Team Physics -
Created by: Team Physics -, Last Updated: May 10, 2024


In physics, the ampere is defined as the unit of electric current. It represents the constant current which, if maintained in two straight parallel conductors of infinite length and negligible circular cross-section, and placed one meter apart in a vacuum, would produce a force between these conductors of 2×10⁻⁷ newtons per meter of length.

What Is an Ampere?

An ampere is the standard unit of electric current in International System of Units (SI). Essentially, it quantifies the flow of electrical charge, specifically defined as the flow of one coulomb of charge per second. Consequently, when one ampere of current flows through a conductor, it means that one coulomb of electrical charge is passing a given point every second, making the ampere fundamental to understanding and measuring electrical phenomena in physics and engineering.

Ampere Units

Ampere Units

The table below outlines the common prefixes for the ampere unit, a fundamental measure of electric current. These prefixes help express the vast range of current levels encountered in various electrical and electronic applications, from the extremely small currents used in medical and semiconductor technologies to the large currents found in industrial electrical systems. Each entry includes the symbol and a conversion to the base unit of ampere, facilitating precise calculations and conversions in scientific and engineering contexts.

PicoamperepA10⁻¹² A1 pA = 0.000000000001 A
NanoamperenA10⁻⁹ A1 nA = 0.000000001 A
MicroampereμA10⁻⁶ A1 μA = 0.000001 A
MilliamperemA10⁻³ A1 mA = 0.001 A
AmpereA1A1 A = 1 A
KiloamperekA10³ A1 kA = 1000 A
MegaampereMA10⁶ A1 MA = 1000000 A

Ampere Conversion

Here is the format for converting amperes to other units of electrical measurement, mirroring your request:

Ampere to Milliampere

  • Conversion: 1 ampere = 1000 milliamperes.
  • Example: To convert 5 amperes to milliamperes, multiply by 1000.
  • 5 A × 1000 = 5000 mA

Ampere to Microampere

  • Conversion: 1 ampere = 1,000,000 microamperes.
  • Example: To convert 2 amperes to microamperes, multiply by 1,000,000.
  • 2 A × 1,000,000 = 2,000,000 μA

Coverting Ampere to Kiloampere

  • Conversion: 1 kiloampere = 1000 amperes.
  • Example: To convert 3 amperes to kiloamperes, divide by 1000.
  • 3 A / 1000 = 0.003 kA

Milliampere to Ampere

  • Conversion: 1 ampere = 1000 milliamperes.
  • Example: To convert 2000 milliamperes to amperes, divide by 1000.
  • 2000 mA / 1000 = 2 A

Microampere to Ampere

  • Conversion: 1 ampere = 1,000,000 microamperes.
  • Example: To convert 500,000 microamperes to amperes, divide by 1,000,000.
  • 500,000 μA / 1,000,000 = 0.5 A

Kiloampere to Ampere

  • Conversion: 1 kiloampere = 1000 amperes.
  • Example: To convert 0.004 kiloamperes to amperes, multiply by 1000.
  • 0.004 kA × 1000 = 4 A

Ampere Meter

An ampere meter, more commonly known as an ammeter. It is an instrument used to measure the electric current in a circuit. The current is measured in amperes, and the device is connected in series with the circuit so it can measure the flow of electrical charge through it. Ammeters are designed to have very low resistance, which minimizes any potential voltage drop across the meter that could affect the circuit operation.

What happens when an Ampere is connected in parallel to load?

Connecting an ammeter (ampere meter) in parallel to a load can lead to severe consequences. Initially, because ammeters have very low internal resistance, this configuration exposes the meter to the full circuit voltage. Consequently, the meter can draw excessive current, potentially leading to its immediate damage or destruction. Moreover, this error risks short-circuiting, damaging the load or other circuit components, and could even pose safety hazards such as fires or electrical shocks. In essence, ammeters must always be connected in series with the load to avoid these risks and ensure accurate current measurement.

Types of Ampere

When discussing different types of current measured in amperes, it’s important to differentiate between the various forms based on how they behave over time:

Firstly, the Direct Current (DC), measured in amperes, flows in one direction and maintains a constant value, making it ideal for devices like batteries and solar panels that require a stable and unidirectional flow of electricity.

Secondly, there is Alternating Current (AC), also measured in amperes, which periodically reverses direction and changes its magnitude over time. This type of current is commonly used in household and industrial power because it is more efficient for transporting electricity over long distances.

Additionally, we consider Pulsating Current, which, similar to direct current, generally moves in one direction but varies in intensity. This type of current is often seen in applications involving rectifiers where AC is converted to DC, but not perfectly, resulting in a fluctuating DC output.

These distinctions in amplitude types are crucial for designing and implementing electrical systems appropriately, ensuring that each application operates efficiently and safely under the correct current type.


What does amp stand for in physics?

In physics, “amp” stands for ampere, the unit of electric current that measures the flow of electric charge through a conductor.

What energy unit is ampere?

The ampere is not a unit of energy; it measures electric current. The related energy unit would involve amps combined with voltage (joules), as in watts.

What is ampere in electromagnetism?

In electromagnetism, the ampere defines the measurement of electric current, representing the flow of charges influenced by electromagnetic forces within electrical circuits.

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