What Instrument is Used to Measure Mass of an Object?

Alex Williams
12 Min Read

Physical balance is used to measure the mass of an object. The mass is found by balancing both the end of the balance with the sample and reference. Thus, the instruments used to measure mass are similar to the instruments used to measure the weight, and it is like a lever having equal ends. Other than this, what instrument is used to measure mass of an object? You must have seen a weighing machine and spring balance that work on the principle of gravitational forces. Continue reading to learn more about other tools to measure the mass.

1. What is Mass?

The fundamental property of matter, inertia, is quantitatively measured as the mass in physics. A body of matter offers resistance to applying force when there is a change in position or speed. This change produced by force is inversely proportional to the mass of a body.

The conservation of mass principle states that on the rearrangement of constituent parts of matter mass of an object remains unchanged. Mass is divided equally when the body breaks into pieces. The sum of an individual piece’s mass is equal to the whole body’s mass. But Einstein, in 1905, stated mass to be energy equivalent and energy was found to be interconvertible with mass. During the reactions, mass was not changeable and was seen undergoing conversions with energy, thus proving mass conservation invalid. This gave rise to a new principle of mass-energy conservation by Einstein. (See What are Properties in Science?)

2. What Instrument is used to measure Mass of an Object?

Image by VIVIANE MONCONDUIT from Pixabay

Different types of balances and scales compare the unknown mass object with a known mass object. But actually, what instrument is used to measure mass of an object? Mass is measured directly by keeping the downward forces on the opposite sides on a scale. For example, a beam balance is one of the tools to measure the mass. Small masses in the range of sub-milligram can be measured using a lab balance. Sometimes the scale can be broken.

The technology instruments with frequency shifts solve this issue. The scales now use spring shock dampers. Force restoration technology is applied to measure mass, and the transducer and the latest electronic force can achieve the accuracy of one part in 10 million. To calculate the mass of liquid, a transducer can be used, which measures the properties of the liquid by sending the processor a signal and making the calculations of mass displayed on an indicator. This is used to measure the mass of biomaterials such as embryo seeds and cells and is an affordable and ideal method. (See What are the Types of Functions?)

3. What is the Laboratory Apparatus used to measure Mass?

What instrument is used to measure mass of an object in labs? The instruments used to measure mass are:

  • An analytical balance is the laboratory apparatus that is used to measure mass. It is highly precise and measures mass down to 10000 or 100 thousand a gram. They use electronic sensors in a complex system to find the accurate mass of a matter. These are very sensitive to air which interferes with the measurement.
  • In a lab, platform balance is used with two platforms, and the weights are placed on both of them until they are balanced. It is convenient and works without power.
  • Scientific laboratories also use balances to measure the mass to a metric unit of one by hundred grams. It is more efficient in calculating the weight.
  • Triple beam balance is a three-rider beam used to measure mass that counterbalances the pan containing the sample. (See How long is 8 inches Compared to an Object?)

4. What is the SI Unit of Mass? What is the Metric Unit for Mass?

Image by Momentmal from Pixabay

The tools measuring masses give the measured mass in kilograms according to the International System of Units or SI units. Planck’s constant can be converted to a mass system, equal to 6.62607015 × 10−34 Joule seconds, defines the kilogram, where 1-kilogram meter per second square equals 1 Joule.

The metric units of mass are kilogram, gram, milligram, and ton. Here, one kilogram is equal to 1000 g, 1000 kilograms is equal to 1 ton, or one gram is equal to a thousand milligram. Also, check out how many pounds are in a ton?

5. Mass vs Weight: What is the Difference Between Weight and Mass with Example?

Mass denoted by m measures the amount of the matter in a body, while weight denoted by the w measures force in the mass because of acceleration due to gravity.

Differences between weight and mass are:

  • Mass is not changed with position change while weight changes.
  • Mass is the same everywhere, while weight varies with the varying gravity.
  • Mass is always more than zero in the absence of gravity, like in space where weight can be zero.
  • Mass is a quantity, while weight is a measurement. An ordinary balance measures mass, while a spring balance measures weight.
  • Mass is measured in grams and kilograms, while weight is measured in newtons.  Must read how long is 7 inches compared to an object?

6. Name the Instrument used to measure Weight of an Object

The instruments used to measure the weight of an object are similar to what instrument is used to measure mass of an object, i.e., the beam balance. The pivot horizontal line and arms of the same length are called a beam. The solid substance and standard weight are kept respectively on the pans, then the beam is balanced, and the weight of an object can be found. (See How Is Energy Measured?)

7. What is the SI Unit of Weight? What is the Metric Unit for Weight?

Weight is measured in terms of the force that is Newton in the SI unit. In other words, the unit of weight according to the SI system is kg meter per second square. According to the legal standards, it is measured in kg in the common markets. Hence, the SI unit of weight is Newton. The most common metric units of weight are gram and kilogram. Also, check out how many grams is 1 litre?

8. Is Mass measured in Newtons?

No, mass and weight are quite different where weight measures the downward force due to gravity on an object while mass measures the resistance to inertia’s changing state of motion. Mass measures the force required to change the path. Mass is not measured in Newtons, but weight is measured in Newtons. Mass is correctly calculated in kilograms. When the mass is multiplied by force due to gravity which is 9.8, you get the weight in Newtons. (See How many cm in a Meter?)

9. Name Five Tools to measure Mass And Weight

The tools to measure the mass and weight or the instruments used to measure mass and weight are the types of beam balances, a common balance that compares the reference mass with the object’s mass. So, what instrument is used to measure mass of an object? Let’s check it out. The standard reference is 5 g, 10 g, 250 g, 500 g, and 1 kg to 5 kg.

  • Pan Balance: This balance is generally used in grocery shops and compares the standard reference mass with the sample mass. It measures accurately up to 5 grams.
  • Digital Balance: This balance gives accurate measurements up to mg; the least value is 10 mg. It is found in jewelry shops and labs. Since it is an electrical device, it is easy to handle.
  • Physical Balance: This balance is similar to a beam balance but more sensitive. It measures accurately up to milligrams. The reference mass is used in milligrams and grams only that is 10 mg, 20 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, 500 mg, 1 g, 2 g, 5 g, 10 g, and 50 g.
  • Spring Balance: This balance contains a spring fixed at one end and a hook attached at the rod’s other end. According to hook’s law, the increasing length of spring is proportional to the weight added. This spring balance is the best among other instruments used to measure the weight. (See How do Solar Powered Lights work?)

10. Does a Scale measure Weight or Mass?

Scales are the instruments used to measure the weight, not mass. Then what instrument is used to measure mass of an object? The mass is measured by balances. The scale measures the force acting on and is equal to the acceleration due to gravity to the object’s mass with time. It cannot measure the mass directly because it depends on the local gravity. Practically, you note down the mass using a scale after calibrating the scale at a particular location and thus ignoring the gravity. (See What Does A Barometer Measure?)

11. What is the Formula for Mass in Chemistry?

Besides what instrument is used to measure mass of an object, you must know that the mass of a substance in chemistry is calculated using a standard formula. It is also used to calculate the density of a substance.

Density = mass/volume.

To calculate the mass, you can say that mass is equal to the product of the density and volume of a substance. Here, you can use physical balances to calculate the mass. (Also read How many Ounces in a Half Gallon?)

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