Q:

How much is 186 pounds in kilograms?

A:

Quick Answer

Converting 186 pounds into kilograms yields 84.37 kilograms. One thousand pounds is equal to approximately 454.59 kilograms; therefore 186 pounds equals 186 x 454.59 / 1000, which equals 84.37 kilograms.

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Full Answer

Pounds can technically refer to either mass or force, whereas kilograms always refer to mass. The more precise descriptor is pounds-mass for mass and pounds-force for force. At sea level on Earth, pounds-force equals pounds-mass.

The relation between force and mass is that force is proportional to mass times acceleration, or more simply, the well-known formula in physics, F=ma. On Earth at sea level, the acceleration of gravity is 32.17 feet per second squared.

It is important in engineering calculations to ensure consistent units when doing equations. One notable example resulting from failure to do so was the disintegration of the Mars Observer spacecraft in 1999. This accident resulted from the use of pounds-force instead of newtons, the metric unit for force, in a calculation.

On the moon, 186 pounds-mass would still equal 84.37 kilograms. However, 186 pounds-force would equal 509.78 kilograms of mass. This difference results from the fact that the acceleration of gravity is only one-sixth times that on Earth. By the same token, if a person weighs 186 pounds on Earth on a spring scale, which measures force, he would weigh only 30.78 pounds on the same scale on the moon.

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