Home

Home
Common Compounds
Exam Guide
FAQ
Features
Glossary
Construction Kits
Companion Notes
Just Ask Antoine!
Simulations
Slide Index
Toolbox
Tutorial Index

FAQ
Introduction
Measurement
Matter
Atoms & ions
Compounds
Chemical change
The mole
Gases
Energy & change
The quantum theory
Electrons in atoms
The periodic table
Chemical bonds
Solids
Liquids
Solutions
Acids & bases
Redox reactions
Reaction rates
Organic chemistry
Everyday chemistry
Inorganic chemistry
Environmental chemistry
Laboratory
History of chemistry
Miscellaneous


Home :FAQ :MeasurementPrint | Comment
Previous Question Next Question

What is specific gravity?

I am trying to determine the specific gravity of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB). The only information I have is the mass (or volume) of the compound and the molecular weight. What other information do I need to determine the specific gravity?
Jason Eardley

Vocabulary
density*
specific gravity*
Specific gravity is the density of a substance relative to some reference substance:

Specific gravity = density of substance
density of reference substance

Specific gravity was defined because it's convenient to have a unitless measure of density. The reference substance for solids and liquids is usually water at 4°C. At that temperature, water has a density of 1.0000 g/mL. So if you know the density of a substance in g/mL, for most practical purposes that's numerically equal to the specific gravity.

To find the specific gravity of the PCB, then, you'll need to have the mass (in g) of a given volume (in mL) of PCB.

Author: Fred Senese senese@antoine.frostburg.edu



General Chemistry Online! What is specific gravity?

Copyright © 1997-2010 by Fred Senese
Comments & questions to fsenese@frostburg.edu
Last Revised 02/15/10.URL: http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/measurement/faq/specific-gravity.shtml