Kilopascal (kPa) Definition

Chemistry Glossary Definition of Kilopascal (kPa)

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A kilopascal is a unit of pressure. Paul Taylor/Getty Images

The kilopascal is unit of pressure based on the pascal unit. Here's the definition and a look at the unit's history.

Kilopascal or kPa Definition

The kilopascal is a unit of pressure. 1 kPa is approximately the pressure exerted by a 10-g mass resting on a 1-cm2 area. 101.3 kPa = 1 atm. There are 1,000 pascals in 1 kilopascal. The pascal and thus the kilopascal are named for the French polymath Blaise Pascal.

Kilopascal Uses

The pascal (Pa) and kilopascal (kPa) are the most common units of pressure throughout the world. Even in the United States, kPa is often used in favor of pounds per square inch (PSI). The pascal, kilopascal, and gigapascal (GPa) are used to express tensile strength, compressive strength, Young's modulus, and stiffness of materials.


  • International Bureau of Weights and Measures (2006). The International System of Units (SI) (8th ed.). ISBN 92-822-2213-6.
  • Gold Book, Standard Pressure.
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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Kilopascal (kPa) Definition." ThoughtCo, Jul. 18, 2022, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2022, July 18). Kilopascal (kPa) Definition. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Kilopascal (kPa) Definition." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).