Skip to main content
Select Source:

torsion balance

torsion balance, instrument used to measure small forces. It is based on the principle that a wire or thread resists twisting with a force that is proportional to the stress. The torsion balance consists essentially of a wire or thread attached at one end and arranged in such a way that a force applied at the other, or free, end tends to twist it out of shape. The force is measured by the extent to which the wire or thread is so twisted. Torsion balances are used to measure small electric, magnetic, and gravitational forces. One type is used to measure small weights. The invention of the torsion balance is commonly credited to the English geologist John Michell, who made his instrument c.1750, and to the French physicist Charles A. de Coulomb, who independently devised such a balance c.1777.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"torsion balance." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"torsion balance." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/torsion-balance

"torsion balance." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/torsion-balance

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

torsion balance

torsion balance A weighing instrument in which the required weight of a sample is set by rotating a lever to move a needle to the appropriate position on a graduated scale, and then the sample is added to the weighing pan, a little at a time, until it counterbalances the pre-set weight precisely and the needle is brought back to the ‘zero’ position. This is a useful and rapid technique when large numbers of routine weighings need to be performed in the range of 0.01–5.0 g.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"torsion balance." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"torsion balance." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/torsion-balance

"torsion balance." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved February 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/torsion-balance

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.