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A measurement of the mass per unit volume of a material. Density is usually expressed as grams per cubic centimeter (g cm-3) for solids and liquids. The density of gases is generally expressed as grams per liter (g l-1). In practical term, a high density material is usually heavy, such as baryum, bismuth, gold, lead, platinum. Aluminium, carbon, magnesium, porous materials, such as a foam or paper will have a low density.

The term optical density is also used to refer to the optical opacity, or blackness, of a material like an exposed and developped photographic or radiographic film.

Synonyms and Related Terms

masse volumique (Fr.)


  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Comment: "density." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 17 Nov. 2004 .

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