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Specificgravity

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Thispageisaboutthemeasurementusingwaterasa
reference.Forageneraluseofspecificgravity,see Specificgravity
relativedensity.Seeintensivepropertyfortheproperty Commonsymbols SG
impliedby"specific".
SIunit Unitless
Specificgravityistheratioofthedensityofasubstancetothe Derivationsfrom
densityofareferencesubstanceequivalently,itistheratioof otherquantities
themassofasubstancetothemassofareferencesubstancefor
thesamegivenvolume.Apparentspecificgravityistheratiooftheweight
ofavolumeofthesubstancetotheweightofanequalvolumeofthe
referencesubstance.Thereferencesubstanceisnearlyalwayswateratits
densest(4C)forliquidsforgasesitisairatroomtemperature(21C).
Nonetheless,thetemperatureandpressuremustbespecifiedforboththe
sampleandthereference.Pressureisnearlyalways1atm(101.325kPa).
Temperaturesforbothsampleandreferencevaryfromindustrytoindustry.
InBritishbeerbrewing,thepracticeforspecificgravityasspecifiedabove
istomultiplyitby1000.[1]Specificgravityiscommonlyusedinindustry
asasimplemeansofobtaininginformationabouttheconcentrationof
solutionsofvariousmaterialssuchasbrines,hydrocarbons,sugarsolutions
(syrups,juices,honeys,brewerswort,mustetc.)andacids.

Contents
1 Details
Testingspecificgravityoffuel.
2 Measurement:apparentandtruespecificgravity
2.1 Pycnometer
2.2 Digitaldensitymeters
3 Examples
4 Seealso
5 References

Details
Beingaratioofdensities,specificgravityisadimensionlessquantity.Specificgravityvarieswithtemperatureand
pressurereferenceandsamplemustbecomparedatthesametemperatureandpressureorbecorrectedtoa
standardreferencetemperatureandpressure.Substanceswithaspecificgravityof1areneutrallybuoyantinwater.
ThosewithSGgreaterthan1aredenserthanwaterandwill,disregardingsurfacetensioneffects,sinkinit.Those
withanSGlessthan1arelessdensethanwaterandwillfloatonit.Inscientificwork,therelationshipofmassto
volumeisusuallyexpresseddirectlyintermsofthedensity(massperunitvolume)ofthesubstanceunderstudy.It
isinindustrywherespecificgravityfindswideapplication,oftenforhistoricalreasons.

Truespecificgravitycanbeexpressedmathematicallyas:
where isthedensityofthesampleand isthedensityofwater.

Theapparentspecificgravityissimplytheratiooftheweightsofequalvolumesofsampleandwaterinair:

where representstheweightofsampleand theweightofwater,bothmeasuredinair.

Itcanbeshownthattruespecificgravitycanbecomputedfromdifferentproperties:

where isthelocalaccelerationduetogravity, isthevolumeofthesampleandofwater(thesameforboth),


isthedensityofthesample, isthedensityofwaterand representsaweightobtainedinvacuum.

Thedensityofwatervarieswithtemperatureandpressureasdoesthedensityofthesample.Soitisnecessaryto
specifythetemperaturesandpressuresatwhichthedensitiesorweightsweredetermined.Itisnearlyalwaysthe
casethatmeasurementsaremadeat1nominalatmosphere(1013.25mbarvariationsfromchangingweather
patterns).Butasspecificgravityusuallyreferstohighlyincompressibleaqueoussolutionsorotherincompressible
substances(suchaspetroleumproducts),variationsindensitycausedbypressureareusuallyneglectedatleast
whereapparentspecificgravityisbeingmeasured.Fortrue(invacuo)specificgravitycalculations,airpressure
mustbeconsidered(seebelow).Temperaturesarespecifiedbythenotation with representingthe
temperatureatwhichthesample'sdensitywasdeterminedand thetemperatureatwhichthereference(water)
densityisspecified.Forexample,SG(20C/4C)wouldbeunderstoodtomeanthatthedensityofthesamplewas
determinedat20Candofthewaterat4C.Takingintoaccountdifferentsampleandreferencetemperatures,we
notethat,while (20C/20C),itisalsothecasethat
(20C/4C).Here,temperatureisbeingspecifiedusingthecurrent
ITS90scaleandthedensities[2]usedhereandintherestofthisarticlearebasedonthatscale.Ontheprevious
IPTS68scale,thedensitiesat20Cand4Care0.9982071and0.9999720respectively,resultinginanSG
(20C/4C)valueforwaterof0.9982343.

Astheprincipaluseofspecificgravitymeasurementsinindustryisdeterminationoftheconcentrationsof
substancesinaqueoussolutionsandasthesearefoundintablesofSGvsconcentration,itisextremelyimportant
thattheanalystenterthetablewiththecorrectformofspecificgravity.Forexample,inthebrewingindustry,the
PlatotablelistssucroseconcentrationbyweightagainsttrueSG,andwasoriginally(20C/4C)[3]i.e.basedon
measurementsofthedensityofsucrosesolutionsmadeatlaboratorytemperature(20C)butreferencedtothe
densityofwaterat4Cwhichisveryclosetothetemperatureatwhichwaterhasitsmaximumdensity equal
to0.999972gcm3inSIunits(or62.43lbft3inUnitedStatescustomaryunits).TheASBCtable[4]inusetoday
inNorthAmerica,whileitisderivedfromtheoriginalPlatotableisforapparentspecificgravitymeasurementsat
(20C/20C)ontheIPTS68scalewherethedensityofwateris0.9982071gcm3.Inthesugar,softdrink,honey,
fruitjuiceandrelatedindustriessucroseconcentrationbyweightistakenfromatablepreparedbyA.Brixwhich
usesSG(17.5C/17.5C).Asafinalexample,theBritishSGunitsarebasedonreferenceandsampletemperatures
of60Fandarethus(15.56C/15.56C).
Giventhespecificgravityofasubstance,itsactualdensitycanbecalculatedbyrearrangingtheaboveformula:

Occasionallyareferencesubstanceotherthanwaterisspecified(forexample,air),inwhichcasespecificgravity
meansdensityrelativetothatreference.

Measurement:apparentandtruespecificgravity
Pycnometer

Specificgravitycanbemeasuredinanumberofvalueways.Thefollowingillustrationinvolvingtheuseofthe
pycnometerisinstructive.Apycnometerissimplyabottlewhichcanbepreciselyfilledtoaspecific,butnot
necessarilyaccuratelyknownvolume, .Placeduponabalanceofsomesortitwillexertaforce.

where isthemassofthebottleand thegravitationalaccelerationatthelocationatwhichthemeasurements


arebeingmade. isthedensityoftheairattheambientpressureand isthedensityofthematerialofwhich
thebottleismade(usuallyglass)sothatthesecondtermisthemassofairdisplacedbytheglassofthebottle
whoseweight,byArchimedesPrinciplemustbesubtracted.Thebottleis,ofcourse,filledwithairbutasthatair
displacesanequalamountofairtheweightofthatairiscanceledbytheweightoftheairdisplaced.Nowwefill
thebottlewiththereferencefluide.g.purewater.Theforceexertedonthepanofthebalancebecomes:

Ifwesubtracttheforcemeasuredontheemptybottlefromthis(ortarethebalancebeforemakingthewater
measurement)weobtain.

wherethesubscriptnindicatedthatthisforceisnetoftheforceoftheemptybottle.Thebottleisnowemptied,
thoroughlydriedandrefilledwiththesample.Theforce,netoftheemptybottle,isnow:

where isthedensityofthesample.Theratioofthesampleandwaterforcesis:

ThisiscalledtheApparentSpecificGravity,denotedbysubscriptA,becauseitiswhatwewouldobtainifwetook
theratioofnetweighingsinairfromananalyticalbalanceorusedahydrometer(thestemdisplacesair).Notethat
theresultdoesnotdependonthecalibrationofthebalance.Theonlyrequirementonitisthatitreadlinearlywith
force.Nordoes dependontheactualvolumeofthepycnometer.
Furthermanipulationandfinallysubstitutionof ,thetruespecificgravity,(thesubscriptVisusedbecausethis
isoftenreferredtoasthespecificgravityinvacuo)for givestherelationshipbetweenapparentandtrue

specificgravity.

Intheusualcasewewillhavemeasuredweightsandwantthetruespecificgravity.Thisisfoundfrom

Sincethedensityofdryairat1013.25mbat20Cis[5]0.001205gcm3andthatofwateris0.998203gcm3the
differencebetweentrueandapparentspecificgravitiesforasubstancewithspecificgravity(20C/20C)ofabout
1.100wouldbe0.000120.Wherethespecificgravityofthesampleisclosetothatofwater(forexampledilute
ethanolsolutions)thecorrectionisevensmaller.

Digitaldensitymeters

HydrostaticPressurebasedInstruments:ThistechnologyreliesuponPascal'sPrinciplewhichstatesthatthe
pressuredifferencebetweentwopointswithinaverticalcolumnoffluidisdependentupontheverticaldistance
betweenthetwopoints,thedensityofthefluidandthegravitationalforce.Thistechnologyisoftenusedfortank
gaugingapplicationsasaconvenientmeansofliquidlevelanddensitymeasure.

VibratingElementTransducers:Thistypeofinstrumentrequiresavibratingelementtobeplacedincontactwith
thefluidofinterest.Theresonantfrequencyoftheelementismeasuredandisrelatedtothedensityofthefluidby
acharacterizationthatisdependentuponthedesignoftheelement.Inmodernlaboratoriesprecisemeasurements
ofspecificgravityaremadeusingoscillatingUtubemeters.Thesearecapableofmeasurementto5to6places
beyondthedecimalpointandareusedinthebrewing,distilling,pharmaceutical,petroleumandotherindustries.
Theinstrumentsmeasuretheactualmassoffluidcontainedinafixedvolumeattemperaturesbetween0and80C
butastheyaremicroprocessorbasedcancalculateapparentortruespecificgravityandcontaintablesrelating
thesetothestrengthsofcommonacids,sugarsolutions,etc.Thevibratingforkimmersionprobeisanothergood
exampleofthistechnology.Thistechnologyalsoincludesmanycoriolistypemassflowmeterswhicharewidely
usedinchemicalandpetroleumindustryforhighaccuracymassflowmeasurementandcanbeconfiguredtoalso
outputdensityinformationbasedontheresonantfrequencyofthevibratingflowtubes.

UltrasonicTransducer:Ultrasonicwavesarepassedfromasource,throughthefluidofinterest,andintoadetector
whichmeasurestheacousticspectroscopyofthewaves.Fluidpropertiessuchasdensityandviscositycanbe
inferredfromthespectrum.

RadiationbasedGauge:Radiationispassedfromasource,throughthefluidofinterest,andintoascintillation
detector,orcounter.Asthefluiddensityincreases,thedetectedradiation"counts"willdecrease.Thesourceis
typicallytheradioactiveisotopecesium137,withahalflifeofabout30years.Akeyadvantageforthis
technologyisthattheinstrumentisnotrequiredtobeincontactwiththefluidtypicallythesourceanddetector
aremountedontheoutsideoftanksorpiping..[6]

BuoyantForceTransducer:thebuoyancyforceproducedbyafloatinahomogeneousliquidisequaltotheweight
oftheliquidthatisdisplacedbythefloat.Sincebuoyancyforceislinearwithrespecttothedensityoftheliquid
withinwhichthefloatissubmerged,themeasureofthebuoyancyforceyieldsameasureofthedensityofthe
liquid.Onecommerciallyavailableunitclaimstheinstrumentiscapableofmeasuringspecificgravitywithan
accuracyof+/0.005SGunits.Thesubmersibleprobeheadcontainsamathematicallycharacterizedspringfloat
system.Whentheheadisimmersedverticallyintheliquid,thefloatmovesverticallyandthepositionofthefloat
controlsthepositionofapermanentmagnetwhosedisplacementissensedbyaconcentricarrayofHalleffect
lineardisplacementsensors.Theoutputsignalsofthesensorsaremixedinadedicatedelectronicsmodulethat
providesanoutputvoltagewhosemagnitudeisadirectlinearmeasureofthequantitytobemeasured.[7]

InLineContinuousMeasurement:Slurryisweighedasittravelsthroughthemeteredsectionofpipeusinga
patented,highresolutionloadcell.Thissectionofpipeisofoptimallengthsuchthatatrulyrepresentativemassof
theslurrymaybedetermined.Thisrepresentativemassistheninterrogatedbytheloadcell110timespersecondto
ensureaccurateandrepeatablemeasurementoftheslurry.

Examples
Heliumgashasadensityof0.164g/liter[8]Itis0.139timesasdenseasair.
Airhasadensityof1.18g/l[8]

Material SpecificGravity
Balsawood 0.2
Oakwood 0.75
Ethanol 0.78
Water 1
Tablesalt 2.17
Aluminium 2.7
Cement 3.15
Iron 7.87
Copper 8.96
Lead 11.35
Mercury 13.56
Depleteduranium 19.1
Gold 19.3
Osmium 22.59

(Samplesmayvary,andthesefiguresareapproximate.)

Urinenormallyhasaspecificgravitybetween1.003and1.035.
Bloodnormallyhasaspecificgravityof~1.060.

Seealso
APIgravity Gravity(beer) Platoscale
Baumscale Hydrometer
Buoyancy Jollybalance
Fluidmechanics Pycnometer
Gravity(beer) Platoscale
References
1.Hough,J.S.,Briggs,D.E.,Stevens,RandYoung,T.W.MaltingandBrewingScience,Vol.IIHoppedWortandBeer,
ChapmanandHall,London,1991,p.881
2.Bettin,H.Spieweck,F.:"DieDichtedesWassersalsFunktionderTemperaturnachEinfhrungdesInternationalen
Temperaturskalavon1990"PTBMitteilungen100(1990)pp.195196
3.ASBCMethodsofAnalysisPrefacetoTable1:ExtractinWortandBeer,AmericanSocietyofBrewingChemists,St
Paul,2009
4.ASBCMethodsofAnalysisop.cit.Table1:ExtractinWortandBeer
5.DIN51757(04.1994):Testingofmineraloilsandrelatedmaterialsdeterminationofdensity
6.DensityVEGAAmericas,Inc(http://www.ohmartvega.com/en/nuclear_density_DSG.htm).Ohmartvega.com.Retrieved
on20111118.
7.ProcessControlDigitalElectronicHydrometer(http://www.gardco.com/pages/density/electric_hydrometer.cfm).Gardco.
Retrievedon20111118.
8.UCSB(http://web.physics.ucsb.edu/~lecturedemonstrations/Composer/Pages/36.39.html)

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