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The joule (/l, l/ jowl, jool; 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 the force's 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).

## Definition

In terms firstly of base SI units and then in terms of other SI units, a joule is defined below (please consider this table for the meaning of symbols):

A result of this similarity is that the SI unit for torque is the newton-metre, which works out algebraically to have the same dimensions as the joule, but are not interchangeable. The General Conference on Weights and Measures has given the unit of energy the name joule, but has not given the unit of torque any special name, hence it is simply the newton-metre (N⋅m) – a compound name derived from its constituent parts. The use of newton metres for torque and joules for energy is helpful to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications.

The distinction may be seen also in the fact that energy is a scalar quantity – the dot product of a

A result of this similarity is that the SI unit for torque is the newton-metre, which works out algebraically to have the same dimensions as the joule, but are not interchangeable. The General Conference on Weights and Measures has given the unit of energy the name joule, but has not given the unit of torque any special name, hence it is simply the newton-metre (N⋅m) – a compound name derived from its constituent parts. The use of newton metres for torque and joules for energy is helpful to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications.

The distinction may be seen also in the fact that energy is a scalar quantity – the dot product of a force vector and a displacement vector. By contrast, torqu

The distinction may be seen also in the fact that energy is a scalar quantity – the dot product of a force vector and a displacement vector. By contrast, torque is a vector – the cross product of a force vector and a distance vector. Torque and energy are related to one another by the equation

where E is energy, τ is (the vector magnitude of) torque, and θ is the angle swept (in radians). Since plane angles are dimensionless, it follows that torque and energy have the same dimensions.

## Watt-second

A watt-second (symbol W s or W·s) is a derived unit of energy equivalent to the joule. The watt-second is the energy equivalent to the power of one watt sustained for one second. While the watt-second is equivalent to the joule in both units and meaning, there are some contexts in which the term "

A watt-second (symbol W s or W·s) is a derived unit of energy equivalent to the joule. The watt-second is the energy equivalent to the power of one watt sustained for one second. While the watt-second is equivalent to the joule in both units and meaning, there are some contexts in which the term "watt-second" is used instead of "joule".[why?]

### Photography

In photography, the unit for flashes is the watt-second. A flash can be rated in watt-seconds (e.g., 300 W⋅s) or in joules (different names for the same thing), but historically, the term "watt-second" has been used and continues to be used. An on-camera flash, using a 1000 microfarad capacitor at 300 volts, would be 45 watt-seconds. Studio flashes, using larger capacitors and higher voltages, are in the 200–2000 watt-second range.