Browse Definitions :

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.

(and symbol)
To convert to
kilograms, multiply by:
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
This was last updated in January 2016

Continue Reading About mass (m)


  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

  • information governance

    Information governance is a holistic approach to managing corporate information by implementing processes, roles, controls and ...

  • enterprise document management (EDM)

    Enterprise document management (EDM) is a strategy for overseeing an organization's paper and electronic documents so they can be...


  • denial-of-service attack

    A denial-of-service (DoS) attack is a security event that occurs when an attacker makes it impossible for legitimate users to ...

  • information security (infosec)

    Information security, often shortened to infosec, is the practice, policies and principles to protect data and other kinds of ...

  • user authentication

    User authentication verifies the identity of a user attempting to gain access to a network or computing resource by authorizing a...



  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...


  • cloud storage

    Cloud storage is a service model in which data is transmitted and stored on remote storage systems, where it is maintained, ...

  • cloud testing

    Cloud testing is the process of using the cloud computing resources of a third-party service provider to test software ...

  • storage virtualization

    Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple storage devices into what appears to be a single storage ...