November 1, 2021

Balances are instruments used in different areas in order to measure the mass of an object or substance. It is usually a first degree lever with equal arms that, when working in equilibrium between the weight of two bodies, allows us to compare their masses.

What is it?

It is an instrument that allows us to measure the mass of different substances and objects . The most common consists of a lever with equal arms that compares the weight of the object or substance with graduated masses or patterns, which move along the lever until reaching equilibrium, this allows knowing the mass of the object to be measured.

The term balance comes from the Latin bilanx, where “Bi” means “Two” and “Lanx” which means “plate” this means that it means “balance of two plates.”

The oldest balances are those with two plates, they have a horizontal bar which was held in the center and remained level when balanced. The object to be weighed was compared with masses until the balance of the bar was reached again.

Over time, the balances evolved, nowadays the laboratory or chemical balance is of great precision since it weighs mass of reagents to carry out chemical or biological analyzes.

The precision of a balance varies from kilograms, having precision of grams, of commercial industrial scales, to balances that measure in grams that have the precision in milligrams in laboratory balances.

Balances are used in homes and businesses to weigh food or products and in laboratories they are used to weigh the masses of reagents to be used in biological or chemical analysis.

Today electronic scales are used, which have almost completely displaced lever scales.

Laboratory analytical balance

It is an instrument used in the laboratory to measure masses. It has a very small margin of error , for this reason, they are perfect if you need precise measurements. They are generally digital and deliver the information to you in different systems of units. For example, they indicate the weight of a substance in grams and reach accuracies of up to 0.00001 g (0.01 mg).

Laboratory balances were developed in 1750 by Scottish chemist Joseph Black, were more accurate than other balances of that time, and represented a breakthrough in chemistry.

Types of scales

There are different types of scales:

Cross scales: It is the typical balance of two plates that hang from a horizontal bar in balance. The object to be weighed is placed on a pan and compared with graduated masses until equilibrium is reached, which allows us to obtain the mass of the object.

Roman scales: They are similar to classic scales, but their arms are uneven.

Sliding weight scales: It has two or more weights that slide on graduated scales that indicate the weight where balance is reached with the weight of the object.

Precision balances : They allow to determine the mass of small objects.

Single pan scales: They have a single pan and a needle that, through a system of springs, indicates the mass of the object.

Digital scales: They are the most modern and precise models, they have a pan and a program that calculates the mass and indicates it on a screen.

Granate balances: They are used in laboratories, they are high precision balances used to measure the mass of gases.

How is it used?

To use a balance in a laboratory, the first thing you must do is tare the container that will contain the reagent, that is, you must measure its mass to subtract it from the total when you weigh the reagent.

Electronic balances do it automatically, you just place the container, press the tare button and that’s it, when pouring the reagent they will only indicate its weight.

On analog laboratory balances, you must determine the mass of the container, pour in the reagent, weigh again, and then subtract the mass of the container from the total mass.

Electronic scales do not have a specific process to follow, you just have to follow the steps indicated in their manual, but sliding weights do. In them you must place the object to be weighed on the pan, first slide the largest weight until it almost reaches equilibrium, then move the second until it reaches equilibrium and if there is a third one, you can use it to finish adjusting the measurement.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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