Difference Between Mass And Weight

The terms “mass” and “weight” are used interchangeably in ordinary conversation, but the two words don’t mean the same thing. The difference between mass and weight is that mass is the amount of matter in material while weight is a measure of how the force of gravity acts upon that mass.

The following definitions of mass and weight can be understood easily:

  1. Mass: Mass is the amount of matter present in a body and does not vary with the change in its geographical position on the earth’s surface. , Mass is denoted using m or M.
  2. Weight: This is the measure of the amount of force acting on a mass due to the acceleration due to gravity. Weight usually is denoted by W.

Note: The confusion in the units of mass and weight is eliminated, to a great extent, in S.I. Units.

The relation between the mass (m) and the weight (W) of a body is

Weight (W) = Mass × Gravity 
W = m × g

Where Weight (W) is measured in newtons (N),

Mass (m) is measured in kilograms (kg) and  ‘g’ is acceleration due to gravity is measured in ms-2.

Mass and Weight Difference

Mass is a property of matter. The mass of an object is the same everywhere,Weight depends on the effect of gravity. Weight varies according to location.
Mass can never be zero.Weight can be zero if no gravity acts upon an object, as in space.
Mass does not change according to location.Weight increases or decreases with higher or lower gravity.
Mass is a scalar quantity. It has magnitude.Weight is a vector quantity. It has magnitude and is directed toward the center of the Earth or other gravity well.
Mass may be measured using an ordinary balance.Weight is measured using a spring balance.
Mass usually is measured in grams and kilograms.Weight often is measured in newtons, a unit of force.

How Much Do You Weigh on Other Planets?

BodyMultiple of Earth’s GravitySurface Gravity (m/s2)
Earth1 (defined)9.8226

So, you may be surprised by your weight on other planets.

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