British thermal unit

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British thermal unit, abbr. Btu, unit for measuring heat quantity in the customary system of English units of measurement, equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water at its maximum density [which occurs at a temperature of 39.1 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) ] by 1°F. The Btu may also be defined for the temperature difference between 59°F and 60°F. One Btu is approximately equivalent to the following: 251.9 calories; 778.26 foot-pounds; 1055 joules; 107.5 kilogram-meters; 0.0002928 kilowatt-hours. A pound (0.454 kilogram) of good coal when burned should yield 14,000 to 15,000 Btu; a pound of gasoline or other fuel oil, approximately 19,000 Btu.

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Btu

Abbreviation for "British Thermal Unit," the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. One Btu is equivalent to 1,054 joules or 252 calories. To gain an impression of the size of a Btu, the combustion of a barrel of oil yields about 5.6 x 106 joule. A multiple of the Btu, the quad, is commonly used in discussions of national and international energy issues. The term quad is an abbreviation for one quadrillion, or 1015, Btu.

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Btu (also BTU) • abbr. British thermal unit(s).

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BTU Board of Trade unit
• (USA) British thermal unit

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