2. Units of Measurements

Density of Water

Different substances have different densities, so density is often used as a method to identify a material. Comparing the densities of two materials can also predict how substances will interact. Water is used as the common standard to substances, and it has a density of 1000 kg/mat Standard Temperature and Pressure (called STP).

Using Water as a Density Comparison

When an object is placed in water, the object’s relative density determines whether it floats or sinks. If the object has a lower density than water, it will float to the top of the water. An object with a higher density will sink. For example, cork has a density of 240 kg/m3, so it will float. Air has a density of approximately 1.2 kg/m3, so it rises immediately to the top of a water column. The metals sodium (970 kg/m3) and potassium (860 kg/m3) will both float on water, while lead (11,340 kg/m3) will sink.

Density: A Story of Archimedes and the Gold Crown: Is the crown made of pure gold? An ancient Greek king needs to know if he’s been cheated by a goldsmith. He summons Archimedes, who decides to use density to determine the metal. But how can he determine the volume of the crown?

Liquids tend to form layers when added to water. The sugar alcohol glycerol (1,261 kg/m3) will sink into the water and form a separate layer until it is thoroughly mixed (glycerol is soluble in water). Vegetable oil (approx. 900 kg/m3) will float on water, and no matter how vigorously mixed, will always return as a layer on the water surface (oil is not soluble in water).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *