Power in US System Discussion Analysis

The US system of units or the United States customary units is a system of units for measurement. The US system has an influence on the ‘English Units’ that were used in England up to 1826. The US system of units is used mostly in the United States only, as the United States is one of the countries whose official system of weights and measure is not the metric system. The US system of units is widely used in consumer products such as packed food although; the metric unit is present on the packet alongside the US unit. The quantity that tells how much work is done in a given amount of time is called power. It depends on the time in which the work is done. Power can be measured, and to make that measurement more accurate, one needs units. In the U.S system of units, power is measured in foot-pound per second and horsepower.

What is Power?
Power is a word that one hears very frequently, for example, a weightlifter has more power than ordinary people. In boxing, people talk about the powerful punches. All these cases are loosely related to the definition of power in science.

In science, the quantity that tells how much work is done in a given amount of time is called power. There is another way to define power, in terms of energy; the amount of energy released in a given amount of time is called power.

Thus, the following holds true:

{\rm{power}} = \frac{{{\rm{work}}}}{{{\rm{time }}}}\;power=

\,{\rm{power}} = \frac{{{\text{change in energy}}}}{{{\text{time taken }}}}power=
time taken
change in energy

From the above relations, one can see that if the amount of work is done in a short period of time, then the power will be high, and if the same amount of work is done in a long period of time, it will result in a low value of power. Therefore, power depends on the time in which the work is done. Power measures the speed of the work done.

Units and calculations involved in calculating power
The unit for measuring energy or work is foot-pound (ft-lb) and power is the work done in a unit time. Thus, the unit for measuring power is foot-pound per second.

If 50 pounds of weight is lifted by 10 feet, the work done is calculated as {\rm{work}} = 50 \times 10 = 500work=50×10=500 foot-pound.

Now, if this work is done in 10 seconds the power is calculated as follows:

{\rm{power}} = \frac{{{\rm{work}}}}{{{\rm{time }}}} = \frac{{500}}{{10}} = 50power=

Therefore, 50 foot–pound per second is the power when the work is completed in 10 seconds.

If the same work is done in 5 seconds, then the power will be as follows:

{\rm{power}} = \frac{{{\rm{work}}}}{{{\rm{time }}}} = \frac{{500}}{5} = 100power=

Therefore, 100 foot–pound per second is the power when the work to be completed in 5 seconds.

It can be seen from the above case that, when the time taken is more, the power is less and when the time taken is less, the power is more.

Horsepower as a Unit of Power
The unit in which power is measured in the US customary unit system is ‘Horsepower’. The abbreviated form of horsepower is ‘hp’. Therefore, 10 horsepower of work can also be written as ‘10 hp’ of work.

The history of horsepower is quite interesting. In the mid {18^{th}}18
century, when the steam engine came into the picture, many works that were earlier done by horses started using steam engines instead. However, all the people were not impressed; some of them questioned the efficiency of the steam engine. To resolve this problem, James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine, did a comparison between the power of a horse and that of the steam engine, to increase the sale of his steam engines. He assumed that an average size horse can lift 330 pounds of weight by 100 feet in a minute.


From here the power calculated was as follows:

{\rm{power}} = \frac{{{\rm{work}}}}{{{\rm{time }}}} = \frac{{330 \times 100}}{{60}} = \frac{{33000}}{{60}} = 550power=

Thus, the power was 550 foot-pound per second.

This value was given the name horsepower, and that is how this measuring unit came into existence and is still in use.

One horsepower is equal to 550 foot-pounds per second.

{\rm{1hp}} = {\rm{550}}\frac{{{\rm{ft – lb}}}}{{{\rm{sec}}}}1hp=550

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