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What Is the Equation for Density?

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Quick Answer

Density is calculated by dividing mass by volume. As density measurements are commonly reported in grams per cubic centimeter, conversion is required when the mass or volume of a material is measured using other units.

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While densities for specific materials vary, gases tend to have relatively low densities compared to liquids and solids. Metals often have densities greater than 6.0 grams per cubic centimeter, which is significantly greater than fresh water's density of 1.0 gram per cubic centimeter.

Scientists who are trying to identify an unknown material may use density measurement to assist in their analysis because the exact densities of many materials are already known. Some materials include two or more substances — each with their own individual densities. For these complex materials, the overall density is an intermediate value between the densities of the individual components.

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