# Educational Innovations

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1 Educational Innovations DEN-350 Steel Sphere Density Kit Target Age Group: 3-5, 6-8 National Standards K-4 Physical Science Properties of objects and materials Density, weight and volume are properties of an object. These properties can be measured using tools such as balances and rulers. Position and Motion of Objects An object s motion can be described by tracing and measuring its position over time. The position and motion of objects can be changed by pushing or pulling. The size of the change is related to the strength of the push or pull. 5-8 Physical Science Properties and changes of properties in matter A substance has characteristic properties such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample. Motion and Forces An object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed and in a straight line. If more than one force acts on an object along a straight line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude. 5 Francis J. Clarke Circle Phone (888) Bethel, CT Fax (203) Educational Innovations, Inc.

2 Background Information on Density and Buoyancy Density is a fundamental property of matter. Density is defined as mass divided by unit volume, usually expressed in grams per cubic centimeter, or kilograms per cubic meter. The Greek letter rho (ρ) is the symbol for density. ρ = m v density = mass volume Often we define density as weight per unit volume; however, this is actually called specific weight. It is important to distinguish between mass and weight even though we tend to use them interchangeably. Mass is a measure of the quantity of matter and is constant wherever that matter might be in the universe. Weight is the force exerted on a body by gravity, and is proportional to mass. For example, consider a brick that weighs 12 kg on Earth, but only 2 kg on the moon, which has gravity one sixth that of Earth. The mass of the brick hasn t changed, merely its weight. Although mass is constant, volume is not. More pressure on an object decreases its volume, while increasing the temperature usually increases the volume. Increasing the volume of an object decreases its density; decreasing the volume increases the density. Often it is important to know the temperature and pressure at which the volume was measured. Densities are frequently given at STP, standard temperature and pressure, defined as 0 o C (32 o F) and 100 kpa ( psi, atm, 1 bar). Specific gravity defines the density of a material as a multiple of the density of another standard material, usually water. Specific gravity is dimensionless. Materials with a specific gravity greater than 1.0 sink in water, those less than 1.0 float. Geologists use specific gravity to help identify minerals. Buoyancy is the upward force experienced by a submerged object. Consider a visit to the swimming pool. When you float on top of the water you experience very little water pressure. What happens when you jump off the diving board and sink all the way down to the bottom of the deep end? At the bottom of the pool you feel the weight of the column of water on top of you. The difference in water pressure you experience between the bottom of the pool and the surface pushes you upwards so you rise to the surface. This upward push or force is called buoyancy. If you drop a marble into a graduated cylinder containing water, it displaces a quantity of water equal to the volume of the marble. The volume of the displaced water is the difference between beginning and final volumes as determined by the scale on the cylinder. The size of the buoyant force on an object submerged in any liquid is the same as the weight of the displaced liquid. Objects denser than the liquid sink; objects less dense than the liquid float. Objects shaped like boats also float; in this case the weight of the displaced liquid equals the weight of the boat-shaped object. Objects floating on liquids denser than water will ride higher since a smaller volume of the denser liquid needs to be displaced. People who have difficulty floating in fresh water, ~1 g/cm 3, find it easier to stay afloat in ocean water, ~ g/cm 3, and effortless in Utah s Great Salt Lake, ~ 1.24 g/cm 3. This principle of buoyancy is called Archimedes principle in honor of the Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes of Syracuse who discovered it in 212 BC.

5 of the ball. The weight of that volume of water is much less than the weight of the ball so the ball sinks. Place the hollow sphere onto the water. Mark this new water level. The distance between it and the second mark represents the volume of weight displaced by the floating ball. This weight of water equals the weight of the hollow ball. It provides just enough force, or push, to keep the hollow ball from sinking. Ask another student to push and hold the sphere just beneath the surface of the water. Mark this fourth water level on the tape. The distance between the second and this fourth mark represents the volume of water that would be displaced by the hollow ball if it sank. It is equal to the volume of the ball but weighs much more. The student has to apply constant force with his hand to keep the hollow sphere under water. Ask the student how hard he has to push on the ball to keep it underwater. Optional activity: Consider calculating the volumes of water displaced for the steel ball and hollow sphere to confirm that the relationships stated above are true. A sample calculation using actual experimental results follows below. Changes of a millimeter in measurement of the water column height or diameter of the pitcher will make significant changes in the calculated volumes or weight, so expect margins of error of at least ten percent. Ask the class what possible sources of error are in the procedure. Solid Steel ball: mass = 129g volume = 17.5 cm 3 Hollow ball: mass = 140g volume = 1073 cm 3 Inside diameter of pitcher at the center of the column of displaced water (cm) Radius r (cm) Area πr 2 Height of displaced column of water (cm) Volume of displaced water Percent difference from actual values Submerged steel ball % high Floating hollow ball % low Hollow ball barely submerged % low Ship builders need to know the maximum amount of water that can be displaced by a ship before it sinks, and the minimum amount of water it must displace to keep from tipping over. Ballast is loaded onto empty cargo ships to increase the displacement. The largest cruise ships displace 100,000 tons, which is the maximum amount the ship itself, the passengers and crew, and their luggage can weigh. Note: After you finish, be sure to dry the solid ball carefully. To prevent it from rusting, apply a thin coat of oil before returning it to its plastic bag for storage.

6 Activity: Sink or Float? This activity provides practice in measuring the dimensions, calculating the volume, and determining the density of regularly shaped objects. Provide each team of students with the Useful Information sheet, the worksheet, and access to the measurement tools and objects of unknown density. The task for the students is to measure the weight and dimensions of the objects to calculate their volumes and densities, and predict whether an object will sink or float in water based on their calculations. Be sure to have enough objects so even the speediest team will not run out of items to measure in the allotted time. Conclude the activity by dropping the items into water to confirm their answers. Lesson by: Cynthia B. House Thomas Middle School Arlington Heights, Illinois

7 Worksheet What happens to density when the volume changes? density = mass volume The density of fresh water is 1.0 g/cm 3 Steel Ball Mass (g) Volume Density (g/cm 3 ) Float or Sink in Fresh Water? Hollow steel ball Hollow steel ball with twice the original volume (original volume x 2) Hollow steel ball with half the original volume (original volume 2) Hollow steel ball with one quarter the original volume (original volume 4) Hollow steel ball with one eighth the original volume (original volume 8) If the volume increases, but the mass stays the same, the density. If the volume decreases, but the mass stays the same, the density. Sink or Float? Object Number Description (shape? material? hollow?) Mass (g) Volume Density (g/cm 3 ) Float or Sink in Fresh Water?

8 Worksheet (Sample) What happens to density when the volume changes? density = mass volume Steel Ball The density of fresh water is 1.0 g/cm 3 Mass (g) Volume Density (g/cm 3 ) Float or Sink in Fresh Water? sink Hollow steel ball float Hollow steel ball with twice the original volume (original volume x 2) float Hollow steel ball with half the original volume (original volume 2) float Hollow steel ball with one quarter the original volume (original volume 4) float Hollow steel ball with one eighth the original volume (original volume 8) sink If the volume increases, but the mass stays the same, the density gets smaller. If the volume decreases, but the mass stays the same, the density gets bigger. Sink or Float? Object Number Description (shape? material? hollow?) Mass (g) Volume Density (g/cm 3 ) Float or Sink in Fresh Water? 1 Cylinder, metal, solid sink 2 Sphere, plastic, hollow float

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