Weights of Common Substances

Compiled by Andrew Roy

The table below provides density figures for many common (and some not-so-common) substances. This information is useful for determining the weight (or volume) of objects and cargo. This table was pieced together from a wide variety of sources, listed in full at the bottom of the page. The inspiration for this comes from the old Dragon magazine article, "How Heavy is My Giant".

These figures have not been rigorously checked. Do not rely on this as a scientific reference!

Note on measures: Specific gravity is a measure of an object's density. A cubic centimeter of water at 4°C weighs 1 gram, and has a specific gravity of 1. The specific gravity numbers below can be read as "grams per cubic centimeter" (or kg/liter). A solid object with a specific gravity greater than 1 will sink in water. Weight in pounds per cubic inch and foot is also provided to save non-metric users some time on the calculator.


MaterialSpecific GravityPounds per Cubic InchPounds per Cubic FootNotes
Metals
Aluminum2.7020.098169
Brass8.4-8.70.303-0.314524-556
Bronze7.4-8.90.267-0.322462-556
Cobalt8.90.322556
Copper8.930.323557
Gold, pure19.320.6981206
Gold, alloys15.3-19.3.553-0.698955-1205
Iron, pure7.860.284491
Iron, wrought7.4-7.90.275-0.285474-493
Iron, cast (gray)7.03-7.130.254-0.258439-445
Lead11.340.41710
Magnesium1.7380.063108
Mercury13.5460.489846
Nickel8.90.322556
Platinum21.450.7751339
Plutonium19.80.7151236
Silver, pure10.50.379655
Silver, alloys400980.362-0.434625-750
Steel7.7-7.930.278-0.286481-495
Tin7.30.264456
Titanium4.50.163281
Tungsten19.30.6971205
Uranium18.90.6831180
Zinc7.140.258446
Non-Metallic Minerals
Agate2.60.09162
Alabaster2.7-2.770.098-0.1169-173
Amber1.25-1.550.045-0.05678-97fossil resin, not a real mineral at all. Also included in the OTHER section.
Asbestos, solid2.450.09125-175often mined with serpentine
Basalt3.010.11188
Beryl2.36-2.910.085-0.105147-182includes emerald and aquamarine
Biotite376600.101-0.108175-187iron ore
Cassiterite6.4-7.00.231-253400-437tin ore
Chalk, solid2.50.09156
Cinnabar8.10.29505ore containing mercury, red dye
Clay1.8-2.50.065-0.09112-156
Coal1.35-1.510.049-0.05584-94
Cobaltite6.30.23393cobalt ore, used in ancient times for its blue color
Coral2.120.08132
Corundum3.990.14249ruby, sapphire
Diamond194210.108-0.128187-220
Dolomite2.85-2.950.103-0.107178-184building and road stone, main source of magnesium
Feldspar2.54-2.620.092-0.095159-164
Flint2.630.1164
Galena7.4-7.6.267-.275462-474lead ore
Garnet3.58-4.320.129-0.156223-270
Granite2.690.1168
Graphite (carbon)2.30.08145
Gummite3.9-6.40.141-.231243-400uranium ore
Gypsum2.30.08144
Gypsum, crushed1.60.06100
Hematite5.1-5.20.184-0.188318-325most important iron ore
Hemimorphite3.4-3.50.123-0.126212-218zinc ore
Jadeite (Jade)3.330.12208
Jasper2.550.09159
Jet1.330.0583
Limestone2.610.09163
Limonite3.6-4.00.130-0.145225-250iron ore
Lumashella (fire marble)2.560.09160fantasy stone from the Forgotten Realms: dark brown with small, iridescent opal-like snails. I think I made up the density.
Magnetite4.9-5.20.177-0.188306-325iron ore
Malachite3.75-3.950.135-0.143234-247copper ore
Marble2.690.1168
Obsidian2.350.09145
Opal2.20.08137
Pearl2.70.1168Not a real mineral: also included in the OTHER section.
Porphyry2.550.09159
Pumice0.640.0240
Pyrite (fool's gold)4.1-5.020.148-0.181256-313mined for sulfur, iron, gold and copper
Quartz2.60.09162
Rocksalt2.160.08135
Salt, course0.80.0350
Salt, fine1.20.0475
Saltpetre1.20.0475
Sand, dry1.620.06101
Sand, wet1.920.07120
Sandstone2.320.08134-147
Serpentine2.570.09160
Smithsonite4.30.16268zinc ore
Soapstone2.6-2.80.094-0.101162-175
Spinel3.60.13225
Stone (common, generic)2.520.09157
Sulfur369240.072-0.076125-130
Talc2.58-2.830.93-.102160-175
Topaz3.530.13220
Turquoise2.80.1175
Other Materials
Air0.0012500.078
Amber1.25-1.550.045-0.05678-97fossil resin
Apples0.640.02340
Ashes0.660.02441Random tidbit: the ashes of the average cremated person weigh five pounds. (I originally listed "nine pounds" based on a web page somewhere, but further research suggested that five pounds was closer to the truth. One source claimed that ashes usually weigh approximately 3% of body weight, which also supports 5 lbs as an average figure).
Asphalt, Crushed0.720.02645
Barley0.610.02238
Beans, cocoa0.590.02137
Beeswax0.960.03560
Bone1.7-2.00.061-0.072106-125
Bone, dry powdered0.880.03255
Brick20.072125quite variable, obviously
Butter0.870.03154
Camphor10.03662
Cement, hardened2.7-3.050.098-0.11169-190
Charcoal0.210.00813
Cork0.2490.00916
Flesh, Human0.99-1.0761-67This is the average density of a human body with breath exhaled (density drops to 56-62 lbs/cu foot if you inhale). Lower figures reflect relatively more body fat (which is lighter than bone and muscle).
Flour, Wheat0.590.02137
Glass2.4-2.80.087-0.101150-175
Gum Arabic1.3-1.40.047-0.05181-87a plant derivative used in glues, inks, confectionery, and pharmaceuticals
Ice, crushed0.590.02137
Ice, solid0.920.03357This is the density of pure ice (917 kilograms per cubic metre at 0° C and atmospheric pressure). Most naturally occurring ice is less dense due to pockets of air, ranging from around 53 lbs/cubic foot on up.
Ivory1.840.066115
Leather (Dry)0.950.03460
Manure0.40.01425
Oats0.430.01627
Oats, Rolled0.30.01119
Ochre3.50.126218red/yellow mineral pigment
Oil, linseed0.940.03459
Oil, petroleum0.880.03255
Paper1.20.04344-80
Paraffin0.720.02645
Pearl2.70.098168
Peat, dry0.40.01425
Peat, wet1.120.0470
Pitch1.150.04272
Plaster0.850.03153
Porcelain2.40.087150
Potash1.280.04680
Rice, hulled0.750.02747
Rice, rough0.580.02136
Rocksalt2.160.078135Also included in the MINERALS section.
Rosin1.070.03967
Rubber1.520.05595
Salt, course0.80.02950Also included in the MINERALS section.
Salt, fine1.20.04375Also included in the MINERALS section.
Sawdust0.270.0117
Snow, freshly fallen0.160.00610
Snow, packed0.480.01730
Soap0.80.02950
Sugar0.850.03153
Tar1.150.04272
Tobacco0.320.01220
Water, fresh10.0366262.4278 precisely
Water, sea (avg.)1.030.03764
Wool1.310.04782
Wood, Dry and Seasoned
Apple0.710.02641-52
Ash, black0.540.0234
Ash, white0.670.02442
Aspen0.420.01526
Balsa0.170.00611
Bamboo0.3-0.40.011-0.01419-25
Cedar, red0.380.01424
Cypress0.510.01832
Ebony0.96-1.120.035-.0460-70
Elm0.60.02237
Lignum Vitae1.28-1.370.046-0.04980-86the very hard, heavy wood of certain South American Guaiacums. Used in pulleys, axels, and bowling balls.
Mahogany0.54-0.850.02-0.3134-53
Maple0.7550.02747
Oak0.9250.03337-58
Pine, White0.5540.0222-35
Pine, Yellow0.660.02423-41
Redwood0.450.01628
Sycamore0.590.02137
Teak0.630.2340
Willow0.420.01526

Sources: The original idea for this page, and the initial list of substances, comes from a classic Dragon magazine article:

Da Orc, Shlump. "How Heavy Is My Giant." The Dragon 13 (April 1978): 5-7.

The article was reprinted in the first "Best of The Dragon" collection. It can also be found on the Dragon Magazine Archive CD-ROM.

That initial list has been expanded and updated with information from a variety of web sites, listed in no particular order:

  • Alphabetical Mineral Reference by Dr. Jillian Banfield at University of Wisconsin - Madison.
  • Chemicool Periodic Table by David Hsu.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica Online
  • Specific Gravity Table For Various Metals at Reade Advanced Materials.
  • Weight And Specific Gravity Per Cubic Foot, also at Reade Advanced Materials. Strange thing though... the header to this document states that it was specifically created for gamers! It's a good place to go if you can't find something on my list -- it covers a lot of modern materials.
  • The Household Cyclopedia, a fabulous 19th century tome of knowledge.

Finally, special thanks to the erudite members of the Pyramid Magazine Discussion Groups (from Steve Jackson Games) who have suggested numerous corrections to the data and organization of this page.

Source: Tesarta.com

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