Thrust is a reaction force described quantitatively by Newton’s second and third laws. When a system expels or accelerates mass in one direction, the accelerated mass will cause a force of equal magnitude but opposite direction on that system. The force applied on a surface in a direction perpendicular or normal to the surface is called thrust. Force, and thus thrust, is measured in the International System of Units (SI) as the newton (symbol: N), and represents the amount needed to accelerate 1 kilogram of mass at the rate of 1 metre per second squared.

In mechanical engineering, force orthogonal to the main load (such as in parallel helical gears) is referred to as thrust.

Related formulas


Tthrust generated (force) (N)
vspeed of the exhaust gases measured relative to the rocket (m/s)
dmrate of change of mass with respect to time (mass flow rate of exhaust) (kg)
dttime (sec)