Specific Gravity: Defined and Summarized

Published: 30th April 2010
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The density of particular mineral can be measured through specific gravity or SG. Minerals are distinguished form one another without any implementation of laboratory techniques through this information. A genuine gold can be determined using this property. This property is considered unitless since it is factored from the mineral's density and is then divided by water's density and so the units are automatically cancelled. The density of water is equivalent to a gram per cubic centimeter. As a consequence, a mineral's property would then correspond to the density of the mineral. It is expressed as grams per cubic centimeter.

Determining specific gravity is quite easy. To illustrate this, let's take a mineral with an SG of 2 as an example. It means that this mineral is two times dense as water. A mineral with an SG of 3 means that its density is comparable to the density of water times three. In some cases, determining this property is not always practical and but can be very useful in some cases.

Certain laboratory equipment used these days in measuring the specific gravity is accurately. A regular rock hound and its estimated SG can be determined with a good use of a system called rigged balance. The first step is to measure it in dry condition and the measurement is represented by D. Its weight should be represented by W. It then should be measured while soaked in water. To determine the SG of this mineral, the following formula can be used: SG = D/([D-W]L). L represents the liquid's density. Water can be used too and it should be represented by L=1. In simpler words, the formula should be D/(D-W). It is important to know that the mineral should be homogenous in nature. It simply means that not be contaminated with other types of minerals.

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