A material's specific gravity or relative density is the ratio of the density of the material to the density of a specified reference material. For example, the specific gravity of copper equals the density of copper divided by the density of the reference. You convert specific gravity to density by multiplying the specific gravity by the density of the reference material. The most common reference material is pure water at 4 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Celsius) and 1 atmosphere (atm) of pressure. It has a density of 1g/cubic cm, 1g/ml, 1kg/litre, 1,000kg/cubic m, 1 metric ton/cubic m, 28.3kg/cubic foot or 16.4gr./cubic inch.
Density is the mass per unit volume of a substance.
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Things you need
- Specific gravity tables using water (4 degrees Celsius, 1 atm) as the reference material
- Unit conversion tables
The density equals the specific gravity for the following density units: g/cubic cm, g/ml, kg/litre or metric ton/cubic m.
For example, the specific gravity of copper is 8.96. The density of copper = 8.96g/cubic cm = 8.96g/ml = 8.96kg/litre = 8.96 metric ton/cubic m
Multiply the specific gravity by 1,000kg/cubic m to get the density in units of kg/cubic m.
For example, the density of copper = 8.96 x 1000kg/cubic m = 8960kg/cubic m.
Multiply the specific gravity by 28.3kg/cubic foot to get the density in units of lb/cubic foot.
For example, the density of copper = 8.96 x 28.3kg/cubic foot = 254kg/cubic foot.
Multiply the specific gravity by 16.4gr./cubic inches to get the density in units of oz./cubic inches.
For example, the density of copper = 8.96 x 16.4gr./cubic inch = 147gr./cubic inch
Specific Gravity Conversions
Tips and warnings
- Unit conversion tables can be used to convert the density units to ones not given here.
- If a specific gravity table for liquids and solids does not state the reference material, assume it is water at 4 degree Celsius and 1 atm.
- The common reference for the specific gravity of gases is dry air (0 degrees Celsius, 1 atm), which has a density of 1.29g/litre.
- Knowing the density of an unknown sample can aid in identifying the sample's composition. For example, the specific gravity for diamond is 3.52, but for cubic zircon is 5.65. This means that for two identical-looking gems, one diamond and one cubic zircon, the diamond can be easily selected because it will weigh less than the fake diamond.
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