Is there any scientific reason why the metal lead was used in the Cavendish experiment?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ IIRC Cavendish did use gold for the small weights on the torsion balance. However, even for a wealthy man like Cavendish, several hundred kilos of gold for the big weights was economically infeasible. $\endgroup$ – nigel222 Jan 21 at 15:19

Because of its high density. This meant that, for given masses of spheres, the centres of a fixed sphere and its neighbouring moving sphere could be closer to each other (than if a less dense material had been used). So the force between the spheres would be greater. The force was small and hard to measure, so any increase in the force would have been welcome.

  • $\begingroup$ How simple can it be... $\endgroup$ – descheleschilder Jan 21 at 21:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.