A digital balance is a type of scale with a digital display that is often used in scientific and laboratory settings when a high degree of precision is required. For example, digital balances are often used when measuring out small amounts of powders for use in chemical experiments, or when the weight of an object needs to be added to in small increments.
Digital balances usually require less training than traditional scales, and they afford a greater amount of accuracy in their readings, according to HowStuffWorks. These balances work through the use of an object called a load cell, which can convert energy between different forms. When an object is placed on the scale and compressed on the loading plate, this creates a certain amount of mechanical energy. Load cells are able to convert this mechanical energy into electrical energy, which can be read by the machine and displayed as an accurate weight.
There are many different types of digital balances, and some of them use different types of load cells. For large and heavy objects, liquid-based hydraulic load cells are used. Industries and laboratories that deal with dangerous or sterilized substances often use an air pressure based load cell, called a pneumatic load cell.