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USP 37

**〈841〉 SPECIFIC GRAVITY
**

Unless otherwise stated in the individual monograph, the

specific gravity determination is applicable only to liquids,

and unless otherwise stated, is based on the ratio of the

weight of a liquid in air at 25° to that of an equal volume of

water at the same temperature. Where a temperature is

specified in the individual monograph, the specific gravity is

the ratio of the weight of the liquid in air at the specified

temperature to that of an equal volume of water at the

same temperature. When the substance is a solid at 25°,

determine the specific gravity of the melted material at the

temperature directed in the individual monograph, and refer

to water at 25°.

Unless otherwise stated in the individual monograph, the

density is defined as the mass of a unit volume of the substance at 25°, expressed in kilograms per cubic meter or

grams per cubic centimeter (1 kg/m3 = 10–3 g/cm3). Where

the density is known, mass can be converted to volume, or

volume converted to mass, by the formula: volume = mass/

density.

Unless otherwise directed in the individual monograph,

use Method I.

METHOD I

Procedure—Select a scrupulously clean, dry pycnometer

that previously has been calibrated by determining its

weight and the weight of recently boiled water contained in

it at 25°. Adjust the temperature of the liquid to about 20°,

and fill the pycnometer with it. Adjust the temperature of

the filled pycnometer to 25°, remove any excess liquid, and

weigh. When the monograph specifies a temperature different from 25°, filled pycnometers must be brought to the

temperature of the balance before they are weighed. Subtract the tare weight of the pycnometer from the filled

weight.

The specific gravity of the liquid is the quotient obtained

by dividing the weight of the liquid contained in the pycnometer by the weight of water contained in it, both determined at 25°, unless otherwise directed in the individual

monograph.

METHOD II

The procedure includes the use of the oscillating transducer density meter. The apparatus consists of the

following:

• a U-shaped tube, usually of borosilicate glass, which

contains the liquid to be examined;

• a magneto-electrical or piezo-electrical excitation system

that causes the tube to oscillate as a cantilever oscillator

at a characteristic frequency depending on the density

of the liquid to be examined;

**• a means of measuring the oscillation period (T), which
**

may be converted by the apparatus to give a direct

reading of density or used to calculate density by using

the constants A and B described below; and

• a means to measure and/or control the temperature of

the oscillating transducer containing the liquid to be

tested.

The oscillation period is a function of the spring constant

(c) and the mass of the system:

T2 = {(M/c) + [(ρ × V)/c]} × 4π2

where ρ is the density of the liquid to be tested, M is the

mass of the tube, and V is the volume of the filled tube.

Introduction of two constants A = c/(4π2 × V) and B = (M/

V) leads to the classical equation for the oscillating

transducer:

ρ = A × T2 – B

The specific gravity of the liquid is given by the formula:

ρ(L)/ρ(W)

where ρ(L) and ρ(W) are the densities of the liquid and water,

respectively, both determined at 25°, unless otherwise directed in the individual monograph.

Calibration—The constants A and B are determined by

operating the instrument with the U-tube filled with two

different samples of known density (e.g., degassed water

and air). Perform the control measurements daily, using

degassed water. The results displayed for the control measurement using degassed water do not deviate from the reference value (ρ25 = 0.997043 g/cm3) by more than its specified error. Precision is a function of the repeatability and

stability of the oscillator frequency. Density meters are able

to achieve measurements with an error on the order of

1 × 10–3 g/cm3 to 1 × 10–5 g/cm3 and a repeatability of

1 × 10–4 g/cm3 to 1 × 10–6 g/cm3. For example, an instrument specified to ±1 × 10–4 g/cm3 must display 0.9970 ±

0.0001 g/cm3 in order to be suitable for further measurement, otherwise a readjustment is necessary. Calibration

with certified reference materials should be carried out regularly.

Procedure—Using the manufacturer’s instructions, perform the measurements using the same procedure as for

Calibration. If necessary, equilibrate the liquid to be examined at 25° before introduction into the tube to avoid

the formation of bubbles and to reduce the time required

for measurement. Factors affecting accuracy include the

following:

• temperature uniformity throughout the tube,

• nonlinearity over a range of density,

• parasitic resonant effects, and

• viscosity, if the oscillating transducer density meters

used do not provide automatic compensation of sample

viscosity influence.

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