Measurement of Mass and Time

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Measurement of Mass:

Mass is a basic property of matter. It does not depend on the temperature, pressure or location of the object in space. The SI unit of mass is kilogram (kg).

While dealing with atoms and molecules, the kilogram is an inconvenient unit. In this case, there is an important standard unit of mass, called the unified atomic mass unit (u), which has been established for expressing the mass of atoms as

1 unified atomic mass unit = 1u = (1/12) of the mass of an atom of carbon -12 Isotope (including the mass of electrons = 1.66 × 10-27 kg

Range of Masses

The masses of the objects, we come across in the universe, vary over a very wide range. These may vary from tiny mass of the order of 10-30 kg of an electron to the huge mass of about 1055 kg of the known universe.

Measurement of Time:

To measure any time interval we need a clock. We now use an atomic standard of time, which is based on the periodic vibrations produced in a cesium atom. This is the basis of the cesium clock, sometimes called atomic clock, used in the national standards.

Such standards are available in many laboratories. In the cesium atomic clock, the second is taken as the time needed for 9,192,631,770 vibrations of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium-133 atom. The vibrations of the cesium atom regulate the rate of this cesium atomic clock just as the vibrations of a balance wheel regulate an ordinary wristwatch or the vibrations of a small quartz crystal regulate a quartz wristwatch.

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