You have 100 ml of coconut oil with a mass of 92.4 grams, and you have 50 ml of gasoline with a mass of 36.8 grams. What would happen if you pour these into a graduated cylinder?

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megamind-616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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This question is based on the density of the two substances. Density is defined as mass per volume. Thus,

 Density = Mass / Volume

Using this formula, the density of  the coconut oil is:

92.4 grams / 100 mL = .924 grams/ milliliter 

Likewise, the density of the gasoline will be:

36.8 grams / 50 milliliters = .736 grams / milliliter 

Substances that have a lower density will float on substances that have a higher density (or, substances that are more dense sink). This is why the oil in your salad dressing floats on top of the vinegar and water. 

When two or more substances create layers based on differences in densities, it is called a density column. 

Thus, the gasoline will float on top of the coconut oil since, in this instance, the gasoline has a lower density. 

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