Many would think that using scales is an easy task. This common perception is far from reality. Using scales takes consideration for obtaining the most precise measurement of mass. Because scales differ on what job they are to accomplish and because they differ on how they make the measurement, human error can become a prominent problem. A person should review how to use scales so that errors can be avoided.

Mechanical Scales

Mechanical scales can be a difficult thing to master. Some triple-beam balances can provide accurate measurements down to half a milligram, but these are not the only kind as some use spring compression to make the measurement.

These scales typically need to be calibrated before each use. This process involves taking a standard mass that is at 100% capacity or near it of the scale itself. If the scale reads off from the actual mass, there is a screw or other device that can change how the scale reads. This needs to be set before taking any measurement.

Taking the measurement requires placing a weight onto a platform and waiting until the scale relaxes into position. It must be on mark, not above or below, for it to be an accurate measurement.

Digital Scales

Digital scales help to make taking measurements a little easier. They usually calibrate themselves automatically when they are turned on and can give accurate measurements sometimes down to 100 micrograms.

Using a digital scale is a little different. In the case of auto-calibration, a user would first turn the scale on. It would then display a series of numbers or letters and then change to 0 fairly quickly. It is important not to place the item on the scale during calibration. This will lead to false readings like negative mass. At this point the user should place the item to be measured on the scale and read what the final result is.

Correctly using scales to measure mass is an important skill in any laboratory or business. This task means getting the right answers to equations or the correct products from reactions. Using scales depends on whether they are mechanical or digital. Mechanical scales provide a correct reading but involve more time to calibrate the instrument and to wait for the reading. Digital scales provide a quick method of obtaining a reading, but it is important not to disturb the scale during calibration.

Torbal provides a wide range of scientific instruments, including scales, which measure specific properties of materials. Please contact us so we can find the right instrument for your business, laboratory, or school.