Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why Gold is more dense than lead?

  1. Jan 28, 2008 #1
    Gold has atomic number of 79 whereas Lead has 82 but lead has 11.000kg/m3 density as to Gold's 19.000kg/m3.

    How come??
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2008 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Look at the scatter plots of density here.

    Note the periodic peaks in density, even as atomic mass is gradually increasing.

    Density of an element is related to Atomic Mass and Atomic Density. Atomic mass of Au is ~197 and that of Pb ~ 207. However, when we look at the atomic radii and bond lengths, those distances are smaller for Au than Pb.

    The atomic radius for Au is ~ 135 pm, and the Au-Au bond length ~ 288.4 pm.

    The atomic radius for Pb is ~ 180 pm, and the Pb-Pb bond length ~ 350.0 pm.

    So the Au atoms are more tightly packed than Pb atoms, and thus even though the atomic mass of Pb (207) is greater than Au (197), the density of Au is greater than that of Pb.
  4. Jan 28, 2008 #3
    thank you
  5. Mar 1, 2008 #4
    although gold has a lower atomic mass than Pb, the volume should also be considered.
    that is the strucuture(size of Au/Pb and metallic bond radius...)
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook