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Determination of a metal

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Name: Sarah Barendswaard Abubakr                                                Date: 20/10/08

Teacher:  Mr. Briffa                                                                   Subject: Physics

Year: Y12                                                                             Task: Lab report

Determination of a metal


In class we were given an instruction sheet where the aim and apparatus where given, from that we had to think of an experiment, obtain results and process them.


The aim of this experiment is to determine the material of a couple of objects.


The following where used for this experiment

  • Electronic balance
  • Vernier callipers
  • 6 different objects that appear to be of the same material but different masses and volumes



The experiment was done through the following steps:

  • The object ‘x’ was weighed on an electronic balance
  • The diameter and height of the object was measure if the object is a cylinder and the length width and height of the object was measured if the object is rectangular.
  • The lengths where measured with a Vernier callipers
...read more.




5.38 +-0.05

8.4 +-0.1



2.70 +-0.03

8.4 +-0.2



1.37 +-0.03

8.4 +-0.3



2.70 +-0.04

8.4 +-0.2



8.00 +-0.1

8.5 +-0.2



13.9 +-0.2

7.7 +-0.2

The relationship between Mass and Volume is proportional as we can see from the formula stated below:

D = M/V

Where D is the density

M is the mass

V is the volume

We can rearrange the formula to enable us to draw a direct proportionality graph like this

M = DV

y = mx

where Mass is on the y axes and volume on the x axes and the gradient would be the density.

The gradient on graph 1 is 8.4, this means that the density of the material is 8.4gcm-3.

In this graph there are two outliers; object E and F.

...read more.



From this experiment I can evaluate the following

  • The volume of object E was not measured accurately which could clearly be seen on the graph
  • The density alone does not give us a certain answer to identifying the metal since a couple of metals have the same density as brass.
  • The volume of the objects measured could have been measured with a higher precision

To improve these weaknesses we could

  • Measure the volume of the hook on object E using a string for the height and a Vernier callipers for the diameter
  • Measure the melting point of the metal which will give us a more certain answer to which metal the objects are.
  • Measure the dimensions of the object with a screw gauge which has a much lower uncertainty, this will obtain more precise results

...read more.

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

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