Density: AP Physics 2 Study Guide 🎓
Introduction
Welcome, aspiring physicists and inquisitive minds! Today we dive into the fascinating world of density, where we’ll uncover why some things sink like a stone, while others float like a feather. Spoiler alert: It’s all about density! 🌊 Let's get started.
What is Density? 🤔
So, what exactly is density? Density is the measure of mass per unit volume of a substance. Picture density as how tightly a material’s mass is packed within a particular volume—like sardines in a can, but less fishysmelling.
In physics, we commonly use kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m³) to express density. However, grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³) might also pop up, inviting you to flex those unit conversion muscles! The formula for density (ρ) is simple but powerful:
[ \text{Density} = \frac{\text{Mass}}{\text{Volume}} ]
In terms of letters and symbols, it looks like this:
[ \rho = \frac{m}{V} ]
Key Concepts and Properties 📏

Intrinsic Property: Density is intrinsic, meaning it doesn’t change regardless of the size or shape of the sample. Whether you have a glacier’s worth of ice or a single ice cube, the density remains the same! Imagine that! 🧊

Extensive Properties: Mass and volume are extensive properties, dependent on the quantity of the substance. If you have more of the stuff, you have more mass and volume, but the density stays sassy and unchanged.

Comparison: Density allows for comparing different materials. For example, gold is denser than aluminum, so a gold brick and an aluminum brick of the same volume will have vastly different weights. Kaching! 💰

Sink or Float?: Density is like the ultimate party guest—it decides who sinks and who floats in the liquid. If the object’s density is higher than the liquid’s, it sinks. If it’s lower, it floats. Make way for the life of the pool party! 🎈
Intriguing Examples & Calculations ✏️
Let's sprinkle in some practice problems to solidify our understanding:
Example 1:
A block of metal has a mass of 50 grams and a volume of 10 cubic centimeters. What’s the density of the metal?
[ \text{Density} = \frac{50, \text{g}}{10, \text{cm}^3} = 5, \text{g/cm}^3 ]
Example 2:
A cylinder of wood has a mass of 200 grams and a radius of 2 centimeters. What’s the density of the wood, if its height is 10 cm?
First, calculate the volume of the cylinder:
[ V = \pi r^2 h = \pi (2, \text{cm})^2 \times 10, \text{cm} = 40\pi , \text{cm}^3 ]
Then, plug into the density formula:
[ \text{Density} = \frac{200, \text{g}}{40\pi, \text{cm}^3} \approx 1.59, \text{g/cm}^3 ]
Example 3:
A swimming pool has a volume of 50,000 liters and a mass of 400,000 grams of water. What’s the density of the water in the pool?
[ \text{Density} = \frac{400,000, \text{g}}{50,000, \text{L}} = 8, \text{g/L} ]
Ice vs. Water: A Chilling Mystery 🧊
One of the coolest facts (pun intended) is why ice floats on water. Predict the density of ice relative to water at 0°C and conduct an investigation:
Prediction:
The density of ice is less than that of water at 0°C.
Explanation:
Despite solids typically being denser than liquids, water is the quirky exception. Ice forms a lattice structure with open spaces, making it less dense. This is why ice floats and your Titanic recreations will always end in tragedy, not triumph.
Investigation:
 Obtain containers with water and ice.
 Measure the mass and volume using a balance and graduated cylinder.
 Calculate the densities using the classic ( \rho = \frac{m}{V} ).
 Compare your results and nail that science project!
Frequently Asked “Blazing” Questions 🔥
Q: Which has a greater density: 100 grams of mercury or 10,000 kilograms of mercury?
A: Both have the same density! Density is intrinsic and doesn’t depend on the amount.
Q: If Object A and Object B have the same density, and you have more volume of Object B, which has more mass?
A: Object B, because more volume at the same density means more mass.
Q: Why will something with a specific gravity less than 1 float in water?
A: Because specific gravity tells us about density relative to water. Less than 1 means the substance is less dense and will float, like that sponge at bath time! 🧽
Key Terms to Master 🧠
 Density: Measure of mass per unit volume.
 Extensive Property: Property depending on the amount of the substance (e.g., mass, volume).
 Intensive Property: Property independent of the amount of the substance (e.g., density).
 Specific Gravity: Ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a reference substance, usually water.
 Volume of a Cylinder: Calculated by ( V = \pi r^2 h ).
Fun Physics Fact 📚
Did you know Archimedes screamed "Eureka!” while discovering the principle of buoyancy? Bet you didn’t know bath time could be that enlightening!
Conclusion 🌟
By mastering density, you can predict whether objects will float or sink, determine the intrinsic properties of materials, and overall, feel like a physics wizard. So go ahead, next time you’re in the tub, amaze your friends with your knowledge of why your rubber ducky floats, and don’t forget to shout "Eureka!” while you're at it.