Foot-Pounds vs. Newton Meters: Jalopnik Goes to School

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

So we mentioned in our R10 post from earlier that we didn't get the whole lb. ft. And because our addled little brain is somewhat screwy when it comes to physics (we did well in Honors Bio but struggled through high-school Chemistry and didn't bother with physics if it involves math, forget it). And we could've saved ourselves a lot of embarrassment if we'd just looked up a conversion table on this glorious interweb at our fingertips. But we didn't. Anyway, kindly reader Weston writes in and explains the whole damn thing. Click through to humiliate us further.


I'm hoping you guys were kidding when you said that you couldn't figure out the conversion from Newton*meters to foot*pounds. If not, I'll explain it. First of all, Newtons and pounds are both units of force, not energy, and 1 Newton = 1 (kilogram*meter)/seconds^2. Therefore, you can write 1100 Newton*meters as 1100 kilograms*(meters^2/second^2). Next, you convert kilograms to slugs, the English unit of mass, by multiplying by approximately 0.0685. Then, you convert square meters to square feet by multiplying by approximately 10.764. It looks like this:

1100 kilograms*(meters/second)^2 * 0.0685 slugs/kilogram * 10.764 feet^2/meters^2 = 811.07 slugs * (feet/second)^2

Since slugs*feet/second^2 is pounds, this turns into 811.07 foot*pounds or 811.07 pound*feet, whatever you prefer. Sorry for the science lesson, but I thought you might want to know. You could also take the easy way out and just type "1100 N*m to ft*lb" into Google (without the quotes, obvs) to get 811.32 foot*pounds. Car companies should consider listing torque in slug*feet square/second squared because "slug" sounds more manly than "pound".


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