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Name: Chris J.
Status: other
Grade: other
Location: AP



Question:
What is the densest liquid known?


Replies:
Hi Chris,

I am assuming you mean, what is the densest fluid measured at room temperature. If so, I believe the answer is Mercury. If you want to get a little hotter (that is, about 5500°F!), I suspect it is liquid Osmium, since solid Osmium (at nearly 23 times heavier than water is the heaviest solid known. Mercury, by contrast is a "mere" 13.5 times heavier than water. Perchloroethylene, the solvent used in dry cleaning, is heavier than most common fluids, but still is only about 1.6 times the density of water; a real lightweight compared to Mercury!

Regards,
Bob Wilson.


"The densest liquid known" has no unique answer because the density of a liquid (or more precisely, a fluid) depends upon the temperature and pressure. Of the common elements, mercury (at 25 C.) has a density of 13.6 gm/cm^3. However, Plutonium at its melting point -- about 650 C. -- has a density of about 16.6 gm/cm^3.

Now, if you do not limit the scope of the question to temperatures below the critical point of a substance, then the density can have almost any value, depending on the applied pressure and the melting point of the substance.

Vince Calder



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