How to Balance Torsion Scales

Using a Balance Scale
••• scale image by timur1970 from

A torsion scale, or balance, is a measuring device making use of wire or fiber to measure small forces produced by gravity or electrical charge on low-mass objects. Early torsion balances were used by famous scientists like Charles-Augustin de Coulomb to mathematically prove the forces between charged atoms. Practical torsion balances are used by pharmacies and other applications when tiny values — fractions of a gram — require measurement. Calibration is the proper term to describe the balancing a torsion scale, and it requires weights within the capacity of your scale.

    Pick the optimal weight calibration set for your torsion balance. Ensure the weights are graded below the maximum capacity of your balance. For example, if your torsion balance has a maximum capacity of one gram, pick a set of weights below one gram in mass.

    Place the torsion balance on a steady surface to prevent improper readings. Turn the balance on, if it has a digital readout.

    Pick a weight from the calibration kit. Weights are labeled or identified by mass. Place the weight on the torsion balance and read the measurement to determine if it is recording the correct mass.

    Turn the balance knob on the torsion balance if the measurement does not reflect the labeled mass. Adjust the knob until the measurement output matches the correct mass. Remove the weight from the balance.

    Place a different weight from the calibration kit onto the torsion balance. Verify the output reads the correct number.

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