Joule vs. Calorie

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Joule and Calorie is that the Joule is a derived unit of energy, work, or amount of heat in the International System of Units and Calorie is a unit of energy.

  • Joule

    The joule (); (symbol: J), is a derived unit of energy in the International System of Units. It is equal to the energy transferred to (or work done on) an object when a force of one newton acts on that object in the direction of its motion through a distance of one metre (1 newton metre or N⋅m). It is also the energy dissipated as heat when an electric current of one ampere passes through a resistance of one ohm for one second. It is named after the English physicist James Prescott Joule (1818–1889).

    In terms firstly of base SI units and then in terms of other SI units:






















    {displaystyle {text{J}}={frac {{text{kg}}cdot {text{m}}^{2}}{{text{s}}^{2}}}={text{N}}cdot {text{m}}={text{Pa}}cdot {text{m}}^{3}={text{W}}cdot {text{s}}={text{C}}cdot {text{V}},}

    where kg is the kilogram, m is the metre, s is the second, N is the newton, Pa is the pascal, W is the watt, C is the coulomb, and V is the volt.

    One joule can also be defined as:

    The work required to move an electric charge of one coulomb through an electrical potential difference of one volt, or one “coulomb-volt” (C⋅V). This relationship can be used to define the volt.

    The work required to produce one watt of power for one second, or one “watt-second” (W⋅s) (compare kilowatt-hour – 3.6 megajoules). This relationship can be used to define the watt.

  • Calorie

    A calorie is a unit of energy. Various definitions exist but fall into two broad categories. The first, the small calorie, or gram calorie (symbol: cal), is defined as the approximate amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at a pressure of one atmosphere. The second is the large calorie or kilogram calorie (symbol: Cal), also known as the food calorie and similar names, is defined in terms of the kilogram rather than the gram. It is equal to 1000 small calories or 1 kilocalorie (symbol: kcal).

    Although these units relate to the metric system, all of them have been considered obsolete in science since the adoption of the SI system. The unit of energy in the International System of Units is the joule. One small calorie is approximately 4.2 joules (so one large calorie is about 4.2 kilojoules). The factor used to convert calories to joules at a given temperature is numerically equivalent to the specific heat capacity of water expressed in joules per kelvin per gram or per kilogram. The precise conversion factor depends on the definition adopted.

    In spite of its non-official status, the large calorie is still widely used as a unit of food energy. The small calorie is also often used for measurements in chemistry, although the amounts involved are typically recorded in kilocalories.

    The calorie was first defined by Nicolas Clément in 1824 as a unit of heat energy and entered French and English dictionaries between 1841 and 1867. The word comes from Latin calor, meaning ‘heat’. The large calorie was introduced to the American public by Wilbur Olin Atwater in 1887.

  • Joule (noun)

    In the International System of Units, the derived unit of energy, work and heat; the work required to exert a force of one newton for a distance of one metre. Also equal to the energy of one watt of power for a duration of one second. Symbol: J

    “The Greisen–Zatsepin–Kuzmin limit (GZK limit) is a theoretical upper limit on the energy of cosmic rays (high energy charged particles from space) coming from “distant” sources. The limit is 5×1019 eV, or about 8 joules. The limit is set by slowing-interactions of cosmic ray protons with the microwave background radiation over long distances (~163 million light-years). The limit is at the same order of magnitude as the upper limit for energy at which cosmic rays have experimentally been detected. For example, one ultra-high-energy cosmic ray has been detected which appeared to possess a record 50 joules (312 million TeV) of energy (about the same as a 60 mph baseball).w|Greisen–Zatsepin–Kuzmin limit|WP

  • Calorie (noun)

    Kilogram calorie or large calorie. A unit of energy 1000 times larger than the gram calorie. It is equivalent to the gram kilocalorie, approximately 4.2 kilojoules.

  • Calorie (noun)

    The gram calorie or small calorie, a non-SI unit of energy, equivalent to approximately 4.2 joules. This unit was widely used in chemistry and physics, being the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 °C.


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