View Full Version : More on "newton.meters"

unknown user
01-02-1991, 03:37 AM
January 2, 1991

To Mike Whittle (and Roger Enoka):

Concerning SI units and the proper abbreviation of "newton-meters," I'd like
to add to Roger Enoka's reply to Mike Whittle (both were posted earlier today).

I come across this problem all the time when reading articles and student
papers. The International Society of Biomechanics distributed a small
brochure on units a couple of years ago (Mike, I can send you a copy if you
wish). While I am not entirely sure that this ISB publication is THE
definitive answer on how to abbreviate units, it provides several references
for looking further into the issue. To quote the ISB brochure `Quantities
and units of measurement in biomechanics' (Revision 1, 12/87):

" When a compound unit is formed by multiplication of two or more units,
the symbol for the compound unit is indicated in one of the following
ways: N*m, N.m, or N m but not Nm "
/|\ --- ---
| (emphasis added)
[Note: this is NOT meant to be an asterisk, but rather a CENTER DOT symbol.
With the limitations of the 7-bit ASCII characters used in e-mail
transmissions, I have used the asterisk symbol (*) in this posting
in place of a CENTER DOT. This center dot symbol is in the
IBM extended character set. For those of you who use Word Perfect
5.1, this symbol is 6,31 in the CHARACTR.DOC file.]

The ISB brochure implies that the PREFERRED usage is N*m (recall that
this `*' is NOT an asterisk but rather a CENTER DOT), but that N.m or N m
can also be used. I see Nm used a lot in publications, and we need
to get away from using it. I have also seen N-m used occasionally.
I believe that this is not an acceptable SI abbreviation (although in
my opinion it is better than Nm).

I hope this answers your question, and would appreciate hearing from other
people if something has changed recently.


Rick Hinrichs
Dept. of Exercise Science & Physical Education
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ 85287-0404 USA