I work for a company that produces (among other things) a microbalance that can measure mass/weight from around 100ng to 100mg ie it is accurate over 6 orders of magnitude. However, this relies on gravity acting as a counterforce to a computer controlled magnetic field.

Has anyone created a technique that can measure mass over such a wide range in freefall (zero G)? What do they use on the ISS? The only method I can imagine would be something involving vibration and/or springs, whether micro or macro.


closed as off-topic by John Rennie, Kyle Kanos, bobie, Prahar, JamalS Jan 15 '15 at 17:06

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You can simply put the item in a centrifuge to simulate gravity.

  • $\begingroup$ The major problem is accuracy. I suspect it would be exceedingly difficult to design such a device that is compact. Putting an existing microbalance in a centrifuge and compensating for Coriolis etc might be do-able but it goes from being a small box to something the size of a fridge. That in turn needs to be held in position in zero G $\endgroup$ – user56903 Jan 15 '15 at 16:21