Orders of magnitude (force)

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

Factor (N) Value Item
3.6×1047N Gravitational attraction of the proton and the electron in hydrogen atom[1]
8.9×1030N Weight of an electron[1]
1.6×1026N Weight of a hydrogen atom[1]
yoctonewton (yN)
5yN 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]
8.2×108N Force on an electron in a hydrogen atom[1]
2×107N 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 19-92mN Thrust of the NSTAR ion engine tested on NASA's space probe Deep Space 1[10]

1 N and above

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


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 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". 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. 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:1004.0780Freely accessible. detection of forces as small as 174 yN
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Forces involved at the biological level". PicoTwist. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  7. "E. coli Statistics". The CyberCell Database. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
  8. Calculated: weight = mass * g = 1e-15 kg * 9.81 m/s^2 = 1e-14 N
  9. http://www.lisa-science.org/list/list_meetings/potsdam_2006/lpf-presentation.pdf
  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
  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
  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. 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. http://www.ridgecrest.ca.us/~do_while/sage/v5i5d.htm
  27. 1 2 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

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