Weight and Air Density Experiment

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Using a precise digital kitchen scale and a smartphone with a pressure sensor, we can easily measure the change in weight and atmospheric pressure in different locations.

Flat-Earthers claim that an object falls down because it is denser than the air surrounding it. However, simple measurements show that things weigh less at a higher altitude where the air is less dense, contrary to the expectation if their claim is true.

In these measurements, we measured a 1000 gram calibration weight using a digital coffee scale. The first measurement was done in Jakarta, Indonesia, at about 80 m above sea level.  Because the calibration was also done with the same calibration weight at the exact location, then the scale also indicated 1000 grams. As for the air pressure, the phone stated 1002.2 hPa.

Then we traveled to Bandung, Indonesia, at about 750 m above sea level. Measurements gave us 999.72 grams and 929.3 hPa. The scale measured that the weight was slightly less, and the air was also less dense.

We repeated the first experiment to ensure that the measurement was not affected by the previous measurement or anything that occurred afterward (carry-over effect). It gave us the same number, 1000 grams. And the air pressure changed slightly to 1003.5 hPa.

Items Used

  • Acaia Lunar coffee scale
  •  1000 gram calibration weight
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ smartphone
  • The app “Sensors Multitool”