Converting Mass Units Into Force Units


Recall from your physics course that force is defined by the relationship:


F = ma


where m is the mass and a is the acceleration experienced by the mass in response to application of the force, F. The most frequently used standard unit of force measurement in physiology and the only unit that most major research journals will accept is the Newton (N), whose units are kgms-2, although the dyne (gcms-2 = 10-5 N) may be more appropriate in some situations.

You can use this relationship to convert tension measurements from units of mass (calculated by reference to the 50 g scale line) to units of force by simply substituting the Tension (in kilograms) into the above equation and multiplying it by the appropriate acceleration, which is in this case the acceleration due to gravity, g = 9.80 ms-2.