Q:

How do you measure the specific gravity of metal with water displacement?

A:

Quick Answer

Determine the specific gravity of a metal using water displacement by implementing the Archimedes Principle. It is calculated as the ratio of the density of the metal to the density of the water.

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Full Answer

The calculation for specific gravity is a ratio of density because a metal's weight, defined as its mass, is affected by the surrounding elements and can vary when the object is suspended in air as opposed to submersed in water. The density of both the water and the metal can be calculated by measuring both their mass and their volume and then dividing the mass by the volume. A special scale may be needed to weigh the mass of the object in the water.

The equation changes depending on whether the metal being measured is more or less dense than water. If pure water is being used, the density is a known constant and does not need to be calculated. If the water includes any impurities, then the density must be calculated. Depending on the metal used, the density may also be available as a constant and not need to be separately calculated. The specific gravity can be found by dividing the density of the metal by the density of the water being used.

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