School : SMK Sultan Abdul Samad, Jalan 12/13, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor D.E.
Candidate : ________________________________________
I / C No. : ________________________________________ Date : ( expt. day ) .
Expt. No. : 4 Index No. : _________________________
Topic : Statics
Title : Density of an object
Objective : To determine the density of an object using a spring system.
Theory : Let an object A with density
A
, volume V and weight W be suspended in equilibrium under a
horizontal spring force F and a tension T in a string inclined at an angle to the vertical.
In equilibrium, the forces acting at the point of suspension Q balance out.
We have,
Weight
W
Tension
T
Spring force
F
Q
h
x
Statics (2)
.
Also
and
where k = spring constant , e = extension
l = length of spring , l
o
= original length of spring.
From ( 3 ) and ( 4 ),
For constant h , a graph of l against x is hence a straight line with slope s where
.
sin
cos
sin
(2) cos
Horizontally : (1)
Vertically : (2)
(1)
:
Hence,
T F
T W
T F
T W
u
u
u
u
=
=
=
sin
cos
tan
tan
(
F
W
F
W
F W
u
u
u
u
=
=
= 3)
( )
o
(4)
F ke
F k l l
=
=
( ) tan
o
o
o
k l l W
W x
l l
k h
W
l x l
kh
u =
 
= +

\ .
= +
W
s
kh
W s kh
=
=
Statics (3)
Correspondingly, if the suspended object A is immersed in a beaker of water with density
w
, and for the
same constant h , then
where l ' = corresponding length of spring, x ' = corresponding values of x for constant h
W ' = apparent weight of A
Similarly, for constant h , a graph of l ' against x ' is also a straight line with slope s ' where
(7)
Hence, the density
A
can be calculated using equation (7) from the determined values of s and s ' from
the slopes of the respective graphs and by taking
W
= 1000 kg m
3
.
'
' '
o
W
l x l
kh
= +
'
'
' '
W
s
kh
W s kh
=
=
'
A
W
Also, (5)
and real weight  apparent weight = upthrust
i.e. (6)
W V g
W W V g
=
=
'
'
'
A
W
A
W
A W
V g W
W W V g
s kh
s kh s kh
s
s s
(5)
:
(6)
Statics (4)
Apparatus : ( i ) A spring ( v ) A metre rule
( ii ) String ( vi ) Two retort stands with clamps
( iii ) A plumb line ( vii ) Weights to stablise stands
( iv ) An object A ( viii) A 500 cm
3
beaker
Procedure :
Weight
Clamp
T
B
h
x
P
Q
A
W
l
F
Retort stand
Loop of string
free to move
up and down.
Weight
Plumb line
Statics (5)
(a) The apparatus as shown in the diagram above is set up.
The spring is stretched just enough to make it horizontal.
(b) A reference mark P higher than the point of suspension Q of the object A ( whose density is to be
determined ) is made on the plumb line (e.g. by firmly tying a reference knot using a short length of
string on it ).
(c) The retort stand on the left is then displaced just enough for a suitable horizontal value of x between P
and the supporting string while maintaining the spring in horizontal position by adjusting its supporting
loop on the left retort stand.
(d) The length l of the spring is measured.
(e) Procedures (c) and (d) are repeated by increasing x in stages ( keeping h constant).
(f) Procedures (c) to (e) are repeated and the corresponding average values of l found for each of the
selected values of x .
(g) Values of x and l are recorded and tabulated.
(h) A graph of l versus x is plotted and its slope, , is determined.
(i) Procedures (c) to (h) are repeated with the object A immersed in a beaker of water and the
corresponding values of x ' , l ' , and s ' are determined.
(j) The density
A
of the object A is then calculated using the expression,
where
W
= 1000 kg m
3
.
l
s
x
A
=
A
'
A W
s
s s
=
Statics (6)
Results :
(a) Object A suspended in air
Centroid = ( < x > , < l > ) = ( ? , ? )
( x 0.1 ) cm
( l 0.1 ) cm
( i ) ( ii ) mean
( 10 sets,
l < 1 m )
1
n
n
x
x
n
=
< > =
=
1
n
n
l
l
n
=
< > =
=
Statics (7)
(b) Object A suspended in water
Centroid = ( < x > , < l > ) = ( ? , ? )
( x 0.1 ) cm
( l 0.1 ) cm
( i ) ( ii ) mean
1
'
'
n
n
x
x
n
=
< > =
=
1
'
'
n
n
l
l
n
=
< > =
=
Graph :
Statics (8)
?  ? cm l A =
?  ? cm x A =
centroid
( ? , ? )
' ?  ? cm l A =
' ?  ? cm x A =
centroid
( ? , ? )
l / cm , l ' / cm
x
/ cm ,
x / cm
O
(a) Graph of l / cm versus x / cm
(b) Graph of l ' / cm versus x ' / cm
l
o
(a) (b
)
Statics (9)
Calculation :
( i ) From the graph of l against x ,
( ii ) From the graph of l against x ' ,
Hence, density of the object A,
slope
l
s
x
A
=
A
=
=
'
A W
 3
 3
 3
kg m
kg m
kg m
s
s s
=
=
=
'
'
'
slope
l
s
x
A
=
A
=
=
Statics (10)
Discussion : (a) Precautions
1. Ensure that the spring be stretched just enough and be horizontal for each selected value of x or x '
before the lengths of l or l ' are measured.
2. Ensure that the value of h remains constant by ascertaining that the reference mark P does not vary.
3. When taking the readings from a metre rule , ensure that the direction of vision is perpendicular to the
scale at the point whose reading is wanted to avoid parallax error.
4. Ensure that the metre rule is horizontal when the values of x, l , x ' or l ' are taken without any
oscillations of the object A.
5. While suspending the object A in water, ensure that it is completely submerged without it touching
any part of the beaker.
(b) Reliability of results
1. The result is accurate subject to the assumption that the spring is judged straight and horizontal
when the values of x, l , x ' or l ' are taken. ( The spring may sag slightly due to its weight,
especially when the inclined angle is small, which jeopardises accuracy. )
2. The accuracy of the result is also subject to the assumed accuracy of the substituted density of
water of
W
= 1000 kg m
3
under the experimental conditions.
(c) Comment
1. The metre rule should be placed as close as possible alongside the spring or plane containing the
plumb line and the supporting string so that readings without parallax error on it can be facilitated.
2. The spring should not be stretched beyond its proportional limit so that its Hookes constant k
remains unaltered which is essential.
3. For a given angle of inclination , bigger h gives bigger corresponding x or x ' which
themselves give smaller fractional errors in their measurements which improve overall accuracy
and hence bigger h should be used.
Conclusion  The density of the object A,
A
= ________________ kg m
3
.