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The specific weight, also known as the unit weight, is the weight per unit volume of a material.
The density of the material is defined as mass per unit volume, typically measured in kg/m3. The standard gravity is acceleration due to gravity, usually given in m/s2, and on Earth usually taken as .
Unlike density, specific weight is not a fixed property of a material. It depends on the value of the gravitational acceleration, which varies with location. Pressure may also affect values, depending upon the bulk modulus of the material, but generally, at moderate pressures, has a less significant effect than the other factors.
In fluid mechanics, specific weight represents the force exerted by gravity on a unit volume of a fluid. For this reason, units are expressed as force per unit volume (e.g., N/m3 or lbf/ft3). Specific weight can be used as a characteristic property of a fluid.
Specific weight is often used as a property of soil to solve earthwork problems.
In soil mechanics, specific weight may refer to:
Moist unit weight
The unit weight of a soil when void spaces of the soil contain both water and air.