Mass and Its Measurement


Mass is defined as the amount of matter in an object or as the measure of resistance to acceleration of an object's (a change in its state of motion) when a net force is applied.

It also determines the strength of its mutual gravitational attraction to other bodies.

The basic SI unit of mass is the kilogram (kg).

Mass is not the same as weight, even though we often calculate an object's mass by measuring its weight with a spring scale, rather than comparing it directly with known masses.

An object on the Moon would weigh less than it does on Earth because of the lower gravity, but it would still have the same mass. This is because weight is a force, while mass is the property that (along with gravity) determines the strength of this force.
 However, at very high speeds, special relativity postulates that energy is an additional source of mass. Thus, any stationary body having mass has an equivalent amount of energy, and all forms of energy resist acceleration by a force and have gravitational attraction. In addition, "matter" is a loosely defined term in science, and thus cannot be precisely measured.

There are several distinct phenomena which can be used to measure mass. Although some theorists have speculated that some of these phenomena could be independent of each other,current experiments have found no difference in results, whatever way is used to measure mass:

Inertial mass measures an object's resistance to being accelerated by a force (represented by the relationship F = ma).
Active gravitational mass measures the gravitational force exerted by an object.
Passive gravitational mass measures the gravitational force exerted on an object in a known gravitational field.

The mass of an object determines its acceleration in the presence of an applied force. The inertia and the inertial mass describe the same properties of physical bodies at the qualitative and quantitative level respectively, by other words, the mass quantitatively describes the inertia. According to Newton's second law of motion, if a body of fixed mass m is subjected to a single force F, its acceleration a is given by F/m. A body's mass also determines the degree to which it generates or is affected by a gravitational field. If a first body of mass mA is placed at a distance r (center of mass to center of mass) from a second body of mass mB, each body is subject to an attractive force Fg = GmAmB/r2, where G = 6.67×10−11 N kg−2 m2 is the "universal gravitational constant". This is sometimes referred to as gravitational mass.[note 1] Repeated experiments since the 17th century have demonstrated that inertial and gravitational mass are identical; since 1915, this observation has been entailed a priori in the equivalence principle of general relativity.   
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