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Practicals

Measuring Density

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Fig 1: Fig 1
Fig 1
Fig 2

Summary

Using mass and volume to measure density.

Operation

Students can find the density of an object using the formula:

d=m/v

where d=density, m=mass and v=volume.

The object can be anything small enough to fit into a measuring cylinder such as a small stone, blob of plasticine, lego brick etc.

Firstly the student can find the mass of the object by placing it on a pan-top balance or by using a spring balance (see Fig 1) Then the object is placed into a measuring cylinder half filled with water (see Fig 2). The water it displaces is equal to its mass. A eureka can can be used instead of a measuring cylinder for this practical.

To find the density of the object, the mass is simply divided by the volume. The result is measured in kg/m³.

Equipment required (per set):

  • An object (stone, plasticine etc)
  • Measuring cylinder or density (eureka) can
  • Pan-top balance or spring balance

Geologists sometimes use this method to find the density of rocks. This helps them identify its type.

Safety

 CautionThe contents of this page are for information only. Please refer to CLEAPSS or ASE safety advice and/or publications before undertaking any preparation, practical experiment or using any equipment featured on this site or any other.