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
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


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.


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