The abvolt (abV) is the unit of potential difference in the CGS-EMU system of units. It corresponds to 10−8 volt in the SI system and 1/ccgs statvolt ≈ 3.3356×10−11 statvolt in the CGS-ESU system.[Note 1]

A potential difference of 1 abV will drive a current of one abampere through a resistance of one abohm.

In most practical applications, the volt and its multiples are preferred. The national standard in the United States [2] deprecates the use of the abvolt, suggesting the use of volts instead.

The name abvolt was introduced by Kennelly in 1903 as a short name for the long name (absolute) electromagnetic cgs unit of e.m.f. that was in use since the adoption of the cgs system in 1875.[3] The abvolt was coherent with the CGS-EMU system, in contrast to the volt, the practical unit of e.m.f. that had been adopted too in 1875.


The dimensionless constant ccgs = 2.99792458×1010 is numerically equal to the magnitude of the speed of light when the latter is expressed in cm/s.


Gyllenbok, Jan (2018). Encyclopaedia of Historical Metrology, Weights, and Measures: Volume 1. Birkhäuser. ISBN 978-3-319-57598-8.
IEEE/ASTM SI 10-2002. American National Standard for Use of the International System of Units (SI): The Modern Metric System. New York: IEEE, 30 December 2002, Section 3.3.3.

A.E. Kennelly (1903) "Magnetic units and other subjects that might occupy attention at the next international electrical congress" 20th Annual Convention of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, 1903


CGS units
Base units

centimetre gram second

Derived non EM units

barye dyne erg gal kelvin poise phot stilb

Derived EMU units

abampere abcoulomb abhenry abmho abohm abvolt biot gauss gilbert maxwell oersted

Derived ESU units

statcoulomb statmho statohm statvolt

Physics Encyclopedia



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