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Name: Unknown
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: NY
Country: N/A
Date: July 2006

Question:
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.



Replies:
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.

Richard Barrans


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removed so that the volume of sugar + liquid is the same as the liquid alone, you will know what volume of liquid has been replaced by the known weight of dry sugar.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.

Vince Calder



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