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Wet Gold: A Technique to

Measure Density Without
Knowing the Volume

Read this post in: English only

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Contact Posted On: March 7th, 2013 Categories:
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In the category of interesting requests, Ron, a gold

worker, from Guyana, sent me the following note: Data
Dr. Ron,
My colleagues use a “wet” gold technique to
measure gold alloy density. Is this valid? Where
does the formula come from?

Sincerely, Buy Online

Ron Tech Team

Well, to tell the truth, I had never heard of it and was

skeptical. How can you measure density (mass/volume)
by only measuring weight? So, I investigated. The
technique claims that one can measure density with only
a scale, by measuring the alloy’s weight in air and in

I could find no derivation, so I thought about it and
derived it on my own. As far as measurements go, as

stated, you only have to measure the weight in air and
water. If you don’t have a scale that can handle being

immersed in water, you can use a hanging scale (think 
weighing a fish). So, after weighing the alloy in air, you
immerse it in water. It will weigh the amount of water it 
displaces less. The derivation is below:

As an example, let’s say you have a gold alloy ingot that

weighs 1,000 grams (OK, I know grams is mass, but we
are all sloppy and use it as weight, too) in air. You weigh
it in water and it weighs 930 grams. From the formula
below, the alloys density is:
r = 1000/(1000-930) = 14.29g/cc

Since the density of gold is 19.3g/cc, the alloy is not pure

gold. If you knew the alloying element, say copper, you
could use Indium’s Solder Alloy Density Calculator to
determine that the alloy was 69.8% gold, 30.2% copper.
If there are multiple alloying elements, since most of the
common elements have a density of about 9 g/cc, you
can even estimate the fineness of the gold.

Could this technique be used to measure the alloy 
density of say a handful of solder preforms. Sure, you
could put them in a woven bag of non-hygroscopic
material and weigh them in air and water. Admittedly,
measuring the density of solder paste, with this
technique, would be a challenge.

Next posting, I will show how this technique is used

to measure the quantity of gold in gold/quartz ore.


Dr. Ron

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suresh patil • 3 years ago

Density of Materials that float in water cannot be
measured with this?
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Ron Lasky > suresh patil • 3 years ago

I think I figured out a way to do it. Stay
t d

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