Browse Definitions:
Definition

mass (m)

Mass (symbolized m) is a dimensionless quantity representing the amount of matter in a particle or object. The standard unit of mass in the International System (SI) is the kilogram (kg).

Mass is measured by determining the extent to which a particle or object resists a change in its direction or speed when a force is applied. Isaac Newton stated: A stationary mass remains stationary, and a mass in motion at a constant speed and in a constant direction maintains that state of motion, unless acted on by an outside force. For a given applied force,large masses are accelerated to a small extent, and small masses are accelerated to a large extent. The following formula applies:

F = ma

where F is the applied force in newtons, m is the mass of the object or particle in kilograms, and a is the resulting acceleration in meters per second squared. The mass of an object can be calculated if the force and the acceleration are known.

Mass is not the same thing as weight. Weight has meaning only when an object having a specific mass is placed in an acceleration field, such as the gravitational field of the earth. At the earth's surface, a kilogram mass weighs about 2.2 pounds, for example. But on Mars, the same kilogram mass would weigh only about 0.8 pounds, and on Jupiter it would weigh roughly 5.5 pounds.

When expressing large or small masses, prefix multipliers are used.The table below shows the most common alternative mass units and their relationship to the kilogram.

Unit
(and symbol)
To convert to
kilograms, multiply by:
Conversely,
multiply by:
metric ton (T) 1000 0.001
gram (g) 0.001 1000
milligram (mg) 10 -6 10 6
microgram (µg) 10 -9 10 9
nanogram (ng) 10 -12 10 12
picogram (pg) 10 -15 10 15

See a physics video comparing mass to weight:

This was last updated in January 2016

Continue Reading About mass (m)

Join the conversation

4 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles pringles
Cancel
gotta love pringles
Cancel
pringles baby
Cancel
PRINGLES
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

  • password

    A password is an unspaced sequence of characters used to determine that a computer user requesting access to a computer system is...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

  • NVMe (non-volatile memory express)

    NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is a host controller interface and storage protocol to enable a solid-state drive to use the ...

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close