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I was reading a text talking about Joule's experiment(mechanical equivalent of heat)
The mechanical equivalent of heat was a concept that had an important part in the development and acceptance of the conservation of energy and the establishment of the science of thermodynamics.. The apparatus used in the experiment is shown below: enter image description here

I have noticed that there is a spring balance in that apparatus. Why is there a spring balance in the mechanical equivalent of heat apparatus? What will happen if it is removed?

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The spring balance is used to load a Prony brake.

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To load the mechanism and be able to record and repeat that loading,

But more interesting information is found in the following link, about measuring heat through boring cannons , stirring water and using electricity ie current flow in electrically conducting materials :

James Prescott Joule

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