|Unit system||English Engineering units, British Gravitational System|
|SI units||4.448222 N|
|CGS units||444,822.2 dyn|
|Absolute English System||32.17405 pdl|
The pound of force or pound-force (symbol: lbf, sometimes lbf,) is a unit of force used in some systems of measurement including English Engineering units[a] and the foot-pound-second system. Pound-force should not be confused with foot-pound, a unit of energy, or pound-foot, a unit of torque, that may be written as "lbf?ft"; nor should these be confused with pound-mass (symbol: lb), often simply called pound, which is a unit of mass.
The pound-force is equal to the gravitational force exerted on a mass of one avoirdupois pound on the surface of Earth. Since the 18th century, the unit has been used in low-precision measurements, for which small changes in Earth's gravity (which varies from place to place by up to half a percent) can safely be neglected.
The 20th century, however, brought the need for a more precise definition. A standardized value for acceleration due to gravity was therefore needed.
This definition can be rephrased in terms of the slug. A slug has a mass of 32.174049 lb. A pound-force is the amount of force required to accelerate a slug at a rate of , so:
|1 N||? 1kg?m/s2||= 105dyn||? 0.10197kp||? 0.22481lbf||? 7.2330pdl|
|The value of gn as used in the official definition of the kilogram-force is used here for all gravitational units.|
In some contexts, the term "pound" is used almost exclusively to refer to the unit of force and not the unit of mass. In those applications, the preferred unit of mass is the slug, i.e. lbf?s2/ft. In other contexts, the unit "pound" refers to a unit of mass. The international standard symbol for the pound as a unit of mass is lb.
|2nd law of motion||m = F/a||F = W ⋅ a/g||F = m ⋅ a|
|Pressure (p)||pound per square inch||technical atmosphere||pound-force per square inch||standard atmosphere||poundal per square foot||barye||pieze||pascal|
In the "engineering" systems (middle column), the weight of the mass unit (pound-mass) on Earth's surface is approximately equal to the force unit (pound-force). This is convenient because one pound mass exerts one pound force due to gravity. Note, however, unlike the other systems the force unit is not equal to the mass unit multiplied by the acceleration unit--the use of Newton's second law, , requires another factor, gc, usually taken to be 32.174049 (lb?ft)/(lbf?s2). "Absolute" systems are coherent systems of units: by using the slug as the unit of mass, the "gravitational" FPS system (left column) avoids the need for such a constant. The SI is an "absolute" metric system with kilogram and meter as base units.
The term pound of thrust is an alternative name for pound-force in specific contexts. It is frequently seen in US sources on jet engines and rocketry, some of which continue to use the FPS notation. For example, the thrust produced by each of the Space Shuttle's two Solid Rocket Boosters is 3,300,000 pounds-force (14.7 MN), together 6,600,000 pounds-force (29.36 MN).
The value adopted in the International Service of Weights and Measures for the standard acceleration due to Earth's gravity is , value already stated in the laws of some countries.
This value was the conventional reference for calculating the kilogram-force, a unit of force whose use has been deprecated since the introduction of SI.
Thrust: combined thrust 29.36 MN SL (maximum thrust at launch reducing by 1/3 after 50 s)