Unit of Viscosity

What is Viscosity?

Viscosity is defined as the quantity that represents a fluid’s resistance to flow. To put it in more simple terms, viscosity is the friction between the molecules of the fluid. We usually relate to the viscosity of a liquid by measuring the “thickness”. For example, we can state that honey is “thicker” (meaning a higher viscosity) than normal water.

Viscosity is represented by the symbol η “eta” and use of the Greek letter mu (μ) is also common. Furthermore, viscosity is also known as dynamic viscosity or absolute viscosity. Apart from this we also deal with terms like kinematic viscosity or momentum diffusivity.  The main difference between kinematic and dynamic viscosity is that dynamic viscosity is the measurement of fluids internal resistance to the flow while kinematic viscosity is the ratio of dynamic viscosity to the density. Now that we have learnt some information about viscosity, let’s study the unit of viscosity below.

Unit of Viscosity

Si Unit Pascal seconds (Pa·s) or kg·m−1·s−1
CGS Unit Poise (P)

Unit of Kinematic Viscosity

Si Unit square meter per second or m2/s
CGS Unit Stokes (St)

SI Unit of Viscosity

  • The SI unit of viscosity is the pascal second (Pa·s) or kg·m−1·s−1.
  • The SI unit of kinematic viscosity is square meter per second or m2/s.

CGS Unit of Viscosity

  • The cgs unit of viscosity is poise (P) and this name has been used in honour of a French physiologist Jean Léonard Marie Poiseuille. It is also commonly used particularly in ASTM standards, as centipoise (cP).
  • The cgs unit for kinematic viscosity is stokes (St) and has been named after Irish mathematician and physicist Sir George Gabriel Stokes. Sometimes the unit centistokes (cSt) is also used.

Other Common Viscosity Units

Some of the nonstandard units include the Reyn which is a British unit of dynamic viscosity.

Earlier, kinematic viscosity was measured using Saybolt viscometer where the units were expressed in Saybolt universal seconds (SUS). Other abbreviations such as SUV (Saybolt universal viscosity) or SSU (Saybolt seconds universal) are sometimes used.

SI Unit of Viscosity

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