Good Idea / Pixabay: idea-2681503_1920

How much is one pico Coulomb?

One pico Coulomb (pC) is really very, very little. The prefix pico means 1 in 1000'000'000'000 or 1 in 10¹². But how much is 10¹² ?

Let's assume we relate one pC to a golf ball.

If 1 golf ball represents 1 pC of electric charge and we would load freight wagons full with golf balls we would end up with a freight train of 10'000 km (6'200 miles) length in order to load 1 Coulomb of charge! This means that the train would reach from the North Pole to the Equator.

1 golf ball / Pixabay: golf-ball-2453170_1280
1000'000'000'000 golf balls / Pixabay: freight-train-2168988_1280_edited                            / Pixabay

Metric Prefixes

For very large or very small numbers the scientists use metric prefixes as per the tables below.

The prefix is a multiplier for the number.


Every next prefix below makes the number 1000 times bigger


The above prefixes we use when we talk about large numbers.

For example 1000 meters we call 1 km. In our context we often use kilo-Hertz for 1000 Hz frequency. Even more when we talk about electrical resistance (which is measured in Ohms) we find real big numbers like Tera-Ohms.


The prefixes in the table below make the number small, every next multiplier is 1000 times smaller