# How to calculate mass: 10 steps (with pictures)

Mass represents the amount of matter found in something. Matter is something you can physically touch. Mass is generally related to size, although this is not always the case. For example, a balloon could be larger than something else but have a smaller table. In this article, you will see some ways to measure mass.

## Steps

### Part 1 of 3: Finding Mass from Density and Volume

#### Step 1. Find the density of an object

Density measures how tight the matter is inside an object. Each material has its own density, which you can search online or in a textbook. The scientific unit for density is the kilogram per cubic meter (kg / m3), but you can also use the gram per cubic centimeter (g / cm3) to measure smaller objects.

• Use the following formula to convert between these units: 1000 kg / m3 = 1 g / cm3
• The density of liquids is usually measured in kilograms per liter (kg / l) or grams per milliliter (g / ml). These units are equivalent: 1 kg / L = 1 g / ml.
• Example:

diamond has a density of 3.52 g / cm3.

#### Step 2. Measure the volume of the object

Volume is the amount of space that the object occupies. The unit used to measure the volume of solids is the cubic meter (m3) cubic centimeter (cm3), while to measure the volume of liquids the liter (L) or the milliliter (ml) is used. The formula for finding the volume will depend on the shape of the object. Check out this article for common shapes.

• Use the same unit that appears as part of the density measurement.
• Example:

how we measure the density of diamond in g / cm3, we must measure its volume in cm3. Suppose its volume is 5000 cm3.

#### Step 3. Multiply the volume times the density

Multiply both numbers and you will find the mass of the object. As you do this, keep track of the units and you will get a unit of mass (kilograms or grams).

• Example:

we have a diamond that has a volume of 5000 cm3 and a density of 3.5 g / cm3. To find its mass, multiply 5000 cm3 x 3.5 g / cm3, which will result in 17,600 grams.

### Part 2 of 3: Finding Mass in Other Science Problems

#### Step 1. Determine the mass using force and acceleration

Newton's second law of motion indicates that a force equals mass times acceleration: F = ma. If you know the net force and acceleration of the object, you can rearrange this formula to find its mass: m = F / a.

• Force is measured in N (newton), which you can also write as (kg * m) / s2. Acceleration is measured in m / s2. When you calculate F / a, the units cancel to give you an answer in kilograms (kg).

#### Step 2. Understand mass and weight

Mass is the amount of matter in an object and it does not change unless you cut off some of it or add more material. Weight is a measure of the effect gravity has on mass. If you move the object into an area with a different gravity (such as from the Earth to the Moon), its weight will change, but not its mass.

### Under the same gravity, an object with greater mass weighs more than one with less

#### Step 3. Calculate the molar mass

If you're doing a chemistry homework, you might come across the term "molar mass." This is a related concept, but instead of measuring an object, you measure exactly one mole of a substance. Here's how to calculate it in most contexts:

• For an element: Find the atomic mass of the element or compound you measure. To represent it, you must use “atomic mass units”. Then multiply the result by the molar mass constant, 1 g / mol, to express it in standard molar mass units: g / mol.
• For a compound: Add the atomic masses of each atom in the compound to find the total atomic mass unit of the molecule. Multiply this result by 1 g / mol.

### Part 3 of 3: Measuring Mass with a Scale

#### Step 1. Use a triple bar scale

The balance is a device that is widely used to calculate the mass of an object. This scale has three bars, which carry weights. These weights allow you to move the known masses along the bars.

• Gravity does not affect this type of scale. Therefore, with it you can obtain the real mass measurement. Its function is to compare a known mass with an unknown mass.
• The center bar on the balance is read in 100 g increments while the furthest bar is read in 10 g increments. The weights are located in a notch; the front can be read from 0 to 10 g.
• With this scale, you will be able to obtain a very precise measurement of the mass. The error level of this balance is only 0.06g. Consider its operation as if it were a seesaw.

#### Step 2. Move the three sliders to the extreme left

Do this while the pan is empty to get the balance to read zero.

• If the indicator located on the far right is not aligned with the fixed mark, you will need to calibrate the scale by turning the screw located on the left, below the tray.
• The reason for this is to make sure that the empty tray gives a reading of 0,000g so that its weight does not affect the reading you get of the dough. The weight of the container or tray is known as tare.
• You can also adjust or loosen the pan to zero by screwing the knob underneath it. Again, the balance should read zero. Next, place the object to be measured on the tray. Now you are ready to determine the mass of the object using the sliders.

#### Step 3. Move one slider at a time

First, move the 100g slider to the right. Do this until the indicator drops below the fixed mark. The position to the left of this point indicates the number of hundreds of grams. You will need to slide it one notch at a time.

• Move the 10g slider to the right. Do this until the indicator drops below the fixed mark. The toothed position immediately to the left of this point indicates the number of tens of grams.
• The front bar has no notches. You can move it anywhere you want. The numbers in bold that you have are measured in grams. The tick marks between the numbers in bold indicate the tenths of a gram.

#### Step 4. Find the mass

Now you are ready to find the mass of the object that you placed on the tray. To do this, you must add the numbers from the three bars.

• Read the front scale just like you would a ruler. You can read it in the direction of the nearest tick mark.
• For example, let's say you want to measure a can of soda. If the rear weight is in the notch giving a measurement of 70 g, if the average weight is in the notch giving a reading of 300 g, and if the weight of the front bar is 3.34 g, then the can measures 373, 34 g.