Orders of magnitude (force)

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Force examples.svg

The following list shows different orders of magnitude of force.

Since weight under gravity is a force, several of these examples refer to the weight of various objects. Unless otherwise stated, these are weights under average Earth gravity at sea level.

Below 1 N[edit]

Factor (N) Value Item
3.6×10−47 N Gravitational attraction of the proton and the electron in hydrogen atom[1]
8.9×10−30 N Weight of an electron[1]
1.6×10−26 N Weight of a hydrogen atom[1]
yoctonewton (yN)
5 yN Force necessary to synchronize the motion of a single trapped ion with an external signal measured in a 2010 experiment[2][3]
10−22 170 yN Force measured in a 2010 experiment by perturbing 60 beryllium-9 ions[4][5]
femtonewton (fN)
10−14 ~10 fN Brownian motion force on an E. coli bacterium averaged over 1 second[6]
~10 fN Weight of an E. coli bacterium[7][8]
10−13 ~100 fN Force to stretch double-stranded DNA to 50% relative extension[6]
piconewton (pN)
~4 pN Force to break a hydrogen bond[6]
~5 pN Maximum force of a molecular motor[6]
10−10 ~160 pN Force to break a typical noncovalent bond[6]
nanonewton (nN)
~1.6 nN Force to break a typical covalent bond[6]
8.2×10−8 N Force on an electron in a hydrogen atom[1]
2×10−7 N Force between two 1 meter long conductors, 1 meter apart by the definition of one ampere
micronewton (μN)
1–150 μN Output of FEEP ion thrusters used in NASA's Laser Interferometer Space Antenna [9]
millinewton (mN)
10−2 19-92 mN Thrust of the NSTAR ion engine tested on NASA's space probe Deep Space 1[10]

1 N and above[edit]

Magnitude Value Item
newton (N) 1 N The weight of an average apple[11][12]
10 N 9.8 N One kilogram-force, nominal weight of a 1 kg object at sea level on Earth[13]
102 N 720 N Average force of human bite, measured at molars[14]
103 N
kilonewton (kN)
8 kN The maximum force achieved by weight lifters during a 'clean and jerk' lift[15] (During the clean part)
9 kN The bite force of one adult American alligator[16]
104 N 16.5 kN The bite force of a 5.2m Saltwater Crocodile[17]
18 kN The estimated bite force of a 6.1m adult great white shark[18]
25.5 to 34.5 kN The estimated bite force of a large 6.7m adult Saltwater Crocodile[19]
45 kN The force applied by the engine of a small car during peak acceleration[citation needed]
105 N 100 kN The average force applied by seatbelt and airbag to a restrained passenger in a car which hits a stationary barrier at 100 km/h[20]
890 kN Maximum pulling force (tractive effort) of a single large diesel-electric locomotive[1]
106 N
meganewton (MN)
1.8 MN Thrust of Space Shuttle Main Engine at lift-off[21][22][23]
1.9 MN Weight of the largest Blue Whale[1]
107 N 35 MN Thrust of Saturn V rocket at lift-off[24]
108 N 570 MN Simplistic estimate of force of sunlight on Earth[25]
109 N
giganewton (GN)
1020 N 2.0×1020 N Gravitational attraction between Earth and Moon[26]
1022 N 3.5×1022 N Gravitational attraction between Earth and Sun[27]
1032 N 2.25×1032 N Gravitational attraction between Sagittarius A* and Sun[27]
1044 N 1.2×1044 N The Planck force[28][29][30][31]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hugh D. Young, University Physics 4th Ed, 1992, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co, Inc.
  2. ^ Knünz, S.; Herrmann, M.; Batteiger, V.; Saathoff, G.; Hänsch, T.; Vahala, K.; Udem, T. (2010). "Injection Locking of a Trapped-Ion Phonon Laser" (PDF). Physical Review Letters. 105 (1): 013004. Bibcode:2010PhRvL.105a3004K. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.013004. PMID 20867440.
  3. ^ "Single atoms for detecting extremely weak forces". Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics. Archived from the original on 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  4. ^ Brumfiel, G. (2010). "Scientists measure atomic nudge". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2010.187.
  5. ^ M. J. Biercuk; H. Uys; J. W. Britton; A. P. VanDevender; J. J. Bollinger (9 Apr 2010). "YoctoNewton force detection sensitivity using trapped ions". arXiv:1004.0780. detection of forces as small as 174 yN
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Forces involved at the biological level". PicoTwist. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  7. ^ "E. coli Statistics". The CyberCell Database. Archived from the original on 2011-10-27. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
  8. ^ Calculated: weight = mass * g = 1e-15 kg * 9.81 m/s^2 = 1e-14 N
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2009-01-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "NSTAR Ion Thruster". NASA. Retrieved 9 January 2012. thrust from 19 mN to 92 mN
  11. ^ http://www.teachersource.com/Workshops/SuperWowNeatScienceforEveryonewithRonPerkins/NewtonsApple.aspx[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Lafferty, Peter & Julian Rowe. The Dictionary of Science. New York: Helicon, 1993: 404.
  13. ^ "Appendix B8—Factors for Units Listed Alphabetically". NIST Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI). NIST. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  14. ^ Houston T E, Bite Force and Bite Pressure: Comparisons of Humans and Dogs, 2003 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-01-24. Retrieved 2016-02-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ The Human Machine By R. McNeill Alexander, Mark Iley, Sally Alexander
  16. ^ Erickson, G. M.; Lappin, A. K.; Vliet, K. A. (2003). "The ontogeny of bite-force performance in American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)" (PDF). Journal of Zoology. 260 (3): 317. doi:10.1017/S0952836903003819. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-07. 9452 N
  17. ^ "Crocodiles Have Strongest Bite Ever Measured, Hands-on Tests Show". Retrieved 15 March 2012. The "winners"—saltwater crocodiles—slammed their jaws shut with 3,700 pounds per square inch (psi), or 16,460 newtons, of bite force.
  18. ^ "Great White Tops List of Hardest-Biting Sharks". Discovery News. Discovery Channel. Retrieved 21 January 2012. a bite force of 9,320 Newton at the tip of its jaws and 18,216 N at the back of its jaws
  19. ^ "Insights into the Ecology and Evolutionary Success of Crocodilians Revealed through Bite-Force and Tooth-Pressure Experimentation". Retrieved 14 March 2012. scientifically documented 6.7-meter long Crocodylus porosus individuals were likely capable of molariform bite forces of approximately 27,531 N to 34,424 N (6,187 to 7,736 lbs).
  20. ^ Lawrence Weinstein and John A. Adams, Guesstimation, 2008, Section 6.3.1
  21. ^ "Space Shuttle Main Engine". Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 109% power level at sea level: 418,000 lb
  22. ^ Wade, Mark. "SSME". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 27 October 2011. Launches normally used 104% ... as a maximum
  23. ^ Calculated: 418000 lbf * 4.45 N/lbf * (104% launch power level / 109%) = 1.77e6 N.
  24. ^ "What Was the Saturn V?". NASA. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2012. The rocket generated 34.5 million newtons ... of thrust at launch
  25. ^ 1.63 x 10−14 x gravitational attraction between Earth and Sun, assuming total absorption of sunlight Sunlight Exerts Pressure, NASA Glenn LTP Math & Science Resources
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2009-01-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ a b http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/961029b.html
  28. ^ Calculated: Planck length * Planck mass / (Planck time)^2 = 1.616e-35 m * 2.177e-8 kg / (5.391e-44)^2 = 1.21e44 N.
  29. ^ CODATA — Planck length
  30. ^ CODATA — Planck mass
  31. ^ CODATA — Planck time

External links[edit]