Difference Between Mass and Weight

Difference Between Mass and Weight

Difference between mass and weight is one of the most frequently asked questions. Some students often use the terms mass and weight interchangeably which is completely wrong. There are several differences between mass and weight which are discussed here in detail. The difference between mass and weight in tabular form are given below.

Before going to the mass and weight difference, it is important to know what they are and how are they related. To learn about mass and weight in detail, visit mass and weight. Here, the comparisons and differences between mass and weight with examples are given in tabular form below.

Difference Between Mass and Weight

Sl. No. Differentiating Property Mass Weight
1 Definition
  • Mass 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.
2 Denotation
  • Mass is denoted by “M”.
  • Weight is denoted by “W”.
3 Formula
  • Mass is always constant for a body and there are several formulas to calculate mass.
  • One way to calculate mass is:

Mass = volume × density

  • Weight 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

4 Quantity Type
  • Mass is a base quantity.
  • Mass only has magnitude and so, it a scalar quantity.
  • Weight is a derived quantity.
  • Weight has both magnitude and direction (towards the center of gravity) and so, it is a vector quantity.
5 Unit of Measurement
  • The SI unit of mass is Kilogram (Kg).
  • The SI unit of weight is Newton (N).
6 Gravitational Effect
  • Mass does not depend upon gravity and is constant everywhere.
  • Mass can never be zero.
  • Weight is dependent on the gravity and so, it varies from place to place.
  • Weight can be zero where there is no gravity (like space).
7 Measuring Instrument
  • Mass 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.

These were the main differences between mass and weight which many students are confused about. It is important to know about this topic in detail as it is a crucial part of the mechanics part in physics. Often questions based on the mass and weight differences are included in the competitive exams also.

Students are also required to know the basics of mass and weight thoroughly. Also, the formulas to determine weight and mass is crucial from examination point of view. Check the articles given below to understand weight, mass and their formulas in an easy way.

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Stay tuned with BYJU’S to get more such physics lessons in an easy and detailed way.

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