Microbalances

Microbalances

For Your Most Precious Samples

A microbalance is an exceptionally precise instrument used for weighing very small samples with a high degree of accuracy. METTLER TOLEDO microbalances offer capacity up to 52 g and readability down to 0.1 µg, enabling you to weigh sample quantities with a weight as low as 30 µg. Micro weighing is commonly used in chemical and elemental analysis, emissions testing, and applications involving small quantities of rare, valuable, toxic or potent substances.

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FAQs

What is a microbalance and what is an ultra-microbalance?

A microbalance is a highly precise weighing instrument used for determining the weight of extremely small samples in the microgram weighing range. Microbalances offer six decimal place readability (1 µg), and ultra-microbalances offer seven decimal place readability (0.1 µg). The weighing cell in a microbalance or ultra-microbalance is highly sensitive, enabling samples as small as 30 µg to be weighed with a high degree of accuracy. Microbalances are commonly used for emissions testing, filter weighing, and chemical and elemental analyses.

Watch our sample preparation video to see XPR microbalances in action:

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Micro balance vs analytical balance. What is the difference?

An analytical balance is defined as having a readability of at least 4 decimal places (0.1 mg), with some having 5 or even 6 decimal place readability. A micro weighing balance has 6 (1 µg) or 7 (0.1 µg) decimal place readability; the name microbalance comes from the microgram readability. In general, micro balances offer better weighing performance and lower minimum weights, making them ideally suitable for weighing extremely small samples, from the microgram range up to just several milligrams. METTLER TOLEDO's balance portfolio includes three different types of micro weighing balance: micro-analytical balances, micro balances, and ultra-micro balances, in order of increasing weighing performance. The micro-analytical balance has the shape of an analytical balance but has a second inner draft shield and smaller hanging weighing pan. METTLER TOLEDO micro balances and ultra-micro balances have a protected design with a different shaped housing and a cylindrical draft shield. The table below summarizes the three METTLER TOLEDO micro weighing balance types:

Type

Readability

Scale division, d

Readability

Decimal places* (digits)

Minimum weight

(5% load, k=2 U=1%)

Draft shield type 
Micro-analytical balance

1 µg

(0.001 mg)

6

Down to 120 µg

(0.12 mg)

Rectangular outer + second rectangular inner
Microbalance1 µg
(0.001 mg)
6

Down to 82 µg

(0.082 mg)

Round
Ultra-microbalance

0.5 µg - 0.1 µg

(0.0005 mg) (0.0001 mg)

7

Down to 30 µg

(0.03 mg)

Round

*The number of decimal places refers to measurements in grams

What is a microbalance used for?

Micro balances are used in a wide variety of applications that require very small samples to be weighed with a high degree of accuracy. Micro balances are ideal for weighing valuable, rare and potent substances as only very small quantities are required; this is safer, more economical and makes the most out of your precious samples. Micro balances are commonly used in product testing and quality assurance laboratories. In chemistry labs and mining applications, micro balances are perfectly suited for weighing small amount of powders and minerals. Common micro balance weighing applications include particulate matter weighing (filter weighing/emissions testing), pesticide analysis, pipette calibration, and stent weighing.

For more information on weighing with a microbalance, visit our applications library page.

See our microbalances in action here:

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

What is special about microbalance design?

METTLER TOLEDO XPR microbalances incorporate some unique design features in order to provide you the best weighing performance coupled with ergonomic operation.

Separation of the micro balance electronics from the weighing cell

METTLER TOLEDO XPR microbalances are cleverly designed so that the electronics are separate to the precise mechanical weighing cell. This separation helps prevent heat from the electronics influencing the sensitive weighing cell, which can lead to unstable and incorrect weighing results. Furthermore, METTLER TOLEDO XPR microbalances incorporate an Active Temperature Control system (ATC™). ATC ensures the temperature inside the weighing chamber is equivalent to that outside, which provides a highly stable weighing environment. The advantage is faster settling times, lower drifts, and an outstanding level of accuracy.

 

Main and second display

The main terminal on METTLER TOLEDO XPR microbalances offers the flexibility of being positioned away from the micro balance and placed wherever it is most convenient. For example, the micro weighing scale can be placed inside a fume hood and the terminal outside. The second SmartView terminal is positioned directly above the weighing chamber, which is extremely handy while weighing samples. The SmartView terminal also incorporates basic balance functions for even greater convenience and ergonomic operation.

 

Round draft shield with all-round visibility

XPR microbalances and ultra-microbalances have a cylindrical glass weighing chamber that offers all-round visibility, including from the top, so that you have the best view while handling small, delicate, and sometimes hazardous, samples. Furthermore, the draft shield doors can be operated automatically by simply waving your hand in front of one of the sensors. All parts can be quickly removed, cleaned and reassembled without the need for any tools.

 

Compact footprint

METTLER TOLEDO XPR microbalances have the smallest footprint of any micro balance on the market. Coupled with the ability to place the main terminal wherever it is convenient for you to access, this makes the most of your valuable workspace and is very useful in any safety cabinet where space is at a premium.

Which micro weighing balance is right for me?

To find the right METTLER TOLEDO micro balance for your needs, you first need to assess the smallest amount you need to weigh and, second, how accurately you need to weigh it (i.e. the acceptable tolerance). Other important considerations are the maximum amount you want to weigh, and your process risk (i.e. what are the negative consequences of an incorrect weighing result).

You should be aware that every measurement on any balance or micro balance is subject to uncertainty. Understanding this uncertainty is key to ensuring accurate results and avoiding errors. When weighing small samples on micro balances, uncertainty is almost entirely due to repeatability (i.e. at the low end of the weighing range of the micro balance). It is not the readability that determines the accuracy of a weighing instrument, but rather its repeatability. Readability defines the smallest difference in weight that can be displayed on your micro balance. The smallest amount that can be weighed on your micro balance is known as the balance minimum weight; in combination with your process tolerances, the minimum weight is at the accuracy limit of your measurements; below this value, the uncertainty is too large and the result cannot be trusted.

Ask your METTLER TOLEDO consultant about our free GWP® Recommendation, which helps you select the right weighing instrument according to your specific application and accuracy requirements.

How to weigh on a microbalance?

Always wear gloves while working with micro balances – fingerprints and oil from hands affect results. To start a weighing operation, first zero the balance. Open the draft shield door, and then, using tweezers, place a container or weighing boat on the weighing pan. Close the door and allow the value to stabilize. Now tare the micro balance. Once you have dosed your sample, close the door and wait for the micro balance to stabilize. A micro balance is highly sensitive to movement so do not touch the bench while waiting for it to stabilize. Record the net weight or repeat the dosing procedure until the desired weight is reached. Clean the micro balance, tools and workspace after each use.

The general weighing process with a microbalance is explained in this video:

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

How can I ensure stable readings on my micro balance?

Micro balances are extremely sensitive instruments – the slightest disturbance from the environment or any user interaction can significantly affect measurement stability and hence all possible sources of vibrations should be avoided. Micro balances are highly susceptible to air currents, dust, and fluctuations in temperature, and therefore are best installed where the ambient temperature and humidity are maintained at a stable level. In particular, they should be sited away from vents, windows, and doors.

Your micro balance should be set-up on a solid workbench in a low traffic area, free from drafts. Ideally, this should be a dedicated weighing table optimized for micro balance use.

When a micro balance is first connected to the power supply or switched on after a period of inactivity, it is recommended to allocate a warm-up time of at least a few hours to allow for temperature stabilization.

When using your micro balance, be sure to minimize convection flows inside the weighing chamber caused by temperature differentials, which can negatively impact results. To avoid this, only handle samples with tweezers, and allow samples, containers and tools to acclimatize to room temperature.

For more tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your micro balance, download our free guide: 10 Steps to Successful Micro-Weighing.

What is the safest way to weigh toxic and potent substances on a microbalance?

Many of the substances processed in a laboratory or in a production environment are toxic and pose a risk to user safety, particularly in microbiological and pharmaceutical settings. To ensure purity and avoid dangerous cross-contamination, appropriate personal protection equipment for the user as well as the proper handling of weighed substances is essential.

In this video we showcase a safe way to handle hazardous materials and how METTLER TOLEDO's micro balances support safe weighing:

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Download our white paper to learn more about how to stay safe when weighing hazardous materials.

How do I calibrate and adjust my microbalance? What about microbalance routine testing?

Explore our calibration services, tailored to perfectly match your precise needs:On XPR micro balances, automatic adjustment using the microbalance's internal test weights is carried out via the built-in proFACT function. ProFACT ensures ongoing accuracy by automatically adjusting the microbalance whenever there is a change in ambient temperature.

Calibration is an assessment of the performance of your micro balance. As a highly precise micro weighing scale, microbalance calibration should only be carried out by a certified calibration service provider. The calibration process generally includes an assessment of the microbalance minimum weight as well as any necessary adjustment. You will be provided with a calibration certificate, which is your assurance that your microbalance is functioning as expected and is required for proving traceability.

Routine testing by the user is also essential in the intervals between calibrations. Routine testing provides an early indication of a drift in performance that could potentially lead to out of specification results.

METTLER TOLEDO has developed a global scientific standard for the secure selection, calibration, and operation of weighing equipment, known as Good Weighing Practice™ (GWP®).

Explore our calibration services, tailored to perfectly match your precise needs.

How can I save my results and the data from my microbalance?

On METTLER TOLEDO XPR micro balances, all data and process information is automatically saved to the built-in results notepad. Via a simple cable connection, results can be transferred directly to PC; transfer via a USB storage device is also possible. For comprehensive data management, LabX™ laboratory software automatically takes care of all your results, metadata and calculations. LabX offers central control of instruments, tasks and users, SOP guidance directly on your microbalance display, ensures full data integrity, and supports compliance with CFR 21 part 11.

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter

Emissions Testing – Gravimetric Determination of Particulate Matter