Mass and Weight

The mass of an object is a fundamental property of the object; a numerical measure of its inertia; a fundamental measure of the amount of matter in the object. Definitions of mass often seem circular because it is such a fundamental quantity that it is hard to define in terms of something else. All mechanical quantities can be defined in terms of mass, length, and time. The usual symbol for mass is m and its SI unit is the kilogram. While the mass is normally considered to be an unchanging property of an object, at speeds approaching the speed of light one must consider the increase in the relativistic mass.

The weight of an object is the force of gravity on the object and may be defined as the mass times the acceleration of gravity, w = mg. Since the weight is a force, its SI unit is the newton. Density is mass/volume.

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Weight

The weight of an object is defined as the force of gravity on the object and may be calculated as the mass times the acceleration of gravity, w = mg. Since the weight is a force, its SI unit is the newton.

Data can be entered into any of the boxes below. Then click outside the box to update the other quantities.

At the Earth's surface, where g=9.8 m/s2 :


The weight of mass kg is Newtons
The weight of mass slugs is pounds

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What about the weightless condition?
 
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Weightlessness

While the actual weight of a person is determined by his mass and the acceleration of gravity, one's "perceived weight" or "effective weight" comes from the fact that he is supported by floor, chair, etc. If all support is removed suddenly and the person begins to fall freely, he feels suddenly "weightless" - so weightlessness refers to a state of being in free fall in which there is no perceived support. The state of weightlessness can be achieved in several ways, all of which involve significant physical principles.


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