• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Density of a given metal

Free essay example:

Density practical Report

Name: Casey Going

Date: 16/10/08

Focus question: Can an unknown metal be determined by its mass, volume and density

Hypothesis:  it is hypothesised that the heavier metals with greater density and volume will be more likely to be metals like lead and the metals with small mass, density and volume are more likely to be metals such as tin and aluminium.

Variables identified

Type of variable


Metal type

Independent variable

Cu, PB, Fe, Al, Zn, Sn

Volume of metal and mass of metal

Dependent Variable

Volume of metal was determined by displacement of water. The mass will also be determined. Density will be calculated


Controlled Variable

All metals will be kept at 25 degrees centigrade

Physical shape of metal

Controlled Variable

All metals folded out straight to keep air bubbles from distorting the displacement.

N.B original volume of water was considered but was decided that it would not have any affect on volume.

Experimental Report

The metals all sat in the water and did not float. None off them reacted with the water and gave off bubbles. The heavier metals also felt heavier in the hand were also larger in physical size. The lighter metals were smaller in physical and mass size.

Unknown Metal Mass and Volume


mass + 0.1 (g)

initial volume of water +0.5 (cm3)

Final volume of water + 0.5 (cm3)

































Processed data

The data obtained from this experiment has been manipulated in this way to show the density. The data has been put through the formula density=mass/volume. This will determine the density which then can be graphed.

The calculation made from the raw data was that initial volume was taken away from final volume. This first then gave volume of the metals which then could be out into the formula density=mass/volume. Therefore density=26.8/3. This gave the density which then could be graphed. The r2 in the graph is the density. The error for the density was calculated by finding the percentage error of volume and mass and then adding them together. This created quite a large error as the percentage error was as big as the reading is some cases.


Unknown Metal Mass, Volume and Density


This graph had such large areas due to equipment being very inaccurate. The data collected had errors almost as large as the reading itself thus making the percentage error very large.


The metals had a large range of density’s which was partly due to inaccurate equipment making very large errors.


This graph directly above shows the percentage error against the reading. As  can be seen the  percentage error is very large due to when measuring the volume the error + 0.5 was as large as the volume of the metal itself.

Conclusion and Evaluation

These density somewhat support the hypothesis that the heavier metals are lead and the lighter ones aluminium. The readings taken were too inaccurate to justify each metal.  Each density at least had an error of + 15% but in some cases reached + >50%. This was due to highly inaccurate measuring equipment especially the measuring cylinder. It is to hard to tell which metal is which with the readings taken and calculated due to the large errors in them.

Limitations of experimental design

The experimental design definitely did not help answer the question as there were to many errors to determine which metal was which. There were a few limitations to the design of this experiment. They were:-

  1. Inaccuracy of equipment (especially the measuring cylinder)
  2. Metals be unnamed (a,b,c, etc) so that they could have been mixed up

The main and foremost error in this experiment was definitely the equipment as it was so inaccurate that it gave errors as large as the reading itself. Both of these systematic errors made it harder to provide proper data to be manipulated into the right density for each metal.

Suggestions for Improvement

To improve this experiment it is suggested that higher accuracy equipment is provided as this will give smaller errors and so the overall percentage error

Limitation identified

Type of resultant error

(ie. Random or systematic)

Suggested method of improvement

Inaccurate equipment


More accurate equipment

Confusion of metals


Mark metals with number or letter so difference between can be told

Casey Going

Year 11 HL Chemistry

Mrs Zipf

Density prac

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Chemistry section.

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related International Baccalaureate Chemistry Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related International Baccalaureate Chemistry essays

  1. How does density of a liquid affect the volume of its drop

    considered and not counted as a controlled variable � � The concentration of vinegar was not considered and not counted as a controlled variable � � Since temperature affects the density (The higher the temperature, the lower the density)

  2. Reactivity series for common metals experiment.

    Sulphate + Zinc No Reaction Mg SO4 (aq)+ Zn(s) No Reaction Magnesium(ii) Sulphate + Lead No Reaction Mg SO4 (aq)+ Pb(s) No Reaction Zinc(ii) Nitrate + Copper No Reaction Zn (NO3)2 (aq)+ Cu(s) No Reaction Zinc(ii)

  1. Absorbance of light by a transition metal complex investigation

    absorbance 0.0313 0.081 0.0625 0.190 0.125 0..305 0.250 0.580 0.500 0.980 Uncertainties Uncertainties (cm3) Measuring cylinder �1.0cm� Bulb pipette �0.06 cm� Electronic weigh �0.01g Concentration (mol/dm�) Uncertainty / Measurements � 100 Percentage uncertainty (%) 0.500 �1.0 cm� 50.0 cm� 2.0 �0.01g 6.57g 0.15 �0.06 cm� 25.0 cm� 0.24 Overall uncertainty

  2. Chemistry HL Design prac

    point where the glass rod was places to the point where the water was deflected. A protractor with a smallest increment of 0.5 degrees will be used to calculate the angle of deflection of the water. Controlling Variables Table 1 - Variables and Method of control Type Variable Method of

  1. Investigating Metal Activity Differences

    * Wear goggles at all times. * Reactions should be carried out in a well-ventilated area. Hypothesis: Zns + 2HClaq --> ZnCl2aq + H2g spontaneous Cus + 2NO3- + 4H+ --> Cu2+aq + 2NO2g + 2H2Ol Cus + 4 H+aq + SO42-aq --> Cu2+aq + SO2g + 2H2Ol H3PO4 +

  2. Find out density of metal

    109.58 179.68 144.79 125.31 42.27 138.85 Initial volume (�2ml) 50 50 50 50 50 50 Final volume (�2ml)

  1. To determine the molecular mass of an unknown alkali metal carbonate, X2CO3.

    of substance Z and finally, 3 times with 2.5g of substance Z. 15. All nine readings were recorded in the pre-made data tables. Safety Precautions: 1. Throughout the experiment, a lab coat was worn so that any spills do not cause damage to clothes or body.

  2. The chemistry of atmospheric and water pollution.

    However besides these common ions, there may be other ions present ? e.g. NO3- and PO43- from fertilisers in the soil. The concentrations of the sodium and chloride ions need to be monitored as excess can increase salinity levels and aquatic organisms may not be able to cope with this.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work