an HLAB experiment

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The US Penny
Random thoughts and views

In this experiment you will study an everyday object, the US PENNY. You will measure the density of this coin by two independent methods.

Density   =   Mass/Volume
Density is a physical property which can be used to characterize and identify a material.
In this experiment you will try to identify the materials used to produce the US PENNY.


  • Weigh a single penny

  • measure with a ruler the coin's diameter.

The volume of a cylindrical object is given   by the formula
VOLUME = pr2h
r is the radius of the penny
h is the thickness.
Assume the thickness to be 0.123 cm.

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What does the weight of single pennies plotted against their date tell us?

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  • Weigh a stack of pennies and measure the volume of water displaced by them in a graduated cylinder.

In the graduated cylinder on the left, the pennies have raised the water level to 26.2 mL.

If you plot the weight of a stack of pennies vs their total volume for several different stacks of pennies, what do you get?
Will the dates of the pennies in each stack make a difference?

To start HDENPEN....  telnet://hades.rutgers.edu
At the Username: prompt, type    HLAB
Then follow the on-screen directions.
Please Note:
HLAB interacts only with the keyboard, not the mouse.



The adjacent table contains the densities of some of the common metals.


Aluminum 2.70 g/cc
Copper 8.92 g/cc
Iron 7.86 g/cc
Lead 11.34 g/cc
Zinc 7.13 g/cc
You may need to use these to come to your conclusions in this experiment.
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Use the adjacent links to get logistical information on this experiment.

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   For additional information E-Mail........     kluiber@hades.rutgers.edu

R. W. Kluiber  4/22/98