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A unit of heat originally defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 C (the gram-calorie or small calorie).

Different variants of calorie that have seen use:

  • International Steam Table calorie = 4.1868 joules
  • Mean calorie = 4.19002 joules
  • Thermochemical calorie = 4.184 joules
  • 15 C calorie = 4.18580 joules
  • 20 C = 4.1890 joules

Also, the kilocalorie is 1000 times as large as a calorie. It's also known as a large calorie, kilogram calorie, dietary calorie, nutritionist's calorie, nutritional calorie, and in US consumer products is simply called Calorie -- usually but not always with a capital C.

For most scientific measurements, the calorie has been superseded by the joule, which isn't affected by starting temperature and atmospheric pressure.

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This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use