silver or silvered?

Most silver medals can be identified by a mark. French silver medals have "ARGENT" stamped in the rim.




However, often silver medals have no silver mark. One is left in doubt wether the medal is plain silver or silvered bronze. The only way to know without damaging the medal is to determine its specific gravity.


The specific gravity of a material is determined by dividing the weight by the volume, so we need to know the weight and the volume of the medal


To achieve this, we need a precision scale, a glass filled with water and some scotch tape. The glass should be large enough to accomodate the medal, which should be totally immersed, but without touching the bottom of the glass



The medal to be tested is suspended with scotch tape, and the scales with the glass of water set to zero.



The medal is completely immersed, without touching bottom or sides of the glass. Here, we read 8,40 gram, which is the weight of the displaced water, thus a volume of 8,4cc. (Archimeds law)


The medal weighs 74,13 gr.

Weight divided by volume, 74,13 : 8,4 = 8,825, which is the specific gravity of bronze ( the weight in gram for 1cubic centimetre of bronze). Conclusion: The medal is made of silvered bronze.





Specific gravity of some metals:

bronze: 8,8 to 8,9

silver: 10,4

gold: 19,3

copper: 8,93

iron: 7,85






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