Examples of Ways to Measure Volume

Volume is the level at which something is heard or the amount of space a solid, liquid or gas occupies. With sound, its volume is the loudness of the sound. With a container, its volume would be its capacity, or how much it can hold. Volume is often expressed in cubic units determined by the International System of Units. Learn how to measure volume with ease.

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How to Measure the Volume of Solids

The volume of a solid is expressed in cubic measurements, such as cubic centimeters or cubic meters. The basic volume formula for volume is:

volume = area (sometimes called base) x height

However, finding the areas of different solids can require different formulas. Learn how to find the volume for some specific shapes.

Cuboid Volume Formula Example

Multiply the measurement of the length (l) times the width (w), then times the height (h).

Volume = lwh
length = 3
width = 2
height = 4
3 * 2 * 4 = 24cm³

Cube Volume Formula Example

Since all sides are the same measurement, it would be the measurement of any side (a), or edge, cubed.

Volume = a³
side (a) = 3
3 * 3 * 3 = 27cm³

Prism Volume Formula Example

Find the area of the base, then multiply the area times the height of the prism. The area (B) would be length times width.

Volume = Bh
B = l x w
height = 7
length = 3
width = 4
B = 3 * 4 = 12
12 * 7 = 84 cm³

Triangular Prism Volume Formula Example

Find the area of the base (b), then multiply the area times the length (l) between the triangular bases. The area of the base would be ½ times the base times the height (h) of the triangle.

Volume = ½blh
base = 7
length = 3
height = 4
½ * 7 * 3 * 4
3.5 * 3 * 4
10.5 * 4 = 42cm³

Cylinder Volume Formula Example

Find the area of the circular face using pi times the radius (r) squared, then multiply that area times the height of the cylinder.

Volume = πr²h
π = 3.14
radius = 3
height = 2
3.14 * (3²) * 2
3.14 * 9 * 2
28.26 * 2 = 56.52cm³

Pyramid Volume Formula Example

Find the area of the base and multiply that area times the height of the pyramid and multiply by 1/3.

Volume = 1/3Bh
base = 7
height = 4
1/3 * 7 * 4
2.33 * 4 = 9.33cm³
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Square Pyramid Volume Formula Example

Find the area of the base squared and multiply that area times the height of the pyramid and multiply by 1/3.

Volume =1/3b²h
base = 3
height = 4
1/3* (3²) * 4
.33 * 9 * 4 = 12cm³'

Rectangular Pyramid Volume Formula Example

Find the volume of the base by multiplying the length times the width times the height of the pyramid and multiply by 1/3.

Volume = 1/3(lwh)
length = 3
width = 4
height = 7
1/3 * (3 * 4 * 7)
.33 * 84 = 28cm³

Sphere Volume Formula Example

For a sphere, multiply 4/3 times pi, then multiply by the radius cubed.

Volume = 4/3πr²
π = 3.14
radius = 3
4/3 * 3.14 * (3²)
1.33 * 3.14 * 9 = 37.68cm³

Cone Volume Formula Example

For a cone, it is the area of the circular face, or πr², then multiply by 1/3 and the height of the cone.

Volume = 1/3πr²h
π = 3.14
radius = 3
height = 5
1/3 * 3.14 * (3²) * 5
.33 * 3.14 * 9 * 5
9.42 * 5 = 47.1cm³

How to Measure the Volume of Liquids

Liquids are fairly simple to measure when you remember that 1,000 cubic centimeters equals 1 liter, and 1,000 liters equals 1 cubic meter.

  • 1,000 cubic centimeters = 1 liter
  • 1,000 liters = 1 cubic meter

Liquid volume is typically measured using specific tools like a graduated cylinder or buret in milliliters (mL) or liters (L). However, there are examples of other ways to measure liquids and their conversions.

Barrel Volume Conversion

Barrels can be dry barrels or fluid barrels, such as oil and water barrels. The specific amount of volume a barrel holds has differed over time and depending on the type.

  • In Europe, the term "barrel" as a unit of measure has ranged from signifying around 100 liters to signifying around 1,000 liters.
  • In the U.S., a beer barrel is around 31 gallons while an oil barrel is around 42 gallons.
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Gallon Volume Conversion

A gallon is equal to 128 ounces, four quarts, eight pints, and around 3.781 liters.

1 gallon = 128 ounces
1 gallon = 4 quarts
1 gallon = 8 pints
1 gallon = 3.781 liters

Pint Volume Conversion

A pint is equal to 1 milliliter, .125 gallons, .5 quarts, and 2 cups.

1 pint = 1 milliter
1 pint = .125 gallons
1 pint = .5 quarts
1 pint = 2 cups

Quart Volume Conversion

A quart is equal to 946.353 milliliters, .25 gallons, 2 pints, and 4 cups.

1 quart = 946.353 milliters
1 quart = .25 gallons
1 quart = 2 pints
1 quart = 4 cups

Types of Measuring Cups

Measuring cups come in various sizes and can be used to measure liquid or dry goods. A set of measuring cups usually includes a ¼ of a cup, a ⅓ of a cup, a ½ cup, and a 1-cup measure.

Types of Measuring Spoons

Measuring spoons also come in various sizes and can measure dry or liquid goods. A standard set of measuring spoons generally contains a ¼ teaspoon measure, a ½ teaspoon measure, a 1 teaspoon measure, and a 1 tablespoon measure.

How to Measure the Volume of Gases

Gases are all around us in the air, and they need to be measured too. There are specific tools used to measure the volume of gases along with formulas.

Displaced Fluid Volume Measurement

This method can be used to calculate the volume of gas. The volume of fluid displaced would equal the volume of the gas.

Gas Syringe Volume Measurement

This is a laboratory instrument that can be used to withdraw a certain volume of gas from a closed system or to measure the volume of gas from a chemical reaction.

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Spirometer Volume Measurement

A spirometer measures the volume of air coming into and being expelled out of your lungs, called tidal volume.

Trap the Gas Volume Measurement

Use a balloon to trap the gas coming from a reaction. Then calculate the volume of the sphere.

Compressed Gas in a Cylinder Volume Measurement

For the volume of compressed gas in a cylinder, apply this equation, the Ideal Gas Law: PV = nRT, where P is pressure, V is volume, n is the number of moles, R is the gas constant and T is the absolute temperature.

How to Measure the Volume of Sound

The loudness of a sound can be subjective, such as quiet or loud. When it comes to science, a more objective measure of sound is used. Ways to find the volume of sound include:

  • Sound pressure level (SPL) - The human ear averages the SPL over a period of 600-1000 milliseconds. After about 1 second, the ear creates an average, and the level of loudness will seem to become stable.
  • Decibels (dB) - This is the ratio between the power and intensity of the sound wave. The maximum human sensitivities are between 2 and 4 kHz.

How to Find the Volume

How you measure the volume of something is going to depend on what you are measuring. The volume of sound is measured by looking at the sound wave, while the volume of objects is measured using volume formulas. Now that you have learned plenty of different ways to measure volume, check out examples of gas to solids.