Relative Density

Definition - What does Relative Density mean?

Relative Density is the ratio of the density of a material to the density of a reference substance. It is usually measured with respect to water. It is commonly used in modern scientific terms to determine whether a certain substance is denser than the reference substance or not. For instance, if the relative density is less than one, then the material is less dense, but if the relative density is equal to one then the two substances have equal mass.

Petropedia explains Relative Density

The Relative Density of any material varies with the change in pressure and temperature of the material. The density of a sample can be determined by dividing mass over volume. The mass of the material is easy to calculate whereas volume can be ascertained in case of irregular materials. The following are some of the various advantages of calculating the relative density of a substance:

  • It helps in quantifying the buoyancy of fluids
  • It helps in determining the density of unknown material
  • It helps in determining mineral content of rocks
  • It helps in identification of gemstones
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