Converting 1 atm to Pa: How-To & Tutorial

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  • 0:01 Steps to Solving the Problem
  • 1:40 Solution
  • 2:05 Checking Your Work
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
How do you convert a single standard unit of pressure, an atmosphere, into the metric unit of pressure, the pascal? This lesson goes over what these units are, and how to complete this conversion.

Steps to Solving the Problem

Before we convert one atmosphere into an equivalent number of pascals, we first need to know a little bit more about these two units of pressure.

The pascal is the metric unit of measuring pressure and is identified as 1 newton per square meter, or a kilogram-meter per second squared.

The atmosphere is the standard unit of measuring pressure and was originally designed to represent the typical atmospheric pressure at sea level when the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This measurement works out to be slightly under 15 pounds per square inch.

If you'll notice, the units in the two measurements are very different. Kilogram-meter per seconds squared and pounds per inch don't sound like they're describing the same thing, but they are. To get from one to the other would be a fairly involved process: we would need a much more exact measurement of an atmosphere and need to know the density of air at freezing temperatures, the height of the atmosphere at the location, and many other things.

You'll be happy to know that we won't be doing that. We're going to use the simpler route of a conversion factor, which will allow us to change our measurement of atmospheric pressure from one unit to an equivalent number of different units. The conversion factor to change from atmospheres to pascals is:

(101,325 pascals / 1 atmosphere)

The beauty of the conversion factor is that to get from one unit to another, all you have to do is multiply:

Number of pascals in 1 atmosphere = 1 atmosphere x (conversion factor)

= (1 atmosphere) x (101,325 pascals / 1 atmosphere)

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