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What is weight?

Debraj Paul
13/02/2017 0 0

Weight is a form of measurement that is dependent on gravity and, unlike mass, your weight can vary depending on where you are in the universe.

Weight is a pretty important measure not only to dieters the world over but also to the scientists and egg heads who design things like space shuttles and boats - opposite end of the spectrum, but it's all about perspective.

But how can weight vary whilst mass has to remain constant? It's fairly simple: weight is a variable i.e. it can change based on the amount of gravitational pull an object exerts on a body. Scientists have defined weight using this equation:

Formula: Weight (W) = Mass (M) multiplied by gravitational acceleration (g). (W = mg)

Simple, right?

Some key points about weight

  1. The weight of an object changes based on where it is. If you've decided to visit the moon to test out this theory then you'll find that, in a matter of hours, you will have slashed your weight by two thirds (in your face, Slimming World!)
  2. Weight is a vector and its direction of pull is towards the centre of the planet you're stood on. What? Sorry, I did promise layman's terms: gravity, which is created by the mass of an object, moves towards the centre of the object and it is gravity that determines your, or any other object's, weight.
  3. The weight of any given object can go up or down depending on the amount of gravity acting on it. More gravity - the heavier the object. Less gravity - the lighter the object.
  4. Unlike mass, weight can be zero. An example of this is an astronaut floating in space - there's no gravity acting on his body and, therefore, he has no weight.
  5. Weight is commonly measured in Newtons.
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