How do I calculate the volume of an irregular container using styrofoam beads?

In summary, the speaker is trying to find the volume of an irregularly shaped container using small styrofoam beads. They have the weight of the container filled with water (1231.0 g) and the weight of the container filled with beads (22.0 g). They also know that their unknown container can hold 1678.7 g of beads. By assuming that the ratio of water weight to bead weight is consistent, they can calculate the volume of the container to be approximately 94 liters. If the container is rigid, taking into account the temperature, the volume can be calculated to be around 94.063 liters.
  • #1
I'm trying to find the volume of a irregularly shaped container by using very small styrofoam beads. Things I know: Cylinder A filled with water @ 18 c - net weight - 1231.0 g. Cylinder A filled with beads - net weight - 22.0 g. My unknown volume container holds 1678.7 g of beads. How the heck do I determine the volume of my container with this information?
 
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  • #2
Of course, you are asked for an inexact solution. You need to make the assumption that the (weight of container filled with water) : (weight of container filled with Styrofoam beads) ratio is unchanged across containers. Are you sure this not a homework question?
 
  • #3
I wish - I'm 23 years removed from college, (forgot more than I've learned) and I'm trying to get this answer for a problem at my job.
 
  • #4
huh? i don't understand what information you have? you know how much the water weighs that fills the container?if you do then the volume of your container is that weight divided by the density of water.
 
  • #5
tkettlehut said:
I'm trying to find the volume of a irregularly shaped container by using very small styrofoam beads. Things I know: Cylinder A filled with water @ 18 c - net weight - 1231.0 g. Cylinder A filled with beads - net weight - 22.0 g. My unknown volume container holds 1678.7 g of beads. How the heck do I determine the volume of my container with this information?

So you have

A: 22g of beads = 1231g of water
B: 1678.7g of beads

If the bags fill similarly, then we'd expect bag B to hold 1678.7g * (1231 / 22) = 93931g of water. Water is roughly 1 mL/g -- at 18 degrees I think it's a little more, but the error in the bead/water conversion is probably large enough that I wouldn't bother -- making the volume 93931 mL = 93.931 L. This probably has no more than 2 significant decimal places, so I'd report it as 94 liters of capacity.
 
  • #6
If the containers are rigid (like a metal box instead of a backpack), then there's little enough error that dealing with the temperature makes sense. http://faculty.uccb.ns.ca/chowley/chem201/dh20vstemp.htm [Broken] has densities for water based on temperature. In particular, it gives 0.998595 g/mL at 18 degrees C, giving volume per gram 1.00140698 mL/g. That gives a total volume of 94.063 liters.
 
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1. How do I measure the volume of an irregular container?

To calculate the volume of an irregular container, you can use the displacement method. This involves filling the container with a known quantity of styrofoam beads and measuring the increase in volume. This will give you the total volume of the container.

2. How do I choose the right amount of styrofoam beads to fill the container?

You can estimate the amount of styrofoam beads needed by dividing the total volume of the container by the volume of a single bead. It's always best to add a little extra to ensure all empty spaces are filled.

3. Can I use a different type of material besides styrofoam beads?

Yes, you can use any material that can easily fill the empty spaces in the container, such as sand or rice. Just make sure to calculate the volume of the material beforehand and adjust your measurements accordingly.

4. What if my container has multiple compartments?

If your container has multiple compartments, you can calculate the volume of each compartment separately and then add them together to get the total volume of the container.

5. How accurate is this method for calculating volume?

The displacement method using styrofoam beads can give you a fairly accurate measurement of the volume of an irregular container. However, keep in mind that the accuracy may vary depending on the size and shape of the beads used.

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