Mass vs matter ?

Published:   June 27, 2024


Mass vs matter ?

Mass is a measure of an object’s inertia and is quantified in terms of kilograms or grams, while matter refers to anything that occupies space and has mass.

Matter is all the “stuff” that exists in the universe. It has both mass and volume. Mass measures the amount of matter in a substance or an object. The basic SI unit for mass is the kilogram (kg).11

Matter is anything that occupies space (having volume) and has mass is used to measure the amount of matter in a substance or an object."

Still this confused me, not able to intitutively, what is “mass” and what is “matter” ?

Bit more detailed explanation:

Q: What is matter ?

We are made of matter We are made of cells, tissues, and organs. These are all made of atoms and molecules. The rabbit is made of matter.

Q: What is mass ?

  • Mass is a property of a physical body.
  • We take that every physical body has property called mass.
  • ^We assume it and take if fundamental property like charge on electron.
  • It determines its acceleration in the presence of an applied force similar to ‘charge in electro-magnetic field’.
    It is the same whether we are on Earth, the Moon, or in space.

Q: If mass & weight the same, if not then what is the difference ?

No, mass and weight are not the same. Mass we’ve read above, while weight is the force of gravity acting on an object.If weight & mass are different, then


  • We say we have a weight of 70 kg not mass of 70 kg.
  • Does weighting machine show mass or weight ?

To understand weight, we need to understand gravity.

What is gravityRead more about What is gravity

So weight is what we feel because of gravity. Because some acceleration is acting on us. How that acceleration comes is different & everyone has their own theory. Read gravity to know more about it.

  • Weight is measured kg * meter/second^2. It is also called “Newton” in physics.
  • 1 Newton is the force required to accelerate a 1kg mass at 1m/s for 1 second.
  • Read more about Understanding Physics Units in Basic Form

Q: If weight in Newton, then why weighting machine show 70kg then ?"

On earth our weighing machines are calibrated to show our weight in kg. But it is actually showing our mass in kg. This is because the standard gravitational acceleration on Earth is assumed, and weighing machines are calibrated to show “weight” in kilograms, which is a bit of a misnomer because kilograms technically measure mass, not weight

If we took an earth calibration weighing machine to the moon, it would show our weight much less than 70 kg. But our mass would still be 70 kg. Because the weighing machine is calibrated to show weight on earth. If someone calibrated it to show weight on the moon, it would show 70 kg.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
It will help me to improve/learn.

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