Mass
Contents
Key Stage 2
Meaning
Mass is the amount of stuff an object or material is made of.
About Mass
- Mass can be measured using a measuring scale.
- Mass is measured in grams and kilograms.
Note to Teachers
Students are frequently confused by the difference between mass and weight. This is in part due to the terms being used interchangeably during KS1 maths. It is also due to grams and kilograms being falsely referred to as weight in common parlance. The conceptual difference that mass is 'the amount of stuff in an object' and weight is 'the amount of force pulling an object down' should not be too complicated for a student. However, breaking the habit of using the words interchangeably proves challenging. Teachers should do their best to say 'mass' whenever they are talking about grams or kilograms and say Newtons, stone, pounds or ounces when talking about weight. A useful rule is to remember than on Earth 1kg weighs 10 Newtons. This gives an easy conversion when you want to talk about weight instead of mass. This is different in space where; on the moon 1kg weighs 1.6 Newtons and on Jupiter 1kg weighs 25 Newtons.
Key Stage 3
Meaning
Mass is the amount of matter that something is made of, measured in kilograms.
About Mass
- Mass can be measured using a measuring scale.
- The more mass an object has, the harder it is to accelerate the object.
The units of mass you should be able to use are:
- Kilograms: For objects that can be lifted by humans.
- Grams: For quantities of chemicals used in a chemical reactions.
Key Stage 4 Foundation
Meaning
Mass is the amount of matter that something is made of, measured in kilograms.
About Mass
- Mass can be measured using a measuring scale or Electronic Balance.
- The SI Unit of mass is the kilogram.
- Mass is a scalar quantity as it has magnitude but does not have a direction.
- The more mass an object has, the harder it is to accelerate the object.
The units of mass you should be able to use are:
- Megagrams: Also known as tons. There are 1000kg in one megagram.
- Kilograms: For objects that can be lifted by humans.
- Grams: For quantities of chemicals used in a chemical reactions. There are 1000g in 1 kilogram.
- Milligrams: For doses of medicine. There are 1000,000mg in a kilogram.
- Micrograms: For Vitamins and other micronutrients. There are 1000,000,000µg in a kilogram.
Key Stage 4 Higher
Meaning
Inertial mass is \(mass = \frac{Force}{acceleration}\); the ratio of force to the acceleration of an object.
About Inertial Mass
- Mass is the resistance of an object to being accelerated. The greater the mass the more force is needed to accelerate it.
- Mass can be measured using a measuring scale or Electronic Balance.
- The SI Unit of mass is the kilogram.
- Mass is a scalar quantity as it has magnitude but does not have a direction.
The units of mass you should be able to use are:
- Megagrams: Also known as tons. There are 1000kg in one megagram.
- Kilograms: For objects that can be lifted by humans.
- Grams: For quantities of chemicals used in a chemical reactions. There are 1000g in 1 kilogram.
- Milligrams: For doses of medicine. There are 1000,000mg in a kilogram.
- Micrograms: For Vitamins and other micronutrients. There are 1000,000,000µg in a kilogram.
- Nanograms: The mass of cells in organisms. There are 1000,000,000,000ng in a kilogram.
Equation
NB: You need to remember this equation.
Inertial Mass = (Resultant Force)/(Acceleration)
\(m = \frac{Force}{acceleration}\)
Where
\(m\) = The Inertial Mass of the object.
\(F\) = The Resultant Force on the object.
\(a\) = The acceleration of the object.
Example Calculations
Finding the Inertial Mass given the Force and Acceleration
An object is subjected to a resultant force of 92N and accelerates at a rate of 0.42m/s/s. Calculate the inertial mass of the object correct to two significant figures. | The brakes of a car provide a force of 12kN and are able to decelerate it at a rate of 8.7m/s/s. Calculate the intertial mass of the car correct to two significant figures. |
1. State the known quantities
a = 0.42m/s/s F = 92N |
1. State the known quantities
a = 8.7m/s/s F = 12kN = 12 x 10^{3}N |
2. Substitute the numbers into the equation and solve.
\(m= \frac{F}{a}\) \(m = \frac{92}{0.42}\) \(m = 219.047619kg\) \(m \approx 220kg\) |
2. Substitute the numbers into the equation and solve.
\(m= \frac{F}{a}\) \(m = \frac{12 \times 10^3}{8.7}\) \(m = 1379.31034kg\) \(m \approx 1400kg\) |
References
AQA
- Inertial mass, page 165, GCSE Combined Science Trilogy; Physics, CGP, AQA
- Inertial mass, page 197, GCSE Physics; The Complete 9-1 Course for AQA, CGP, AQA
- Inertial mass, page 65, GCSE Physics; The Revision Guide, CGP, AQA
- Mass, page 52, GCSE Physics; The Revision Guide, CGP, AQA
- Mass, pages 11-13, 76-78, 124-125, 145-146, 150-153, GCSE Physics; Third Edition, Oxford University Press, AQA
- Mass, pages 129, 130, GCSE Combined Science Trilogy; Physics, CGP, AQA
- Mass, pages 149, 150, GCSE Physics; The Complete 9-1 Course for AQA, CGP, AQA
- Mass, pages 152-3, GCSE Physics; Student Book, Collins, AQA
- Mass, pages 195, 204, 212, GCSE Combined Science; The Revision Guide, CGP, AQA
Edexcel
- Inertial mass, page 19, GCSE Physics, Pearson Edexcel
- Inertial mass, page 303, GCSE Combined Science, Pearson Edexcel
- Mass, page 150, GCSE Combined Science; The Revision Guide, CGP, Edexcel
- Mass, page 37, GCSE Physics, CGP, Edexcel
- Mass, page e17, GCSE Physics; The Revision Guide, CGP, Edexcel
- Mass, pages 16-17, GCSE Physics, Pearson Edexcel
- Mass, pages 216, 300-301, GCSE Combined Science, Pearson Edexcel
- Mass; conservation in changes of state, page 303, GCSE Physics, CGP, Edexcel
- Mass; conservation of, page 182, GCSE Physics, Pearson Edexcel
- Mass; conservation of, pages 218-219, 414, GCSE Combined Science, Pearson Edexcel
- Mass; inertial, page 19, GCSE Physics, Pearson Edexcel
- Mass; inertial, page 303, GCSE Combined Science, Pearson Edexcel
- Mass; inertial, page 36, GCSE Physics, CGP, Edexcel
- Mass; measuring, page 33, GCSE Physics, CGP, Edexcel
- Masses, page 72, GCSE Chemistry, Pearson, Edexcel
OCR
- Mass (units of), page 9, Gateway GCSE Chemistry; The Revision Guide, CGP, OCR
- Mass, pages 13, 14, 33, Gateway GCSE Physics; The Revision Guide, CGP, OCR
- Mass, pages 151, 166, Gateway GCSE Combined Science; The Revision Guide, CGP, OCR
- Mass, pages 24, 250, Gateway GCSE Physics, Oxford, OCR
- Mass, pages 90-91, 97-99, 164, Gateway GCSE Chemistry, Oxford, OCR