in the unit C [...]."
- Martin Karl W. Pohl. "Physics: Principles with Applications" (PDF). DESY. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-18.
- Hasbrouck, Richard. Mitigating Lightning Hazards, Science & Technology Review May 1996. Retrieved on 2009-04-26.
- How to do everything with digital photography – David Huss, p. 23, at Google Books, "The capacity range of an AA battery is typically from 1100–2200 mAh."