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Construction of my spring scale

My spring scale has:

  • A handle on the top
  • A hook on the bottom
  • A very stiff spring on the inside, and
  • A circular dial with a red hand and a black hand on the front. The dial is calibrated both in lb (pounds-force) andin kg (kilograms-force).

The red and black hands

The red hand is normally in rotational equilibrium pointing to zero on the dial. The black hand can be rotated 360 degrees using a knob on the front of thescale.

Weighing a piece of luggage

You begin the process of weighing a piece of luggage by turning the black hand to point to zero. Then you hook the scale onto the handle on the luggage andpull up on the scale, causing the luggage to be lifted off the floor.

The red and black hands move

When you do that, the spring extends very slightly allowing the hook to move relative to the body of the scale,which in turn causes the entire scale to become slightly longer from top to bottom. The change inthe state of the spring is proportional to the downward force (weight) exerted by the luggage on the hook.

The internal mechanism causes the red hand to rotate around the center of the dial. The position of the red hand indicates theweight of the luggage when compared to the printed calibrations on the face of the dial.


When you are supporting the weight of the luggage with the spring scale, the luggage is being pulled down by the force of gravity and is being pulled up by the hook and your muscles. This causes thesystem to be in momentary equilibrium.

The black hand also moves

For convenience, the black hand moves along with the red hand, but unlike the red hand, the black hand doesn't return to zero when the luggage isallowed to settle back onto the floor. The position of the black hand, therefore,indicates the maximum angular excursion of the red hand, which indicates the weight of the luggage in either lb or kg.

Applying a force manually

When I hold the handle in one hand and pull on the hook with the other hand so that the overall length of the scale increases by about 1/4 inch, the redhand moves to a position indicating a force of approximately 20 lb or 9 kg.

When a spring balance is used in the following exercises, we will assume thatthe change in the overall length of the scale is negligible relative to the overall dimensions of the problem.

The difference between force and mass

The SI unit for mass is the kilogram with a symbol of kg.

An often-used non-SI unit for mass is the pound.

An area of potential confusion

Does the relationship between 20 lb and 9 kg as printed on the dial of my spring scale make sense? It only makes sense if you know what is meant by thoseabbreviations. (They do not indicate a 20-pound mass or a 9-kg mass as the abbreviations might lead you to believe.)

This is an area of physics that can be confusing -- the difference between force andmass.

Exercise relating pound-force to kilogram-force

Let's work through an exercise using the following abbreviations and see if we can justify the relationship between lb and kg indicated by the dial on my spring scale:

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Accessible physics concepts for blind students. OpenStax CNX. Oct 02, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11294/1.36
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