To determine the mass of two different objects using a beam balance.
A physical balance or Beam Balance is a weighing instrument that helps in measuring the weight (or gravitational mass) of an object by making use of the principle of moments. It consists of a metal beam B with a knife-edge at the centre pointing in the downward direction. The knife-edge rests on a horizontal flat top made of hard material (Brass). There are two edges with nuts n1 and n2 at the two ends of the metal beam. A pair of pans P1 and P2 are suspended through stirrups S1 and S2 respectively. The nuts n1 and n2 are used to adjust the weights of the pan. In the middle of the beam, there is a long pointer P pointing in the downward direction. This pointer moves on an ivory scale G fixed at the bottom of the brass pillar V. The pillar has two supports K1 and K2 which rests the metal beam when not in use. A knob H, at the bottom of the wooden box, is connected by a horizontal rod to the vertical pillar V. When the handle is rotated rightwards, the beam is raised and is ready to use. There are leveling screws W1 and W2 provided at the bottom of the box to make the pillar horizontal. The plumb line R suspended by the side of the pillar is given to confirm this. There are glass doors provided to the wooden box to avoid the air disturbance and to protect the balance from dust particles present in the air.
When the pans are empty, rotate the handle rightwards. The beam B will rise up and the pointer P will oscillate. If the oscillations are symmetrical about the central division of the ivory scale G, the balanced is under equilibrium state. By adjusting the nuts n1 and n2 ,the instrument can be made in the equilibrium state.
A physical balance determines the gravitational mass of a body by making use of the principle of moments. If the object O having gravitational mass m is placed on one pan and a standard mass O' of know gravitational mass ms is placed on another pan to keep the beam horizontal, then,
Weight of the body O in one pan = Weight of the body O' in another pan
or, mg = msg
where g is the acceleration due to gravity, which is constant. Thus,
m = ms
Table 4.1 Mass of the objects
Weight in gm
Weight in milligram y
y in gm
(x + y) gm
The mass of the first object is .................... gm.
The mass of the second object is ................ gm.
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