# How to Convert RPM to Radians

••• thodonal/iStock/GettyImages
Print

There are many different ways to measure the speed something is turning, but you’ll need to understand what they actually mean if you need to convert from one to another. For instance, if the crankshaft of a car engine is turning at 4,000 revolutions per minute (RPM), how big of an angle does it turn in a single second?

This question might strike you as very specific, but in reality, if you learn how to do this conversion, other conversions such as radians per second (sometimes denoted rps) to ‌RPM‌ (the opposite process) and many others will start to make sense.

Understanding both of the measures you’re considering is the first step to performing a valid conversion. Revolutions per minute (RPM) is just what it sounds like: The number of complete turns (full revolutions) the engine or wheel makes in a one-minute time period. You don’t need to go much further than your intuitive understanding here, but remember that this is only ‌per minute‌, not per second like many other measures of rotation.

A radian is a measure of an angle, like degrees, but defined in terms of ‌π‌ to make calculations easier in math and science in particular. There are 2π radians (rad) in a complete revolution, so π radians is half a circle and so on. You can relate this to degrees by noting that 360 degrees = 2 π rad, so 1 radian = 57.3 degrees.

## Convert RPM to Radians Per Second with Unit Conversion

In order to convert revolutions per minute to radians per second (i.e. RPM to rad/s or rev/min to rad/s), there two main steps: converting RPM to revolutions per second, then converting total revolutions to the angle covered in radians. The first step is simple: Divide the number in RPM by 60 to find the number of revolutions per second as shown:

\# \text{ Revolutions Per Second} = \frac{\# \frac{\text{revolutions}}{\text{minute}}}{60 \frac{\text{seconds}}{\text{minute}}}

So for 4,000 RPM you get

4,000 \text{ RPM} \div 60 \frac{\text{seconds}}{\text{minutes}} = 66.667 \text{ revolutions per second.}

Now, you take this value and convert to radians by multiplying by 2π. In the example, the result comes out to 418.9 rad/s. The following formula shows the general formula for converting RPM to radians per second: