Weighing in the Laboratory, Chemistry tutorial


Weighing scale is extremely attractive and interesting. Such didn't come to existence overnight, they changed from a barter system where chapters were absent balanced to the modern day standards. Whenever the standard chapters were admitted via businesses and governments across diverse regions, an industrial revolution was set to start and everyone advantaged from that. Today the old age classical weighing scales contain become obsolete but they served the civilization for a long time. In the modern times, one can see the weighing scales ruling the industrial and domestic space.

Types of Weighing Balances:

Here is a list of different products that we should know about.

1. The conventional wooden or iron scale was the oldest weighing machine discovered via man. It consisted of 2 containers joined to each other throughout a pulley system. Such weighing scales were signifying for domestic reasons and they often reported incorrect dimensions. It was more of a weighing balance than a weighing scale.

2. The next stage was the spring balance. A spring attached to a fixed and rigid system that was used to weigh mass of objects by hanging them with the spring. The spring will develop tension in it and it will reflect a standard value on the rigid body attached to it. The value will reflect the weight of the object in standard unit of mass. Precision and accuracy were still missing in this case.

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Fig: Spring Balance

3. The modern digital weighing scales are the 3rd type of weighing machines discovered so far. Such are the products that are electronically functioned and display consequences extremely precisely. They have many kinds, styles and weigh ranges. Largely, they can be classified into 2 categories namely; Industrial Scales and Domestic Scales.

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Fig: Digital Weighing Scales

4. Hydraulic Scales are utilized generally in the laboratories and industrial chapters. It made utilize of liquid displacement technique to weigh the mass of important objects. The object situated on the top of weighing panel displaces the liquid and the volume change indicates the weight of the object. Today, the weighing scales have changed a lot over a course of time. Most of the modern discovered equipments are precise, accurate and minimize the errors whereas weighing. Such weighing machines constitute of electronic circuits, digital chips, electronic sensors and motion sensors. They are portable, lightweight and easy to function and even an unskilled person can operate such devices.


Whenever mass amounts are specified in chemical procedures the given terms are generally utilized: 

a. "Weigh out about 2g of ". This statement denotes that we are needed to weigh an amount of roughly 2 grams. The accuracy to which this mass amount requires to be known is not high and the top-loading balance will suffice.

b. "Accurately weighs out about 0.2g of ". This proclamation indicates that we should, by the aid of the analytical balance, weigh out an amount that is close to 0.2g, but we must know the exact amount to an accuracy of ± 0.1 mg.

Note that this doesn't denote that we must weigh out exactly 0.2000g. An amount between 0.1900 g and 0.2100 g is flawlessly satisfactory. Though, we must know the exact amount to the nearby 10th of a milligram. Whenever weighing out triplicate samples, it is not needed that all 3 weights be exactly similar, certainly, it is poor process to attempt to do so.

In this chapter, we will be asked to make a variety of weighing. It is significant for us to realize by what kind of accuracy such weighing should be made. Depending on the wished accuracy we should utilize the proper balance to make our weighing. There are 2 kinds of balances available to us in this course:

A. The top-loading balance

The top-loading balance digitally displays a mass reading, in grams, to 2 decimal places. The uncertainty in a single reading on the top -loading balance is 0.05g. 

B. The analytical balance

The analytical balance is more precise than the top-loading balance. Its digital display provides mass, in grams, to 4 places after the decimal. The uncertainty in a single reading on the analytical balance is ~ 0.0002g. We will utilize this balance if the experiment calls for accurate measurement of mass. Not at all use the analytical balance if the top-loading balance will do. The analytical balances are generally located in the "Balance room" of a laboratory.

Weighing on an Analytical Balance: 

Weighing is a frequent step in analytical process, and the balance is a vital piece of laboratory equipment in mainly analyses. In spite of this, weighing is a ordinary source of error that can be tricky to notice in the final analytical consequences. The procedure explained here applies straightly to electronic balances; consequently, assured portions of the process are not applicable to other kinds of balance. The weighing procedure can be divided into 3 basic steps: planning, checking the balance, and weighing the material.


The first step is the proper to assembling of the equipment, these as containers for weighing, receiving vessels, forceps, pipettes, spatulas of proper size, and so forth. Employ containers of size these that the loading capacity of the balance is not extended. Make sure that the containers choose to receive the weighed material are clean and dry. Assemble the need chemicals if solutions or reagents are need. Preparation of the material to be weighed is often required. The material might entail grinding or drying. Several materials might have been heated or stored in a refrigerator. Materials must be brought to the temperature of the balance previous to they are weighed. To avoid condensation of moisture, refrigerated materials must be permitted to come to room temperature before the container is released.

Checking the Balance

In the after that step it is significant to keep in mind that, unless the balance is make sure before each weighing operation is executed, errors can simply occur, consequential in faulty analytical data. The balance user should make sure the balance atmosphere, calibration, and balance uncertainties. Never imagine that the balance has been left in the proper operating condition via the earlier user.

Balance environment 

The balance is situated in a suitable location through satisfactorily low levels of vibration and air current. It must have a steady electrical contribute. The balance and the surrounding work area have to be kept neat and tidy. It is fine practice to utilize a camel's hair brush or its equivalent to dust the balance pan previous to any weighing so as to take away any materials that might have been left via the previous operator. 

NOTE: Individuals must clean up debris, dispose of any spilled materials or paper, and eliminate the vessels and apparatus utilized in making the dimensions.

When a balance is shifted, it must be permitted to adjust to the temperature of its new atmosphere and be readjusted.


If needed, turn on the power, and permit the balance to equilibrate for at least 1 hour earlier than proceeding through the calibration. (Microbalances might need up to 24 hours reaching equilibrium). If the balance power has gone off and then has come back on, as in a power outage, certain kinds of balance might show a message indicating which the balance must be standardized before a weighing is made. If the operator touches the balance bar, the message might be patented and the balance might display zeros; though, the balance will not provide the accurate weighing until it has been calibrated. Electronic analytical balances have an internal calibration system supported on an applied load. The calibration applies for the current ambient temperature.

Balance uncertainties 

Drift Reduction: Drift is one of the most general errors, and it is as well one of the easiest to decrease or eliminate. Balance drift can be present without the operators being aware of the problem. Check the sample, the balance, and the laboratory environment for the following causes of errors, and eliminate them when: 

  • A balance door is release
  • Temperatures of the balance and the material to be weighed are not similar
  • The sample is losing or gaining weight
  • The balance has been freshly shifted but has not been permitted to equilibrate to its surroundings or has not been recalibrated
  • Air currents are here in the laboratory
  • Temperatures in the laboratory fluctuate
  • The balance is not correctly leveled
  • Laboratory operations are causing vibration
  • Hysteresis of the mechanical parts takes places throughout weighing.

Rules for Weighing

  • Never handle objects to be weighed by bare hands. Utilize tongs or paper towels if no suitable tongs are available.
  • Never weigh chemicals directly on the balance pan; utilize a glass container or weighing paper or filter paper.
  • If you spill a chemical on the top -loading balance, clean it immediately. Never spill chemicals inside the analytical balance enclosure. Keep the weighing chamber and weighing pan clean.
  • Before using the balance, be sure that the pan is clean. If it is unclean report it to our instructor, then brush it off by the brush give.
  • Do not overload the balance. The maximum capacity of the top -loading balance is 620g. The maximum capacity for the analytical balance is 110g.
  • Do not weigh hot or cold objects on the balance. Hot objects will give erroneously low readings due to buoyancy of hot air, while cold objects will give high readings.
  • Check to be sure that the balance is leveled. It is level if the bubble in the Level Indicator is in the centre while the balance is "OFF". Our instructor might require adjusting the leveling Feet.

Weighing by Difference to Overcome the Problem of Balance Calibration Errors

How accurate are our balance readings? There is no way for us to know. In order to defeat the difficulty of inaccurate readings due to lack of calibration or miscalibration, chemists intended a process termed weighing via difference. It doesn't matter how far off each reading of our balance is if we weigh our sample by difference.

For instance: Weighing a solid sample via difference from a beaker: To discover the mass of the sample in the beaker, 1st the empty beaker is situated on the balance and the mass is read. Then the solid is adjoined to the beaker and the mass of beaker through solid is read. The mass of the solid example is the difference between the 2 readings.

Notice that the weighing pan of the analytical balance is enclosed in glass. This glass case is intended to shield the balance from temperature fluctuations and air currents that reason the balance to drift - that is, the digital display continues to transform in 1 direction (up or down). To make sure that the temperature of the air in the balance doesn't vary, keep our hands (which are warmer than the air in the balance) out of the enclosure as much as possible, and keep the balance doors secured.

Using Balance 1, a calibrated balance, the given masses are recorded:

Mass of Empty Beaker: 24.7423 g

Mass of Beaker + Solid: 26.7587 g

Mass of sample: 26.7587g - 24.7423 g = 2.0164 g

Using Balance 2, an uncalibrated balance (all readings are low by 0.5000 g) the given masses are recorded:

Mass of Empty Beaker: 24.2423 g

Mass of Beaker + Solid: 26.2587 g

Mass of sample: 26.2587g - 24.2423 g = 2.0164 g

All through the weighing procedure we should shield the object we are weighing from coming in contact through our hands via handling it through a paper towel.

Sample weighing experiment:

Using the Top-Loading Balance

1.  Get a numbered metal block from the side bench. Record its number on the Report Sheet.

2.  Locate the top-loading balances in our laboratory.

3.  Check the balance for dust or chemicals, brushing off any that we see.

4.  Check the balance level. Look for the Level display at the back of the balance. The bubble should be in the centre of the circle. If it isn't, ask our instructor to level the balance for our. You should not attempt to regulate the level through ourselves.

5.  Turn the balance ON. Wail until it displays "0.00 g", and then place our metal block on the pan.

Read the balance and record the mass straightly onto our Report Sheet.   

Remember, if we record a datum incorrectly on our report sheet, just cross it out by a single line and write the correct value next to or above it.

6. Turn off the balance. Please always remember to turn off the top-loading balance when terminated.

7. Using similar metallic block, repeat steps 2 -6 using 2 other top-loading balances.

Using the Analytical Balance

1.   Get a numbered metal block from the side bench. Record its number on the Report Sheet.

2.   Locate the analytical balances in our laboratory. 

3.   Check the balance for dust or chemicals, brushing off if any.

4.  Check the balance level. Look down through the glass top to the floor of the balance. The leveling bubble is visible through a hole in the floor. If the bubble isn't centered, ask our instructor to level the balance for us. We should not attempt to adjust the level via ourselves.

5. Push the ON button. Allow the balance to calibrate. After about 5 seconds, it will display "0.0000g". The balance is now ready to be utilized. If the balance does not read zero, push the T (tare) button. The balance should read 0.0000 g.

6. Slide opens the door and carefully place the metal block on the centre of the pan to avoid corner load errors.

7.  Close the balance door and after about 5 seconds read and record the mass of the metal block on your Report Sheet. (Remember: all data must be recorded in INK.)

8.  Carefully eliminate the object and close the door, then push the "OFF" button.

9.  Repeat steps 2 to 8 using two other different analytical balances to find the mass of the same metal block. Record your data on your Report Sheet.

Weighing by Difference using the Tare Function of the Analytical Balance

1. Clean the outsides of three 125 ml Erlenmeyer flasks. Make sure the Erlenmeyer flasks are completely dry on the outside. Label the flasks: 1, 2, and 3 via writing the numbers on the white patches on the flasks.

Reminder: Throughout the weighing procedure we should shield the Erlenmeyer flasks from our hands by a paper towel.

2. Take the given items via us to the weighing room: Erlenmeyer flask #1, Report Sheet and pen.

3.  Turn the analytical balance on and permit it to calibrate.

4.  Once it reads 0.0000g, place flask #1 on the balance pan and close the balance door.

5.  Push the T (tare) button and the display will read 0.0000g, even though the flask is on the balance pan. Report this reading as the Initial reading on our report sheet.

6.  There is several NaCl in a plastic weighing boat next to the analytical balance. Use the long-handled plastic spoon given to carefully transfer, with no spilling, a small amount of NaCl into flask #1. Tap the handle of the spoon through our finger to get it to fall out of the spoon. Continue to add NaCl a little at a time until the display reads roughly 0.3g. Close the balance door and record the reading on our Report Sheet. Remember that the analytical balance reads and should be reported to 4 decimal places.

7.  When we are terminated, eliminate the Erlenmeyer flask, close the balance door, touch the tare bar then turn the balance off.

8.  Repeat steps 1 through 7, weighing examples of about 0.3 g into each of the remaining flasks, #2 and #3.

9.  Wash your Erlenmeyer flasks (do a final rinse by deionized water) and store them for our next laboratory period.

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