Parts of a triple beam balance & its uses

Written by jessica furgerson
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Parts of a triple beam balance & its uses
The triple beam balance is a vital tool in the science classroom. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

A triple beam balance provides greater accuracy than a traditional scale in determining the mass of objects in grams. The triple beam balance can tell the mass of objects up to 610 grams in weight. Best of all, the triple beam balance can estimate the mass of any object with a margin of error of only .05 grams.

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Basic Parts

While each triple beam balance differs slightly, there are two basic components that remain unchanged on the triple beam balance: the base and the pan. The base is a long metal platform which supports the rest of the apparatus. When moving the triple beam balance, place your hands on either side of the base for stability. The pan rests on top of the base and is a metal platform where the object being weighed is placed.

Adjustment Knob and Scale

The adjustment knob is located on the left hand side of the triple beam balance underneath the pan. The adjustment knob allows you to attain better accuracy when using the triple beam balance. The scale is located on the right hand side of the scale and is labelled with a zero. The scale lets you know when the beams are at their resting position of zero as well as when the correct mass of the object has been found.

Beams and Riders

As implied by the its name, there are three different beams on the triple beam balance which function independently to asses the mass of an object. Located on each beam is a rider which is slid along the beam when using the apparatus. The first beam, located in the front, has a 10-gram scale and a .01-gram rider and is the lightest beam. The second beam, located in the middle, has a 500-gram scale and a 100-gram rider and is the heaviest beam. The third beam, located in the back, has a 100-gram scale and a 10-gram rider.

Using the Triple Beam Balance

Set up the triple beam balance by sliding all three riders to the right hand side of the apparatus. The pan should be empty and the beams should point to the zero on the scale, indicating the triple beam balance has been zeroed out. Place the object onto the pan and begin to measure the mass of the object by moving the riders along the beams until the scale reads zero. Once the zero point is found read the corresponding measurement on each of the riders and record the mass.

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