What Instrument Is Used to Measure Mass?

What Instrument Is Used to Measure Mass? A balance is a tool for determining what somebody mass. Mass scales and mass balances are similar equipment. Physical balances, often called beam balances, were the first to measure solid mass.

What Instrument Is Used to Measure Mass?

What Is Mass or Weight?

The quantity of matter in a body is represented by the symbol m, and the force exerted on that mass by the acceleration of gravity is represented by the symbol w. Many people mistakenly believe that mass and weight are the same things, which might result in the wrong choice of measuring tools.

Weight and mass are synonymous since their values are directly proportional to one another. Nonetheless, an object’s mass is equivalent to the quantity of matter it contains, while its weight is proportional to the gravitational force acting upon it.

Difference Between Mass and Weight

Mass Weight
It does not change with position. It changes with the position.
Remain the same everywhere. It varies with gravity.
It is always >0 in the absence of gravity. It can be zero in space.
It is a quantity. It is a measurement.
An ordinary balance measures mass. A spring balance measures weight.
It is measured in grams and Kg. It is measured in newtons.

SI and Metric Units of Mass

The SI unit (International System of Units) for measuring mass in kilograms (Kg). The kilogram is defined by Planck’s constant, which is equal to 6.62607015 × 10−34 Joule seconds, with 1 Joule equal to the work done by 1 kilogram per second squared.

The kilogram, gram, milligram, and ton are the four standard metric measures of mass. One gram is equal to one thousand milligrams, one kilogram is equal to one ton, and so on.

Equipment for Weighing and Measuring Mass

The term “weight,” which more accurately refers to “mass,” is often used. In the business sector, mass is a common unit of measurement for a variety of different items. One kilogram is equal to exactly 2,205 milligrams.

Units are calculated according to the number of goods purchased. Gold is purchased by the gram or milligram, medication by the milliliter, food by the gram or kilogram, and express freight by the ton.

When comparing the masses of two objects, different tools are required. Some common tools for weighing and measuring are discussed below.

1. Common (Beam) Balance

The mass of the sample is compared to a known standard using a beam balance. Reference masses of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1, 2, and 5 kg are often used. Accurate mass measurement of up to 5g is possible with this balance.

2. Pan Balance

This standard reference mass-comparison balance is widely used in grocery stores and other retail outlets. The beam serves as a convenient surface for setting down the pans. The mass measured by this scale is accurate to within 5g.

3. Physical Equilibrium

This laboratory balance is quite similar to the beam balance; however, it is far more sensitive and can determine an object’s mass within a milligram. This physical scale employs 1 gram, 2 grams, 5 grams, 10 grams, 20 grams, 50 grams, 100 grams, and 200 grams as standard reference masses.

4. Equalization Using Digital Means

Commonly used in jewelers’ shops and laboratories, modern digital balances can measure mass precisely to within a few milligrams, with the lowest number being 10 mg.

5. Balance Springs

This balance measures weight. It features a spring-loaded rod. Hooke’s law states that increasing weight increases the spring’s length proportionally, allowing it to lift bigger weights. The rod’s pointer may be moved along the right-hand scale. The weight lengthens the spring, and the scale’s pointer shows its weight.

Keep in mind: It is important to be sure that your sample will not have any kind of chemical reaction with the container before you choose it. To ensure an accurate mass reading, close the doors on your balance if they open. If there are no exits, then the space should be kept free of noise and draught.

Methods for Measuring Mass

Some methods are used to measure the mass.

1. Get the Balance Prepared to Go

When you’ve mastered its use, clean and clear the balance of any debris. Put the balance on a flat surface and avoid placing the sample directly on the balance. The weighing pan’s surface may be harmed by some lab reagents, therefore use a weighted boat, weighing sheet, or graduated cylinder instead.

2. Indicator Scale Tare

The mass of the container plus the mass of the sample is the total mass of the system. If you want a precise reading of your sample alone, you need to exclude the weight of the container first. The container’s mass may cause you to use a different number of metric units than you intended.

When you tare your scale, the container’s weight is subtracted from the total. When using some instruments, it may be necessary to make a zero adjustment. While much modern electronic equipment may tare itself, maintaining its accuracy requires annual calibration.

3. Scale’s Jug

To reset the balance to zero, just press the tare button one more. The burden of your storage container is therefore lifted.

4. Place the Sample in the Container

Place the sample in the container that has been allotted for it. This is the weight of the sample that was provided to you.

Summary: You may also measure the container’s mass, add the sample’s mass, and remove the container’s mass to get the sample’s mass. If your container weighs 5 grams and the sample and container combined weigh 15 grams, the sample weighs 10 grams. Most scales have a “tare” feature that automatically calculates this.

Errors in Mass Measurement

After taking the container’s mass into account, the final result may still be off. The accuracy of many mass measuring devices is questionable. When determining a mass, there is room for mistakes because:

  • Movements of the mass are caused by gusts of air moving in either direction

  • A buildup of dust on the measurement tool

  • Water condenses on chilly measurement tools.

  • Scale parts are affected by magnetic fields.

  • Vaporization of wet materials.

  • Buoyancy

  • Component expansion/contraction due to temperature fluctuations (hot day observations may not be directly comparable to cold day data).

  • Synonyms: tremor (fluctuations will make it difficult to obtain a value)

Mass By Difference or Subtraction

When you put a sample in a container and weigh it, you obtain the combined mass of the container and the sample. We use this formula to Locate the Mass:

  • Sample mass = Sample mass/Container mass - Container mass

  • Tap the tare button or reset the scale to zero. The account total must equal zero.

  • Find out how much your sample and its container weigh.

  • The sample should be added to the solution.

  • Make sure the container isn’t overly light or hefty. Measurements should have enough significant digits. Depends on the instrument.

Even if you reuse the container, don’t assume its mass is constant. This is especially important when working with hygroscopic samples or in humid environments when even a tiny rise in humidity might alter the measurement.

Laboratory Equipment for Determining Mass

In the laboratory Mass is measured with the following tools:

1. Analytical Balance

The unit of mass measurement in laboratories is the analytical balance. Its accuracy is such that it can measure mass to within 10,000 or 100,000 of a gram.

2. Platform Balance

It is common practice in laboratories to utilize platform balancing, which consists of two platforms on which the weights are alternated until the platforms are in equilibrium. It’s practical, and it doesn’t need electricity to function.

3. Balance

Balances are used in labs to quantify mass to the nearest hundredth of a gram. As a result, it is a more time- and labor-saving method of determining weight.

4. Triple Beam Balance

A triple beam balance, also known as a three-rider beam, is a type of mass measuring device that uses three riders to counterbalance the pan holding the sample.

Note: To determine an object’s precise mass, they employ an intricate network of electrical sensors. These are highly susceptible to air movement, which might cause erratic readings.

Frequently Asked Question - FAQs

Some related questions are given below:

1- What exactly is the mass and the example?

Mass is an item or body’s stuff. Mass is everywhere. Tables, chairs, beds, footballs, glasses, and even air have mass. Mass determines the weight of all objects.

2 - What does it mean to say that something has mass?

Mass is a measure of matter’s inertia. It’s a body’s resistance to a force-induced change in speed or position. More mass means less force change.

3 - What’s mass in science?

Mass measures an object’s substance. It is dependent on the type of atoms and the quantity of them. Kilograms measure mass (kg).

4 - What is the difference between mass and matter?

The matter is everything with volume and mass. Mass quantifies the matter in an item, particle, or space.

5 - How do we measure mass?

Smaller masses can be quantified in grams (g). Balances measure mass. In the lab, mass is measured with a triple beam balance or an electronic balance, but the old-fashioned balance below may help you understand mass.

6 - How can we weigh something without gravity?

Inertia provides the most direct measurement of mass in the absence of a strong gravitational force. According to Newton’s second law of motion, the force exerted on an object is proportional to its mass multiplied by its acceleration. This equation forms the basis of the ZGMMD procedure.

7 - What are errors and what types of errors in physics?

The difference between real and estimated physical amount values is called error. Physics mistakes are random, blunders, and systematic.

8 - What may cause a measurement to be inaccurate?

Temperature, humidity, gravity, wind, refraction, magnetic declination, etc. might cause measurement mistakes. If they aren’t observed during measuring, the findings will be wrong. Temperature-related tape or chain length inaccuracy.

9 - What are 3 experiment errors?

Physical and chemical lab experiments contain systematic, random, and human error. Before taking action, study these lab error causes.

10 - Why do measurements fail?

Three types of measurement mistakes exist: Internal measuring system errors and Worn parts can cause this. Human error: user errors.

11 - What are the sources of error?

“Error Sources” restrict the accuracy and/or precision of experimental outcomes. Error sources are elements in the experimental setup and methods that can’t be “corrected.”

12 - Which four faults exist?

Error systemic

  • Mistaken observations are observational mistakes.

  • Instrumental mistakes occur when reading is inaccurate.

  • The laboratory environment causes inaccuracies.

  • Experimental techniques or assumptions create theoretical mistakes.

13 - Which is a random measurement error?

Random error: pressing the wrong key. Unknown and unplanned experiment adjustments create random measurement mistakes. The measurement devices or environmental circumstances may vary.

14 - What is an error in measurement in physics?

In physics, an error is a difference between a physical quantity’s actual and calculated values.

15 - Do scales give mass or weight?

Bathroom scales measure weight in mg, not m. For simplicity, they’re calibrated to indicate a reading in kg (or pounds). If the scales say your “weight” is 50 kg, that’s your mass.


A balance can measure the mass of almost everything you meet. The two masses are compared using a known mass. Digital scientific balances and triple beam balances are two types of balances. Mass measures inertia. Resistance to force-caused speed or position change. Bulk weakens force. Mass and weight are different. Weight is gravity, whereas mass is an item’s “substance.” The matter is mass. Mass abounds. Table, chair, bed, football, glass, and air comprise Mass. Masses are light or hefty.

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