If you’ve ever stepped on a bathroom scale in an elevator, you may have noticed that the reading is different than if you stepped on the scale at ground level. So, what’s going on? Is the scale in the elevator somehow different than a normal scale? Let’s take a closer look when a person stands on a bathroom scale in a motionless elevator.
The short answer is that the weight you measure in an elevator is the same as your weight at ground level. However, the force with which you press down on the scale is greater in an elevator than it is at ground level. This is because when you are standing still on a scale, gravity is the only force acting upon you. The amount of gravity pulling down on you is determined by your mass and the distance between you and the center of the earth.
The apparent reason
Since gravity is a constant, whether you are on the ground or in an elevator, your weight will always be the same. However, when you are in motion, there are other forces acting upon you in addition to gravity. These forces can affect your weight measurement. For example, if you were to step on a bathroom scale while riding a roller coaster, your weight would be different than if you were standing still on the scale.
This is because when you are moving, there is a force acting upon you called kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is what allows things to move and keep moving. It’s why a ball keeps rolling after it’s been thrown and why a car continues to move forward even after its accelerator has been released.Kinetic energy is also what makes it possible for roller coasters and other amusement park rides to stay in motion.
So, how does this all relate to stepping on a bathroom scale in an elevator? Well, when you step on a scale in an elevator that is moving upward, there is another force acting upon you in addition to gravity—the force of acceleration. The force of acceleration can cause your weight measurement to be higher than it would be if you were standing still on the ground or in an elevator that was not moving.
How much higher your weight measurement will be depends on how fast the elevator is moving and how heavy you are. A heavier person will experience more of a force due to acceleration than a lighter person will. Likewise, an elevator that is moving faster will create more of a force than one that is moving slower.
The next time you step on a bathroom scale in an elevator, remember that the reading is just as accurate as it would be at ground level—it’s just that the force with which you are pressing down on the scale is greater due to acceleration. So go ahead and step on thatscale with confidence!