You Need to Weigh Some Water. All You’ve Got Is a Paper Clip

Let’s suppose you have to measure the mass of some water, and also you need to assemble a scale to do it. However you’re in a standard home crammed with regular stuff. There’s no fancy scientific gear. Are you able to do it with a typical family merchandise?

I believe that is certainly potential, and I’ll attempt to do it—with a paper clip.

OK, however why? This began with my work because the technical advisor for the CBS present MacGyver. My job was to verify the scientific plausibility of various hacks and generally recommend ways in which MacGyver may get out of a tough scenario. One in all MacGyver’s favourite issues to make use of was a paper clip—so I figured I might see what number of issues I may make from them.

To this point, I’ve made some cool paper clip-based devices.

It is simply enjoyable making sophisticated objects from primary components—it is the MacGyver means.

Now for the size. This may appear easy, however there’s going to be some graphing concerned, such that this is likely to be extra applicable as a weblog publish as an alternative of a video. Let’s do it.

Bear in mind, the aim right here is to measure the mass of some water. Since we’re on the floor of the Earth, there’s a fixed relationship between mass and weight—so we’re technically going to measure the water’s weight. What is the distinction between mass and weight? Right here is my full clarification, however the brief reply is that mass is the quantity of matter (protons, neutrons, electrons) a factor is product of, and weight is the gravitational drive exerted on that object by the Earth.

So how do you measure weight? It seems that the majority of our measurement instruments are literally for measuring distance. (It is true—test it out.) On this case, we will decide the burden (and thus the mass) of one thing by measuring the deflection of a paper clip, or how a lot it bends. If in case you have straightened a paper clip out into a protracted wire, the extra you push on one finish, the extra it bends. Nevertheless, when it’s curled up into its regular paper clip form, it’s far more tough to fold. That is similar to the drive required to stretch a spring, which is way more durable to deform than a straight wire. Nevertheless, for a perfect spring, the stretch distance is linearly proportional to the stretching drive, and that may not be true with a bending paper clip.

So the concept is that if we flatten out our paper clip, we will flip it right into a lever arm that may assist us weigh our water.

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