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# What are a scale's platform balance parts and functions?

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According to American Weighing Scales, different types of platform scales are composed of different parts and use different terminology. However, there are two main types: spring scales and balance beam scales. The main function of both mechanisms is to provide an accurate weight measurement of an object.

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American Weighing Scales describes spring scales as containing a spring mechanism that stretches in direct proportion to the weight of an object placed on the bottom end, commonly called the "load receiving end." These types of scales are also known as "strain gauge scales." Modern versions use electronics to replace the actual spring or gauge, and are most likely found in laboratories because of their greater accuracy.

Balance beam scales are traditional, more widely recognized scales. A balance beam scale uses a fulcrum and lever. The lever balances across the fulcrum with the object to be weighed at one end and a counterweight at the other. Alternatively, the lever can be suspended from the fulcrum with the pans or plates for the object and counterweight suspended from each end. Once the lever is horizontal to the fulcrum, the unknown weight and the counterweight are equal, and the weight of an object can be determined.

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## Related Questions

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A triple beam balance is an instrument used to obtain precise measurements of masses. The reading error of a standard triple beam balance is only 0.05 grams.

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A spring balance uses the extension of a spring to measure a force. Spring scales, such as are often found in supermarkets, are a common type of spring balance. The spring balance relies on Hooke's Law, which states that, for any given increase in force, an elastic object will deform proportionately.

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A balance scale is used for weighing substances in a chemistry laboratory. One example of a balance scale, the analytical balance scale, can measure substances with a precision of one-tenth of a milligram or one-ten-thousandth of a gram. Analytical balances can detect the weight of a single grain.