Chemistry Question #352

John, a 33 year old male from the Internet asks on March 3, 1998,

How can I determine the specific gravity of a small rock? I have a very accurate digital scale, but I can't seem to remember how to do this (I have been out of school too long I guess!)

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on March 3, 1998

Specific gravity is the mass of the mineral compared to that of an equal volume of water. As water can be considered to have density of one this is really another way of saying "Density". You may determine density or determine specific gravity as follows:

  1. Weigh the specimen in air and record the weight.
  2. Weigh the specimen submerged in water and record the weight.
  3. Calculate according to the equation below.
(Weight in air) divided by (Weight in air minus Weight in water) = Specific Gravity.

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