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Density: Sink or Float?
 edHelper's suggested reading level: grades 5 to 8 Flesch-Kincaid grade level: 6.74

Vocabulary
 challenging words: milliliter, cubic, experiment, volume, substance, science, based, vinegar, density, commonly, identify, mass, fluid, centimeter, grams, ratio

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 Density: Sink or Float? By Cindy Grigg

1     Here's an easy science experiment to do at home. Take a can of regular soda and a can of diet soda and put them into a container of water. Most likely the regular soda will sink, and the diet soda will float. Why? The answer is density.

2     What is density? Density is simply the amount of "stuff" in a given space. Scientists measure density by dividing the mass of something by its volume (d = m/v). The volumes of both cans of soda are the same. To find the mass of the sodas, you would have to use a scale. When you find the mass of each of the cans of soda, you will see that they are different. Even though both cans are exactly the same size and shape and have exactly the same volume of soda (twelve fluid ounces), the masses are different. This is because the can of regular soda has more density due to the sugar dissolved in the soda. It will be heavier than the diet soda, and that is why it will sink.

3     Density is an important physical property of matter that describes how closely the atoms of a substance are packed together. The more closely packed the atoms, the more density the substance has. Since different substances have different densities, scientists can measure the density of a substance to identify the substance. They can also use the measure of density to find out if the substance will sink or float.

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