Conversions Involving lbl, lbf, lbm, and slugs

    Poundal (lbl) is a scaled down version of pounds-force (lbf). (Similar to microNewtons vs. Newtons) Pounds-mass (lbm) is a scaled down version of slugs. They both represent mass. (Similar to grams vs. kilograms) Poundal is expressed in lbm*(ft/sec^2). Pounds-force is expressed in slugs*(ft/sec^2).

Ex 1: If a ball is 6 lbm, what is its weight in lbf on earth? The WRONG way: 6 lbm * (32.2 ft/s^2) = 193.2 lbf Saying lbm*(ft/s^2) = lbf is just like saying g*(m/s^2) = N. It is incorrect. You must convert 6 lbm to slugs. 6 lbm (1 slug/32.2 lbm) = 0.1863 slugs. Since lbf is expressed in slugs*(ft/sec^2) and we want the ball’s weight on earth, we simply multiply: 0.1863 slugs * (32.2 ft/sec^2) = 6 lbf Ex 2: If a ball is 6 lbm and the acceleration due to gravity on Mars is 12.47 ft/sec^2, how much does the ball weigh on Mars in lbf? The first step is to convert 6 lbm to slugs. From ex. 1, we calculated that 6 lbm = 0.1863 slugs. Weight on Mars = 0.1863 slugs * (12.47 ft/sec^2) = 2.323 lbf Ex. 3: If a ball is 0.15 slugs and the acceleration due to gravity on Jupiter is 341.21 ft/sec^2, what is the ball’s weight on Jupiter in lbl (poundals)? Since lbl is expressed in lbm*(ft/sec^2), we must first convert 0.15 slugs to lbm. 0.15 slugs * (32.2 lbm/slug) = 4.83 lbm Weight on Jupiter = 4.83 lbm * (341.21 ft/sec^2) = 1648 lbl

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Ex. 4: If an object weighs 15 lbl on Mars and its acceleration due to gravity is 12.47 ft/sec^2, what is its mass in slugs? lbl is a force expressed in lbm*(ft/sec^2) Therefore we have: 15lbl = (x lbm)(12.47 ft/sec^2) With some algebraic manipulation, we can solve for x: x lbm = (15 lbl)/(12.47 ft/sec^2) x lbm = 1.203 lbm Lastly, we must convert 1.203 lbm to slugs. 1.203 lbm * (1 slug/32.2 lbm) = 0.0374 slugs

Ex. 5: If an object weighs 2462 lbl on Jupiter and its acceleration due to gravity is 341.21 ft/sec^2, what is its mass in slugs on earth? The first step is to find object’s mass in lbm. 2462 lbl = (x lbm)*(341.21 ft/sec^2) Solve for x lbm: x lbm = 2462 lbl/(341.21 ft/sec^2) x lbm = 7.216 lbm Since mass remains the same wherever the object is in the universe, all we need to do is convert 7.216 lbm to slugs. 7.216 lbm * (1 slug/32.2 lbm) = 0.2241 slugs

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Ex. 6: If an object weighs 17 lbf on earth, what is its mass in lbm on earth? With 17 lbf, we can extract the mass of slugs first: 17 lbf = x slugs * (32.2 m/sec^2) Now, we solve for x slugs: x slugs = 17 lbf / (32.2 m/sec^2) x slugs = 0.5280 slugs Now we convert slugs into lbm. 0.5280 slugs * (32.2 lbm/slug) = 17 lbm Note: It is a bad idea to get into the habit of saying “17 lbm is the same as 17 lbf.” They only “equal each other” if we are talking about an object near the earth’s surface. Mass (lbm) is NOT the same as force (lbf). So if a question states that an object weighs 17 lbf on Mars, its mass is NOT 17 lbm. Essentially, it is always good form to extract the amount of slugs whenever given: the pounds-force and the acceleration due to gravity on the planet that you’re dealing with.  (lbf on given planet) = (x slugs) * (acceleration due to gravity on given planet)

Furthermore, if given the weight in poundals and the acceleration due to gravity on that planet, then extract the object’s mass in lbm.  (lbl on given planet) = (x lbm) * (acceleration due to gravity on given planet)

Ex. 7: If an object has a mass of 34.5 lbm on earth, what is its acceleration due to gravity on Planet X if it weighs 85.72 lbf on Planet X? First, we must convert 34.5 lbm to slugs. 34.5 lbm*(1 slug/32.2 lbm) = 1.017 slugs 85.72 lbf = (1.017 slugs) (x ft/sec^2) x ft/sec^2 = (85.72 lbf)/(1.017 slugs) x ft/sec^2 = 84.29 ft/sec^2

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Ex. 8: If an object weighs 500 lbl on Mars and the acceleration due to gravity is 12.47 ft/sec^2, what is the weight of the object on Earth in lbf? From the given information, we can extract the object’s mass in lbm: 500 lbl = (x lbm)*(12.47 ft/sec^2) x lbm = (500 lbl)/(12.47 ft/sec^2) x lbm = 40.10 lbm Since the mass of an object is the same anywhere in the universe, we now convert 40.10 lbm to slugs: 40.10 lbm * (1 slug/32.2 lbm) = 1.242 slugs To find the weight on earth in lbf, we simply multiply: 1.242 slugs * 32.2 ft/sec^2 = 40.0 lbf Ex. 9: If an object weighs 122 N on Mars and the acceleration due to gravity is 12.47 ft/sec^2, what is its weight in lbf on earth? First, find what the object’s mass is in kilograms: 122 N = (x kg)(12.47 ft/sec^2) x kg = 9.783 kg Now, convert 9.783 kg to lbms: (9.783 kg)*(2.2 lbm/kg) = 21.5 lbm Now, convert 21.5 lbm to slugs: (21.5 lbm)*(1 slug/32.2 lbm) = 0.668 slugs Lastly, find the weight of the object on earth in lbf: (0.668 slugs)*(32.2 ft/sec^2) = 21.5 lbf Note: These calculations can be done in one single step, but were presented in individual steps for learning purposes. The single-step calculation is preferred in order to decrease the amount of rounding error. (9.783 kg)*(2.2 lbm/kg)*(1 slug/32.2 lbm)*(32.2 ft/sec^2) = 21.5 lbf

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