Calculating Density

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** How do I Calculate Density?
/Density and specific gravity in the geosciences/ **

*An introduction to density*

Density is the mass of an object divided by its volume.

density equation

Density often has units of grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm^3). Remember,
grams is a mass and cubic centimeters is a volume (the same volume as 1

density of atoms A box with more particles in it will be more dense than
the same box with fewer particles
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from edinfomrmatics.

Density is a fundamental concept in the sciences; you will see it
throughout your studies. It is used quite often in identifying rocks and
minerals since the density of substances rarely changes significantly. For
example, gold will always have a density of 19.3 g/cm^3; if a mineral has a
density other than that, it isn't gold.

You probably have an intuitive feeling for density in the materials you use
often. For example, sponges are low in density; they have a low mass per
unit volume. You are not surprised when a large sponge is easy to lift. In
contrast, iron is dense. If you pick up an iron skillet, you expect it to
be heavy.

Students, and even teachers, often confuse mass and density. The words
heavy and light on their own refer to mass, and not density. A very large
sponge may weigh a lot (have a high mass), but its density is low because
it still weighs very little /per unit of volume/. For density, you also
need to consider the size, or volume, of the object.

*How do I determine density?*

Density of concrete and air
A concrete cube will weigh more


how is density calculated

Density Worked Example Problem - Calculating Density of a Substance


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** Density Worked Example Problem **

*Calculating Density of a Substance*

By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., Guide

*See More About*

· worked chemistry problems
· chemistry calculations
· density
· mass

This is a worked example of how to calculate the density when given the
volume and mass of a substance.


A brick of salt measuring 10.0 cm x 10.0 cm x 2.0 cm weighs 433 grams. What
is its density?


Density is the amount of mass per unit volume, or:
Density = mass/Volume

Step 1: Calculate Volume

Volume = length x width x thickness
Volume = 10.0 cm x 10.0 cm x 2.0 cm
Volume = 200.0 cm^3

Step 2: Determine density

Density = mass/Volume
Density = 433 g/200.0 cm^3
Density = 2.165 g/cm^3


The density of the salt brick is 2.165 g/cm^3.

Suggested Reading

· Worked Chemistry Problem Index
· Mass of Liquids from Density
· How to Calculate Atomic Weight

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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.
Chemistry Guide

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