Density of Sugar
Date: July 2006
How to measure density of sugar? Powdered,
granulated and rock candy should all have the same density since
they are made of the same substance, but I do not know how to
measure it to show that. Please help.
Your best bet will be to find some liquid that does NOT dissolve
sugar, and then to add a known mass of sugar to it and see how much
volume it displaces. The tricky part with the finer forms of sugar
will be keeping entrained air form sticking to the solid. Be sure
to measure the mass of your sample and then take the ratio of
mass/volume to get the density.
First, you need to be sure that the granulated and powdered sugar do
not contain other additives such as silica or starch, which is used
to prevent caking. You can do this by dissolving each in water. If
the water remains hazy, that is a tip-off that there is some other
insoluble component present. Then, you need to weigh a sample of
each solid in a liquid in which the sugar is not soluble, for
example acetone or mineral spirits. If you carefully weigh a known
volume of the liquid without the sugar (you will know its density).
Then weigh the same known volume with part of the liquid removed so
that the volume of sugar + liquid is the same as the liquid alone,
you will know what volume of liquid has been replaced by the known
weight of dry sugar. The ratio of that weight of dry sugar alone and
in combination with the liquid is a measure of the volume of liquid displaced.
If you use a liquid whose density is already known, you save the
step of finding the density of the liquid.
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Update: June 2012