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Mass Vs. Weight: What Are The Differences?

Have you ever wondered what you account for? Every person is made up of such a unique interconnected system that it leaves a fellow at a close proximity to marvel. Science, of course, has introduced us to a solid foundation to which we can base our makeup. Properties held within us have even allowed us an outward perspective regarding bodies in general. Let’s start from a shallow breach, however. Mass or Weight? That’s the question. When people refer to any object’s solidity, they rarely pay notice to the substantial difference between mass and weight. In a way, and to the view of an inexpert observer, the two revolve around the same principle; matter. However, a physics professor might have a cardiac arrest before you attempt to argue with the matter!

 

What is Mass

The word “mass” has become unanimous with the general reference made to any “object” of study. The reason behind that is that mass constitutes the amount of matter contained within an object. That said, the mass of an object is a constant property. Regardless of your condition, your mass will not be affected by any external forces, nor will it vary as you change your position. Some people even believe mass is related to an object’s size, but that is not always applicable; it depends on the amount of matter held inside of each specific body. A balloon can be blown up to be bigger than your average bowling ball, but that doesn’t mean its mass will be greater. Most importantly, mass is a scalar quantity; not a vector quantity, and it is measured in g or Kg.

 

What is Weight

Unlike mass, weight is a force vector. We measure the magnitude of weight by multiplying mass and the gravitational acceleration (W=mg), and its S.I. unit is newton. Here’s the thing; on earth, the pull of gravity is constant, so a person would weigh more with more mass. Weight is the force resulting from the earth’s gravitational pull on objects. The fundamentals of this gravitational attraction are, to this day, still studied and speculated by physicists; Sir Isaac Newton, however, has long since established that the gravitational force depends on the mass of the object immensely. What’s important is that on the moon, for example, your weight would be very small if not negligible. That is because the gravitational pull is very small on the moon, and, hence you would weigh less. That said, weight is a variable quantity. When you “weigh” yourself on a balance, you are calculating your mass taking into account earth’s gravitational pull on you.

 

Key Differences Between Mass and Weight

Here are the main differences between mass and weight that are shown with a Mass vs Weight comparison table.

Mass

Weight

  • Mass is defined as the quantity of matter contained within an object.
  • Weight is defined as the force exerted by earth on any object.
  • Mass is a constant property; it does not change when a body changes position or state.
  • Weight is variable; it depends on the gravitational attraction between the earth and the object.
  • Mass is measured in grams or kilograms (scalar quantity).
  • Weight is a force and is hence measured in newtons. (vector quantity).

 

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