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Formal Report

Experiment No. 2

Liquid Density
Domingo, A.J.A.1
1Chemistry Department, College of Science, Adamson University, Ermita, Manila 1000 Philippines


Article history: The determination of the liquid density of a substance is done

Date Performed July 29, 2016 through plenty of methods but in this experiment two apparatus were
Date Submitted August 5, 2016 used: pycnometer and Westphal balance. Pycnometer is a device that can
be used with a reference liquid with a well-known density to measure the
unknown liquids density while Westphal balance is an apparatus that uses
the Archimedes’ Principle in obtaining the specific gravity of an unknown
Keywords: liquid. The liquid that was used in this experiment was isopropyl alcohol
Pycnometer with different concentrations. It is determined that the relationship of the
Liquid density concentration of the alcohol to the density of the solution where as it
Westphal balance
increases the density of the solution decreases. This is because the density
of the water is greater than the density of the alcohol.

1.0 Introduction

of an unknown substance. Mathematically is

The most common definition of
it calculated using this formula:
density is it is the mass of the substance per
unit volume. It is also known as the 𝑚
volumetric mass density, its more precise 𝜌= (Atkins & De Paula, 2014)
term. Density is a basic physical property of
a homogenous substance, an intensive where:
property (Los Angeles City College, 2005). ρ is the density
m is the mass of the substance
Different materials usually have v is the volume of the substance
different densities. Determining the density
of the substance is significant on the There are different methods that can
determination of the purity and the identity be used to determine the volumetric mass
density of a substance. In this experiment
two methods will be used: determining water), 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, and 1.0. The
liquid density using pycnometer and using flasks were labeled A to E respective to
the westphal balance. the mole fractions.

The pycnometer or the specific 2.2 Density Measurement

gravity bottle is a glass flask with a close
fitting ground glass stopper with a capillary 2.2.1 Using pycnometer
hole through it. It uses a working liquid with
well-known density, such as water as a Clean the pycnometer using
reference to measure the liquid density. small amount of acetone and wait for
it to dry then weigh. Fill the
The principle of the Westphal pycnometer with the liquid sample
balance is based on the known buoyancy of making sure that there is no
the reference glass body. It uses the entrapped air bubbles inside. Put in a
Archimedes’ Principle which states that the water bath until thermal equilibrium
upward buoyant force that is exerted on an is attained. Dry the pycnometer with
object immersed in a fluid, whether fully or tissue and then weigh. Record the
partially submerged, is equal to the weight temperature. At the succeeding
of the fluid that the body displaces. (The liquid samples maintain the
Editors of the Encyclopædia Britannica, temperature within ±1 of the first
2016) temperature reading.
Return the liquid sample to
2.0 Methodology its labeled container. Rinse the
pycnometer once with the liquid
2.1 Sample Preparation sample whose density you are going
to determine next. Discard the liquid
Boil distilled water in a 600 ml used in the washings.
beaker for 10 minutes. Remove from the
beaker heat and cool to room 2.2.2 Using Westphal balance
temperature. Cover the beaker with
watch glass to minimize gas transfer. Set-up and calibrate the westphal
balance. Immerse the glass plummet
After obtaining the assigned liquid, completely in the liquid sample
isopropyl alcohol, from the laboratory while making sure it doesn’t touch
instructor; masses of 53.0267-g, the side of the cylindrical container.
77.0246-g, 91.0051-g and 100.0310-g of Record the temperature and maintain
the assigned liquid was mixed with the it within ±1 of the reading.
pre-boiled water in five separate 125-ml
Erlenmeyer flasks to get the mole Level the beam by adding
fractions of 0.00 (pre-boiled distilled and adjusting the rider moments on
the beam. Start with the larger ones Table 1. Measurements using Pycnometer
going to the smallest rider then Sampl
meter + Liquid Liquid
y of Temp
record the density. Return the liquid e meter
(g) (mL) Liquid

sample to its labeled container. Rinse A 33.17 59.76 29.59 29.69

the cylindrical container with the 0.806
B 33.17 57.12 23.95 29.69 27
liquid sample whose density you are 0.758
C 33. 17 55.68 22.51 29.69 27
going to determine next. Discard the 2
liquid used in the washings. D 33. 17 54.75 21.58 29.69 27
E 33. 17 54.16 20.99 29.69 27

3.0 Results and Discussion

In the second part of the experiment,
determination of the liquid density using
Because of the expansion of liquid when westphal balance the data is showed in
the temperature increases, the temperature Table 2. The Westphal balance has an arm
must be kept constant so that the equipped with a glass plummet of known
measurement of the density will be accurate volume and mass. This arm is immersed in
(Atkins & De Paula, 2014). the liquid sample and the beam is rebalanced
using a series of rider moments on the
The density of the liquid samples A to E notches on the beam. This gives the buoyant
that are obtained using pycnometer were force of the liquid relative to water, and
gathered and can be seen in Table 1. The hence the specific gravity, which may be
results of the experiment show the relative obtained to four decimal places (Westphal
densities of five liquid samples with Balance, 2016). The Archimedes’ principle
different mass of the assigned liquid, was used in this set-up since a solid object,
isopropyl alcohol, at constant volume. the glass plummet, is needed to be
submerged in the alcohol solution (The
As the volume remained constant Editors of the Encyclopædia Britannica,
throughout the process, the mass of the 2016).
isopropyl was increased. This means that the
concentration of alcohol in the solution Table 2. Measurements using
increased and the amount of water is Westphal balance
decreasing. The results show that increase in Specific Gravity Temperature
the concentration of solute in the solution (g/L) (ºC)
produced a decrease in the density A 1.0000 25.0
(J.Gallová, n.d.). B 0.9400 25.0
C 0.8769 28.0
D 0.8500 28.0
E 0.8400 24.0
The result of this second part of the thus producing such errors. Another source
experiment shows that as the mole fraction might be the temperature not being constant
of the liquid sample increase the specific and this can also affect the density of the
decreases indicating that the density of the liquid samples. Last source of error is the
liquid sample is lesser compared to water. limitation of the density measuring
The data gathered are moderately precise apparatus that were used.
but not accurate because calculating their
relative error percentages, using the 4.0 Conclusion
pycnometer attained a -9.31% while using
Westphal balance had 7.76%. The Based on the results and discussion we
temperature used in the experiment was 25- can conclude that the easiest way to
determine the density of a substance is to
28°C and the expected density of the
determine its specific gravity. Additionally,
isopropyl alcohol at this temperature range the results shows the relationship of the
is shown in Table 3. concentration of the alcohol to the density of
the solution where as it increases the density
Table 3. Percentage error of the Measured of the solution decreases. This is because the
Density of isopropyl alcohol density of the water is greater than the
Measured Density density of the alcohol.
Expected %Errror
Temp (g/mL)
(g/mL) A* B** A1 B2
25 0.7808^ -9.452 7.582
26 0.7800^ -9.359 7.692
0.7070 0.8400 Atkins, P., & De Paula, J. (2014). Atkin's
27 0.7791^ -9.254 7.817
Physical Chemistry. United
28 0.7783^ -9.161 7.928
Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
Ave. -9.307 7.755
^ (Measurement Canada: Volume correction J.Gallová, C. (w.p.). Density Detemination
factors—isopropyl alcohol (anhydrous), by Pycnometer. Manual.
*density measured using pycnometer Los Angeles City College. (2005).
**density measured using Westphal balance Chemistry. Los Angeles.
1- percentage error of pycnometer
Measurement Canada: Volume correction
2- percentage error of Westphal balance factors—isopropyl alcohol
(anhydrous). (August 6, 2016).
These errors can come from the Muling kumuha mula sa Innovation,
apparatus not calibrated properly and bias in Science and Economic Development
reading the measurements. The Canada:
concentrations of the prepared liquid
samples might not be accurate due to limited
graduation on the beakers used when The Editors of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
preparing the solutions affecting the (January 8, 2016). Archimedes'
volumes of the solutions and their densities Principle. Encyclopædia Britannica.
The Editors of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
(April 21, 2016). Density.
Encyclopædia Britannica, ph. 8th
Westphal Balance. (August 6, 2016). Muling
kumuha mula sa Kenyon College: