Dictionary:Torsion balance

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1. An instrument for measuring second derivatives of the gravitational potential. In a non-uniform field, the forces on equal masses at opposite ends of a horizontal beam suspended by a very fine torsion wire differ, producing a torque that can be measured by counter balancing it with a known torque. The measured gradients can be integrated to make a gravity map. 2. A device for measuring the derivatives of force fields, such as magnetic or electrical.