Difference Between Mass and Weight

Difference Between Mass and Weight

The distinction between mass and weight ranks among the most commonly inquired concepts. A number of students tend to use the terms ‘mass’ and ‘weight’ interchangeably, a practice that is entirely erroneous. This article thoroughly examines the numerous distinctions between mass and weight.

Prior to delving into the dissimilarities between mass and weight, it’s crucial to comprehend their individual definitions and the correlation between them. For an in-depth understanding of mass and weight, you can explore the dedicated section on these subjects. Within this section, you will find a comparative analysis, accompanied by illustrative examples, presented in a tabular format.

Difference Between Mass and Weight

S. No.Differentiating PropertyMassWeight
1DefinitionMass is simply the measure of the amount of matter in a body.Weight is the measure of the amount of force acting on a mass due to acceleration due to gravity.
2DenotationMass is denoted by “M”.Weight is denoted by “W”.
3FormulaMass is always constant for a body and there are several formulas to calculate mass.One way to calculate mass is: Mass = volume × densityWeight is the measure of the gravitational force acting on a body.Weight can be calculated from the following formula:Weight = mass × acceleration due to gravity
4Quantity TypeMass is a base quantity.Mass only has magnitude and so, it is a scalar quantity.Weight is a derived quantity.Weight has both magnitude and direction (towards the centre of gravity) and so, it is a vector quantity.
5Unit of MeasurementThe SI unit of mass is Kilogram (Kg).The SI unit of weight is Newton (N).
6Gravitational EffectMass does not depend upon gravity and is constant everywhere.Mass can never be zero.Weight is dependent on gravity and so, it varies from place to place.Weight can be zero where there is no gravity (like space).
7Measuring InstrumentMass can be easily measured using any ordinary balance like beam balance, lever balance, pan balance, etc.Weight can be measured by a spring balance or by using its formula.
Difference Between Mass and Weight

These represent the primary distinctions between mass and weight, concepts that frequently bewilder many students. Acquiring a comprehensive understanding of this subject is vital, given its fundamental role in the realm of physics, particularly in mechanics. Notably, assessments, including competitive exams, consistently incorporate inquiries centered around the disparities between mass and weight.

Furthermore, students must possess a profound familiarity with the foundational principles of mass and weight. Equally significant are the formulas employed for the computation of mass and weight, particularly considering their pivotal relevance in examinations. For a more accessible grasp of the concepts of weight and mass, along with their respective formulas, I recommend perusing the provided articles.

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