 Watt

For other uses, see Watt (disambiguation)."Kilowatt" redirects here. For the community in Kern County, California, see Kilowatt, California."KW" redirects here. For other uses, see KW (disambiguation).
The watt (pronounced /ˈwɒt/ wot; symbol: W) is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units (SI), named after the Scottish engineer James Watt (1736–1819). The unit, defined as one joule per second, measures the rate of energy conversion.
Contents
Definition
 One watt is the rate at which work is done when an object's velocity is held constant at one meter per second against constant opposing force of one newton.
 In terms of electromagnetism, one watt is the rate at which work is done when one ampere (A) of current flows through an electrical potential difference of one volt (V).
 Two additional unit conversions for watt can be found using the above equation and Ohm's Law.
 Where ohm (Ω) is the SI derived unit of electrical resistance.
Examples
A person having a mass of 100 kilograms who climbs a 3 meter high ladder in 5 seconds is doing work at a rate of about 600 watts. Mass times acceleration due to gravity times height divided by the time it takes to lift the object to the given height gives the rate of doing work or power. A laborer over the course of an 8hour day can sustain an average output of about 75 watts; higher power levels can be achieved for short intervals and by athletes.^{[1]}
A mediumsized passenger automobile engine is rated at 50–150 kilowatts^{[2]} – while cruising it will typically yield half that amount. A typical household incandescent light bulb has a power rating of 25 to 100 watts; fluorescent lamps typically consume 5 to 30 watts to produce a similar amount of light.
A typical coal power station produces around 600700 megawatts.
Origin and adoption as an SI unit
The watt is named after James Watt for his contributions to the development of the steam engine. The unit was recognized by the Second Congress of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1882. The 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures in 1960 adopted it for the measurement of power into the International System of Units (SI).
Multiples
 For additional examples of magnitude for multiples and submultiples of the Watt, see Orders of magnitude (power)
SI multiples for watt (W) Submultiples Multiples Value Symbol Name Value Symbol Name 10^{−1} W dW deciwatt 10^{1} W daW decawatt 10^{−2} W cW centiwatt 10^{2} W hW hectowatt 10^{−3} W mW milliwatt 10^{3} W kW kilowatt 10^{−6} W µW microwatt 10^{6} W MW megawatt 10^{−9} W nW nanowatt 10^{9} W GW gigawatt 10^{−12} W pW picowatt 10^{12} W TW terawatt 10^{−15} W fW femtowatt 10^{15} W PW petawatt 10^{−18} W aW attowatt 10^{18} W EW exawatt 10^{−21} W zW zeptowatt 10^{21} W ZW zettawatt 10^{−24} W yW yoctowatt 10^{24} W YW yottawatt Common multiples are in bold face Femtowatt
The femtowatt is equal to one quadrillionth (10^{−15}) of a watt. Technologically important powers that are measured in femtowatts are typically found in reference(s) to radio and radar receivers. For example, FM tuner performance figures for sensitivity/quieting and signaltonoise require that the RF energy applied to the antenna input be specified in order to be meaningful. These input levels are often stated in dBf (decibels referenced to 1 femtowatt which is equal to 0.2739 microvolt across a 75 ohm load or 0.5477 microvolt across a 300 ohm load) so that the specification takes into account the RF input impedance of the tuner.
Picowatt
The picowatt is equal to one trillionth (10^{−12}) of a watt. Technologically important powers that are measured in picowatts are typically used in reference to radio and radar receivers, and also in the science of radio astronomy.
Nanowatt
The nanowatt is equal to one billionth (10^{−9}) of a watt. A surface area of one square meter on Earth receives one nanowatt of power from a single star of apparent magnitude +3.5. Important powers that are measured in nanowatts are also typically used in reference to radio and radar receivers.
Microwatt
The microwatt is equal to one millionth (10^{−6}) of a watt. Important powers that are measured in microwatts are typically stated in medical instrumentation systems such as the EEG and the EKG, in a wide variety of scientific and engineering instruments and also in reference to radio and radar receivers. Compact solar cells for devices such as calculators and watches are typically measured in microwatts.^{[3]}
Milliwatt
The milliwatt is equal to one thousandth (10^{−3}) of a watt. A typical laser pointer outputs about five milliwatts of light power, whereas a typical hearing aid for people consumes less than one milliwatt.^{[4]}
Kilowatt
The kilowatt is equal to one thousand (10^{3}) watts. This unit is typically used to express the output power of engines and the power consumption of electric motors, tools, machines, and heaters. It is also a common unit used to express the electromagnetic power output of broadcast radio and television transmitters.
One kilowatt of power is approximately equal to 1.34 horsepower. A small electric heater with one heating element can use 1.0 kilowatt, which is equivalent to the power consumption of a household in the United States averaged over the entire year (8900 kWh divided by 365×24 hours).^{[5]} (UK household consume about half this amount)^{[6]} Also, kilowatts of light power can be measured in the output pulses of some lasers.
Megawatt
The megawatt is equal to one million (10^{6}) watts. Many events or machines produce or sustain the conversion of energy on this scale, including lightning strikes; large electric motors; large warships such as aircraft carriers, cruisers, and submarines; large server farms or data centers; and some scientific research equipment, such as supercolliders, and also in the output pulses of very large lasers. A large residential or commercial building may consume several megawatts in electric power and heat.
The productive capacity of electrical generators operated by a utility company is often measured in megawatts. On railways, modern highpowered electric locomotives typically have a peak power output of 5 or 6 MW, although some produce much more. The Eurostar, for example, consumes more than 12 MW, while heavy dieselelectric locomotives typically produce/consume 3 to 5 MW. U.S. nuclear power plants have net summer capacities between about 500 and 1300 MW.^{[7]}
The earliest citing of the megawatt in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a reference in the 1900 Webster's International Dictionary of English Language. The OED also states that megawatt appeared in a 28 November 1947 article in the journal Science (506:2).
Gigawatt
The gigawatt is equal to one billion (10^{9}) watts or 1 gigawatt = 1000 megawatts. This unit is sometimes used for large power plants or power grids. For example, by the end of 2010 power shortages in China's Shanxi province were expected to increase to 5–6 GW^{[8]} and the installed capacity of wind power in Germany was 25.8 GW.^{[9]} The largest unit (out of four) of the Belgian Nuclear Plant Doel has a peak output of 1.04 GW.^{[10]}
Though “gigawatt” is usually pronounced today with a hard initial "g", the “j” variant is also accepted (see giga#Pronunciation).^{[11]}^{[12]}
Terawatt
The terawatt is equal to one trillion (10^{12}) watts. The total power used by humans worldwide (about 16 TW in 2006) is commonly measured in this unit. The most powerful lasers from the mid1960s to the mid1990s produced power in terawatts, but only for nanosecond time frames. The average strike of lightning peaks at 1 terawatt, but these strokes only last for 30 microseconds.
Petawatt
The petawatt is equal to one quadrillion (10^{15}) watts and can be produced by the current generation of lasers for timescales on the order of femtoseconds (10^{−15} s). Based on the average of 1.366 kW/m^{2} of total solar irradiance^{[13]} the total energy flow of sunlight striking Earth's atmosphere is estimated at 174 PW (cf. Solar Constant).
Electrical and thermal watts
In the electric power industry, megawatt electrical (abbreviation: MW_{e}^{[14]} or MWe^{[15]}) is a term that refers to electric power, while megawatt thermal or thermal megawatt^{[16]} (abbreviations: MW_{t}, MW_{th}, MWt, or MWth) refers to thermal power produced. Other SI prefixes are sometimes used, for example gigawatt electrical (GW_{e}).^{[notes 1]}
For example, the Embalse nuclear power plant in Argentina uses a fission reactor to generate 2109 MW_{t} of heat, which creates steam to drive a turbine, which generates 648 MW_{e} of electricity. The difference is due to the inefficiency of steamturbine generators and the limitations of the theoretical Carnot Cycle.
Confusion of watts, watthours, and watts per hour
The terms power and energy are frequently confused. Power is the rate at which energy is generated or consumed.
For example, when a light bulb with a power rating of 100W is turned on for one hour, the energy used is 100 watthours (W•h), 0.1 kilowatthour, or 360 kJ. This same amount of energy would light a 40watt bulb for 2.5 hours, or a 50watt bulb for 2 hours. A power station would be rated in multiples of watts, but its annual energy sales would be in multiples of watthours. A kilowatthour is the amount of energy equivalent to a steady power of 1 kilowatt running for 1 hour, or 3.6 MJ.
Terms such as watts per hour are often misused.^{[17]} Watts per hour properly refers to the change of power per hour. Watts per hour (W/h) might be useful to characterize the rampup behavior of power plants. For example, a power plant that reaches a power output of 1 MW from 0 MW in 15 minutes has a rampup rate of 4 MW/h. Hydroelectric power plants have a very high rampup rate, which makes them particularly useful in peak load and emergency situations.
Major energy production or consumption is often expressed as terawatthours for a given period that is often a calendar year or financial year. One terawatthour is equal to a sustained power of approximately 114 megawatts for a period of one year.
The watt second is a unit of energy, equal to the joule. One kilowatthour is 3,600,000 wattseconds. The wattsecond is used, for example, to rate the energy storage of flash lamps used in photography.
See also
Notes
 ^ 'Megawatt electrical' and 'megawatt thermal' are not SI units, Thompson and Taylor 2008, Guide for the Use of the International System of Units (SI), NIST Special Publication SP811. The International Bureau of Weights and Measures states that unit symbols should not use subscripts to provide additional information about the quantity being measured, and regards these symbols as incorrect. International Bureau of Weights and Measures. (2006). The International System of Units (SI). 132.
References
 ^ Eugene A. Avallone et. al, (ed), Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers 11th Edition , McGraw Hill, New York 2007 ISBN 0071428674 page 94
 ^ See examples in "Parkers for the smarter car buyer". Parkers. http://www.parkers.co.uk/. Retrieved 20110810.
 ^ ByeBye Batteries: Radio Waves as a LowPower Source
 ^ Trudy Stetzler, Neeraj Magotra, Pedro Gelabert, Preethi Kasthuri, Sridevi Bangalore. "LowPower RealTime Programmable DSP Development Platform for Digital Hearing Aids". Datasheet Archive. http://www.datasheetarchive.com/datasheetpdf/019/DSA00333218.html. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
 ^ "The Physics Factbook". http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/BoiLu.shtml. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
 ^ "Typical domestic energy consumption figures". Ofgem. 18 January 2011. http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Media/FactSheets/Documents1/domestic%20energy%20consump%20fig%20FS.pdf. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
 ^ "2007–2008 Information Digest, Appendix A". Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 2007. http://www.nrc.gov/readingrm/doccollections/nuregs/staff/sr1350/v19/sr1350v19.pdf. Retrieved 27 January 2008.
 ^ "China's Shanxi to face 56 GW power shortage by yrendpaper". Reuters. 11 November 2010. http://in.reuters.com/article/idINTOE6AA0AD20101111.
 ^ "Not on my beach, please". The Economist. 19 August 2010. http://www.economist.com/node/16846774.
 ^ "Chiffres clés". Electrabel. 2011. http://www.electrabel.com/whoarewe/nuclear/keyfigures_doel.aspx.
 ^ "definition and pronunciation of gigawatt". MerriamWebster Feb 2008. 25 April 2007. http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/gigawatt. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
 ^ "A Practical Guide to the International System of Units, U.S. Metric Association, Feb 2008". Lamar.colostate.edu. 5 April 2006. http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/siprefixes.html. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
 ^ "Construction of a Composite Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) Time Series from 1978 to present". http://www.pmodwrc.ch/pmod.php?topic=tsi/composite/SolarConstant. Retrieved 20051005.
 ^ Cleveland, C. J. (2007). "Watt". Encyclopedia of Earth. http://www.eoearth.org/article/Watt.
 ^ "How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement". http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/dictM.html.
 ^ "Solar Energy Grew at a Record Pace in 2008 (excerpt from EERE Network News  U.S. Department of Energy)". 25 March 2009. http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/news_detail.cfm/news_id=12362.
 ^ "Inverter Selection". Northern Arizona Wind and Sun. http://www.windsun.com/Inverters/Inverter_selection.htm. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
External links
 Nelson, Robert A., "The International System of Units Its History and Use in Science and Industry". Via Satellite, February 2000.
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