Density: Using Experimental Techniques to Solve an Inquiry based problem
The topic of this experiment is Density. The objective is to find two ways in which the density of a given object can be determined, and to find out which of the two ways is more accurate and hence better to use in such a case. The two methods used in this experiment are finding the dimensions of the object and water displacement. These are two ways of finding the volume of an object, and they were chosen since the density of an object may be found using its mass and its volume. The experiment yielded two different density values, however when error analysis was conducted, the water displacement method was proven to be more accurate.
Density by definition is the measure of the amount of matter contained in a substance per unit volume of that substance. This tells how compact the matter in the substance is. Density is very important in everyday life as mass and volume alone are not good enough in comparing different substances or objects. For example, 10 kilograms of cotton and 10 kilograms of iron would definitely have the same mass (10 kilograms) but the cotton would have an extremely larger volume than the iron because the matter contained in iron is more closely packed, and thus it will occupy less space than that of the cotton. Density has become the key to building floatation devices such as boats or ships. A long time ago, human beings would have never thought of using a material as heavy as metal to build an object that was expected to float on water, and this was simply because they were concentrating on the mass of metal. Density, however, combines both mass and volume to make a unit of measure that can be used to compare substances more easily. Upon the discovery and utilization of the phenomenon of density, comparing objects of different masses and volumes became much easier. Using these comparisons along with other theories, led to developments in technology and the world wide economy. Scientists at that point were then able to design ships in a way that the average density of the ship (that of the metal and the air) would be less than the average density of the water(http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vsmyth/everyday-myths/question254.htm). This was done by ensuring that the mass of the ship is spread out across a large space, and that it had a lot of space inside it as well; which would allow the matter to be stretched across a much larger volume. This made the matter per unit volume ratio much smaller. How can the density of an object or substance be found? Since density is the measure of mass per unit volume then we can use the equation D=m/v to also define this entity. This therefore means that in order to find the density of an object we would need both its mass and its volume.
Mass of an object can be found using a balance. A top loading balance in this case, would be most suitable since the object being measured (triangular solid) is not very small neither is it very big. Volume of an object can be determined using two methods; water displacement method-in which the object displaces its own volume in water, and the calculation method- in which the measurements of the dimensions of the object are used to calculate its volume.
EXPERIMENTAL DETAILS AND THEORETICAL ANALYSIS
Apparatus/Material 1: Triangular solid(given object) 30 cm ruler Top loading balance
Apparatus/Material 2: Triangular solid(given object) Top loading balance 1000 mL beaker Water beaker
beaker triangular solid meniscus water
Procedure 1: Use a ruler to measure the length (or base), height (perpendicular to the base) and width of the object in centimeters (cm). Ensure that the balance that will be used to measure the mass of the object is zeroed and is clear of all foreign particles. After zeroing the balance, place the object on top of the balance, making sure that...
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