 Torr

For the standard botanical author abbreviation Torr., see John Torrey.
The torr (symbol: Torr) is a nonSI unit of pressure with the ratio of 1 to 760 standard atmosphere, chosen to be roughly equal to the fluid pressure exerted by a millimetre of mercury, i.e., a pressure of 1 Torr is approximately equal to 1 mmHg. Note that the symbol is spelled exactly the same as the unit, but the symbol is capitalized, as is customary in metric units derived from names. It was named after Evangelista Torricelli, an Italian physicist and mathematician who discovered the principle of the barometer in 1644.^{[1]}
Contents
History
Torricelli attracted considerable attention when he demonstrated the first mercury barometer to the general public. He is credited with giving the first modern explanation of atmospheric pressure. Scientists at the time were familiar with small fluctuations in height that occurred in barometers. When these fluctuations were explained as a manifestation of changes in atmospheric pressure, the science of meteorology was born.
Over time, 760 millimetres of mercury (abbreviated mmHg) came to be regarded as the standard atmospheric pressure. In honour of Torricelli, the Torr was defined as a unit of pressure equal to one mmHg.
In 1954, the definition of the atmosphere was revised by the 10e Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures (10th CGPM)^{[2]} to the currently accepted definition: one atmosphere is equal to 101,325 pascals. The Torr was then redefined as ^{1}⁄_{760} of one atmosphere. This was necessary in place of the definition of a Torr as 1 mmHg, because the height of mercury changes at different temperatures and gravities.
Manometric units of pressure
See also: Pressure measurement#Liquid columnManometric units are units such as millimetres of mercury or centimetres of water that depend on an assumed density of a fluid and an assumed acceleration of gravity. The use of these units is discouraged.^{[3]} Nevertheless, manometric units are routinely used in medicine and physiology, and they continue to be used in areas as diverse as weather reporting and scuba diving.
The millimetre of mercury (symbol: mmHg) is defined as the pressure exerted at the base of a column of fluid exactly 1 mm high, when the density of the fluid is exactly 13.5951 g/cm^{3}, at a place where the acceleration of gravity is exactly 9.80665 m/s^{2}.^{[4]} Under most conditions, 1 mmHg is approximately equal to 1 Torr.
There are several things to notice about this definition:
 A fluid density of 13.5951 g/cm^{3} was chosen for this definition because this is the approximate density of mercury at 0 °C. The definition, therefore, assumes a particular value for the density of mercury. The density can depend on temperature, exogenous pressure, and other similar variables, so those have to assume certain conventional, normal values as well.
 The definition assumes a particular value for the acceleration of gravity: the standard gravity g_{0} = 9.80665 m/s^{2}. In theory, the precise acceleration would vary, and the measurement would have to be recalibrated against the local value; in weightless conditions, this kind of measurement would not even make sense.
 The definition does not address the quality of the vacuum, including the vapor pressure of the mercury, above the column of fluid.
In practice, of course, measurements are made using local values, which vary little enough at the Earth's surface. These assumptions limit both the validity and the precision of the mmHg as a unit of pressure.
According to the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL):
The need to assume fixed and exact—but ultimately incorrect—values of liquid density and acceleration due to gravity will inherently limit knowledge of the relationship between the millimetre of mercury and the pascal. By contrast, the magnitude of pressure values expressed in the SI pressure unit, the pascal, can flex (albeit not by much) to take account of technological improvements in the underlying definitions of mass, length and time—the SI base quantities from which pressure is derived.^{[5]}The performance of modern transducers approaches the precision required to distinguish between the Torr and the millimetre of mercury.
The NPL concludes
Thus, in the near future, the accuracy claims being made for otherwise stateoftheart instruments scaled in manometric units will become inherently inferior.Even now, confusion and large errors abound through the use of differing definitions, including alternative values of ‘standard’ gravity and varying assumptions about the density and temperature of the fluid.
Misunderstandings about temperature assumptions alone can lead to errors of several tenths of a percent and there are many stories of this leading to major mistakes in pressure measurement.Manometric units in medicine and physiology
In medicine, the millimetre of mercury (measured with a sphygmomanometer) is the "gold standard" for blood pressure measurement.
In physiology, manometric units are used to measure Starling forces. Other applications include:
 Intraocular pressure (tonometry)
 Cerebrospinal fluid pressure
 Intracranial pressure
 Intramuscular pressure (compartment syndrome)
 Central venous pressure
 Pulmonary artery catheterization
 Mechanical ventilation
Manometric results in medicine are sometimes given in torr.
This is usually incorrect, since the torr and the millimetre of mercury are not the same thing.
Pressures obtained with a manometer (or its transducer equivalent) should be reported in metres of mercury.
Conversion factors
The millimetre of mercury by definition is 133.322387415 Pa (13.5951 g/cm^{3} × 9.80665 m/s^{2}), which is approximated with known accuracies of density of mercury and gravitational acceleration.
The torr is defined as ^{1}⁄_{760} of one atmosphere, while the atmosphere is defined as 101.325 kPa. Therefore, one torr is equal to ^{101325}⁄_{760} Pa. The decimal form of this fraction (133.322368421...) is, unfortunately for practical use, an infinitely long, periodically repeating decimal, as is its reciprocal.
The relationship between the Torr and the millimetre of mercury is:
 1 Torr = 0.999 999 857 533 699... mmHg
 1 mmHg = 1.000 000 142 466 321... Torr
The difference between one millimetre of mercury and one torr, as well as between one atmosphere (101.325 kPa) and 760 mmHg (101.3250144354 kPa), is less than one part in seven million (or less than 0.000015%). This small difference is negligible for most applications outside metrology.
The millimetre of mercury as used in medicine is in general given relative to the atmospheric pressure. This means that when a doctor tells you you have a blood pressure of 100 mmHg, this is 100 mmHg above atmospheric. So on a day when the barometric pressure is 760 your absolute pressure is actually 860 millimetres of mercury (115 kPa).^{[citation needed]}
The SI unit of pressure is the pascal (symbol: Pa), defined as one newton per square metre. Other units of pressure are defined in terms of SI units.^{[6]}^{[7]} These include:

 The bar (symbol: bar), defined as 100 kPa exactly.
 The atmosphere (symbol: atm), defined as 101.325 kPa exactly.
 The Torr (symbol: Torr), defined as ^{1}⁄_{760} atm exactly.
These four pressure units are used in different settings. For example, the bar is used in meteorology to report atmospheric pressures.^{[8]} The torr is used in highvacuum physics and engineering.^{[citation needed]}
Pressure units Pascal Bar Technical atmosphere Standard atmosphere Torr Pound per square inch Pa bar at atm torr psi 1 Pa ≡ 1 N/m^{2} 10^{−5} 1.0197×10^{−5} 9.8692×10^{−6} 7.5006×10^{−3} 145.04×10^{−6} 1 bar 10^{5} ≡ 10^{6} dyn/cm^{2} 1.0197 0.98692 750.06 14.5037744 1 at 0.980665 ×10^{5} 0.980665 ≡ 1 kp/cm^{2} 0.96784 735.56 14.223 1 atm 1.01325 ×10^{5} 1.01325 1.0332 ≡ p_{0} 760 14.696 1 Torr 133.322 1.3332×10^{−3} 1.3595×10^{−3} 1.3158×10^{−3} = 1 mm_{Hg} 19.337×10^{−3} 1 psi 6.895×10^{3} 68.948×10^{−3} 70.307×10^{−3} 68.046×10^{−3} 51.715 ≡ 1 lb_{F}/in^{2} See also
References
 ^ Devices similar to the modern barometer, using water instead of mercury, were studied by a number of scientists in the early 1640s (see History of the Barometer). Torricelli’s explanation of the principle of the barometer appears in a letter to Michelangelo Ricci dated 11 June 1644.
 ^ BIPM – Resolution 4 of the 10th CGPM
 ^ National Physical Laboratory: Pressure units
 ^ Conventional millimetres of mercury
 ^ National Physical Laboratory: Pressure and vacuum
 ^ Cohen E.R. et al. Quantities, Units and Symbols in Physical Chemistry, 3rd ed. Royal Society of Chemistry, 2007 ISBN 0854044337 (IUPAC pdf copy)
 ^ DeVoe H. Thermodynamics and Chemistry. PrenticeHall, Inc. 2001 ISBN 0023287411
 ^ Note that a pressure of 1 bar (100,000 Pa) is slightly less than a pressure of 1 atmosphere (101,325 Pa).
External links
Categories: NonSI metric units
 Units of pressure
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