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Density is defined as the ratio of a materials mass and volume and a property which
differs a certain liquid from another (Glorioso,). According to The Pennsylvania State
University,density is classified as an intensive property, meaning, it is independent from the
amount of material present and that the density of a material is constant for a specific
Identifying a liquids density and its derived properties allows a greater range in studying
the liquids pressure and associated force, energy and momentum. It is therefore essential to
analyse and determine each fluids density. (Glorioso,)

II. Objectives
This exercise aims to:
1. compute the density of distilled water and other liquids using different methods,
2. compare the strengths and weaknesses of the methods of determining the density,
3. derive the other fluid properties from density measurements and
4. discuss the effect of temperature on the density of distilled water.

III. Materials and methods

A. Materials Thermometer
Pycnometer Weighing scale
100ml graduated cylinder Distilled water
Erlenmeyer flask Acetone
Beaker Cooking Oil
Hydrometer Methanol

B. Methods
The glasswares were cleaned and weighed before using. On a graduated cylinder, a certain
amount of distilled water was added and weighed three times. Using the same equipment, the
experiment was performed two more times but with different measurements. The same
procedures were performed on an Erlenmeyer flask with three trials of three different volumes.
After that, the pycnometer was filled with distilled water. The instrument was covered with a
cap while allowing the excess water to overflow. After wiping the excess water, the
pycnometer was weighed three times. The whole experiment was performed again using the
same three glasswares but using three more different test liquids (acetone, methanol and
cooking oil).
The graduated cylinder was filled with distilled water. The hydrometer were placed inside
the glassware and allowed to float. It was noted that hydrometer must not touch the side and the
bottom of the cylinder. The measurements from the hydrometer were recorded and again,
performed for three more times using methanol, acetone, and cooking oil as test liquids.
For the last part of the exercise, the pycnometer was filled with distilled water and was
placed inside a water bath for few minutes until the temperature of the water bath was the same
with the temperature inside the pycnometer. The glassware wsas quickly wiped and weighed
three times. Another water bath was prepared with different temperature and the same
procedures were applied until five data with varying temperature were gathered.

IV. Results and Discussion

The data gathered in the exercise was summarized in Table 1.1 and Table 1.2. The mass
of each liquid is calculated by subtracting the total mass by the mass of its specific glassware.
Since there is only a small amount of acetone available, the volume used is limited and
therefore has different scaling compared to the others. Note that the listed values in Table
1.2.3 were the average of the three trials.

Table 1.1 Mass of Glasswares

Glassware/Liquid Mass

E-Flask 76.27 0.01

Grad Cyl 95.24 0.01

Pycnometer 19.00 0.01

Table 1.2.1 Mass of Test Liquids with Different Volumes using Erlenmeyer flask

Test Liquid 50 3 mL 75 4 mL 100 5 mL

Mass of Distilled 51.67 0.01 76.03 0.01 100.59 0.01

water (g)

Mass of Oil (g) 45.51 0.01 67.25 0.01 89.99 0.01

Mass of Acetone 7.73 0.01 @ 10 15.05 0.01 @ 20 31.98 0.01 @ 40

(g) mL mL mL

Mass of Methanol 40.2 0.01 60.27 0.01 80.35 0.01


Table 1.2.2 Mass of Test Liquids with Different Volumes using Graduated Cylinder

Test Liquid 50 0.5 mL 75 0.5 mL 100 0.5 mL

Mass of Distilled 49.73 0.01 74.21 0.01 99.88 0.01

water (g)
Mass of Oil (g) 45.47 0.01 67.82 0.01 90.44 0.01

Mass of Acetone 26.72 0.01 @ 15 34.94 0.01 @ 30 44.92 0.01 @ 40

(g) mL mL mL

Mass of Methanol 40.34 0.01 60.39 0.01 80.62 0.01


Table 1.2.3 Mass of Test Liquids using Pycnometer (25 1 mL)

Test Liquid Mass

Distilled water 24.81 .01

Oil 22.56 .01

Acetone 19.82 .01

Methanol 20.11 .01

Densities of the four test liquids were computed based on the data given by Table 1.2.
The measured densities using the hydrometer and the computed specific volume, specific
weight and specific gravity are recorded in Table 1.3.1. While the computed densities with
the use of the Erlenmeyer flask, graduated cylinder, and pycnometer is recorded in Tables
1.3.2, 1.3.3, and 1.3.4 respectively.

Table 1.3.1 Measured Density and Computed Properties of Test Liquids using Hydrometer

Test Liquid Density Specific Specific Specific

Volume Weight (N/m3) Gravity
(g/mL) (mL/g)

Distilled Water .994 1.006 9747.164 0.994

Oil 0.905 1.105 8874.430 0.905

Acetone 0.790 1.266 7746.740 0.790

Methanol 0.811 1.233 7952.666 0.811

Table 1.3.2 Computed Density of Test Liquids using Erlenmeyer flask

Test Liquid Density (g/mL)

Distilled Water 1.018 .09

Oil 0.902 .09

Acetone 0.775 .09

Methanol 0.804 .09

Table 1.3.3 Computed Density of Test Liquids using Graduated Cylinder

Test Liquid Density (g/mL)

Distilled Water 0.994 .02

Oil 0.906 .02

Acetone 0.919 .02

Methanol 0.806 .02

Table 1.3.4 Computed Density of Test Liquids using Pycnometer

Test Liquid Density (g/mL)

Distilled Water 0.992 .04

Oil 0.902 .04

Acetone 0.793 .04

Methanol 0.805 .04

In this exercise, there were four methods used to determine the density of a certain fluid
namely; using an Erlenmeyer flask, using a graduated cylinder, using a pycnometer, and
using a hydrometer. Now even though a specific type of liquid must have a certain and fixed
value of density, each of the three methods yielded different results. It is because each
measuring device has its own calibration which means they have their own accuracy and
precision, excluding human errors.

According to table A.3 of the appendix section of Whites Fluid Mechanics, the real
values of the density of water, oil, and methanol are 0.998, 0.870, and 0.791 respectively (all
densities in g/mL). The deviation of the values of the different methods from the true value
were computed by using their percent error and it showed that the use of pycnometer gave the
least percent error which is equal to 2.02%. And now in terms of precision, the calculated
densities using the Erlenmeyer flask have the least value of standard deviation which is equal
to 0.0112255.

Having said that, each method have its pros and cons. The first three methods
(Erlenmeyer flask, graduated cylinder, and pycnometer) have undergone through many
measurements before arriving to the desired property, which is the density. Meanwhile, using
the hydrometer directly gives the value of the density of the test liquid which results to a
lesser room for errors. It can also be observed that in this exercise, the use of the graduated
cylinder will give the least amount of uncertainty. Therefore it cannot be concluded that the
pycnometer is the most recommended tool in measuring the density of a liquid. However in
this exercise, it is the most accurate.

Now the effect of the changing volume of the test liquids per trial to the value of the
density is negligible. It is because the amount of mass will compensate to the amount of
volume changed. It is shown graphically in figures 1.1.

Figure 1.1 Volume versus Density of Test Liquids Measured by Erlenmeyer flask



0.6 oil
0.4 acetone


0 20 40 60 80 100 120
Density is a function of temperature and the particular fluid under consideration (Hunt,
1995). Different fluids have different concentration of atoms in a given volume which results
to their density differences. Most fluids composed of atoms with low atomic weights become
more tightly packed which results to greater density than those fluids composed of atoms
with high atomic weight.

Temperature and pressure also affects the density of a fluid. Atoms or molecules tend to
be pushed tightly together when external pressure is applied, hence, the volume decreases and
the density increases. Furthermore, most substances expand in response to an increase in
temperature which decreases the substances density (Kurtus, 2014).

However, not all substances follow this behavior. One example is water which expands
and becomes less dense when it approaches freezing (Changing Temperature, Changing
Density, n.d.). It is due to the formation of crystalline structures maintained by hydrogen
bonding. The formation of hydrogen bonds pushes the water molecules farther apart and
results to lower density. This is why ice floats on water (Waters States: Gas, Liquid, Solid,

The effect of temperature on the density of water was observed in the exercise and the
result is shown in Figure _.

Density (g/mL)

0.982 y = -0.0003x + 0.9983
R = 0.7807
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Temperature (C)

Figure _. The effect of temperature on water density.

It was observed that the density decreases as the temperature increases. Even so, the
decrease in density when water freezes was not observed since the temperature was only
lowered down to 3 C. The data obtained a regression coefficient of 0.884 which means it has
a high linear relationship. However, the data showed varying changes and did not clearly
show a trend in the density which may be due to some errors in the experiment.

Learning about density has a lot of real-life uses especially in the engineering field. A
well-known application of density is determining if an object will sink or float on water. In
case of oil spill, the oil float on water which aids the clean up. Another, it is behind the idea
of why ships float and submarines sink. Ships float since they have ballask tanks that hold air,
making them less dense. On the other hand, by emptying the ballask tanks, submarines dive
below water surface. Moreover, fluid flow in plumbing systems is governed by Bernoullis
equation. It uses the concept of conservation energy and states that the fluids velocity,
pressure and height are all affected by its density. It is also used by engineers in the design of
dams (Boley, n.d.).

0.998 0.992 0.902 0.870 0.805 0.791

+ +
0.998 0.870 0.791 100 = 2.02 %