The difference between mass and weight is that the inertia is measured by mass, and force is measured by weight. In everyday speech, the terms mass and weight are interchangeable, yet they do not signify the same thing. The distinction between mass and weight is that mass refers to the amount of matter in a material, whereas weight refers to how that mass is affected by gravity i.e. The amount of matter in a body is measured by its mass and weight is related to both mass and gravity.
The amount of force acting on a mass owing to gravitational acceleration is measured as weight. W is a common abbreviation for weight. Mass multiplied by gravitational acceleration equals weight.
When comparing both quantities on Earth—without moving! —the values for mass and weight are the same. If you change your location with respect to gravity, mass will remain unchanged, but weight will not. For example, your body’s mass is a set value, but your weight is different on the Moon compared with on Earth. Let’s discuss in detail what the difference between mass and weight is.
What is mass and weight?
What is mass?
Mass is defined as the amount of matter that an object has. It is a quantitative measure of a body’s resistance to acceleration. Regardless of where the body is, the mass will always be the same, that is, it is an intrinsic property of matter. Mass is an extensive property of matter that is affected by the quantity and size of the system but not with the position of body. It is a scalar quantity as it has no direction. Basically, it is the quantitative measure of inertia i.e. the resistance offered by a body of matter to change its position when force is applied. Mass of an object can never be zero.
How is mass calculated?
A balance is typically used to determine the mass, which is then compared to a known standard. The mass is measured in kilograms in the International System of Units.
Mass = volume × density
We can define mass as the amount of matter that makes up an object. The number of protons, neutrons and electrons in an atom can be used to determine its mass. As a result, mass refers to both a physical attribute and a measurement of an object’s resistance to acceleration when a net force is applied.
Definition of weight
The force of gravity acting on an object is referred to as the weight of the object. Some people define it as the gravitational force by which earth attracts that object. The weight of an object is equal to the product of the object’s mass and the magnitude of the local gravitational acceleration imparted by Earth or any other celestial body on it. The units of weight are Newton or pound.
W = m x g
It is a vector quantity as gravitational acceleration is a vector. On Earth, the value of gravitational acceleration is 9.8 m / s2. The formula can be used to deduce that the weight of an object is proportional to its mass. So if the mass or the gravity acting on object changes then its weight will also change. Weight of an object is also affected by the changing its position as changing position may refer to the change in gravity. Weight is usually measured by spring balance.
Why does weight change on different planets?
During the discussion to differentiate m and w, an interesting question arises that how much our body weighs on other planets. The answer is quite simple. We do not weigh the same on the moon or other planets, where there is no gravity. In that case, the mass remains constant but the value of w becomes zero as there is no gravity. This is the reason behind weightlessness in space.
The mass is based on the volume that a body occupies, while the value of w manifests the energy of that object with respect to the attraction that gravity exerts with another object. The force with which the earth pulls us to the ground determines our weight on land. To be precise, we do not weigh the same at the top of a mountain as we do at sea level, so international standards have been set to avoid errors due to the slight discrepancy.