# How to measure the volume of a plastic cup

Written by contributing writer
• Share
• Tweet
• Share
• Pin
• Email

Determining the volume of a plastic cup is a simple and fundamental scientific endeavour. Volume measurement is three dimensional and can be approximated with mathematics, or determined more precisely with actual volume measurements, or weight measurements using water and a scientific balance. Using all three methods will give students an idea of how precise or accurate each method is, and provide a basis for understanding scientific measurements.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

### Things you need

• Plastic cup
• Distilled water
• Scientific balance
• Eye dropper

## Math, Volume and Weight

1. 1

Approximate the volume using mathematics. Use the equation for a cylinder to estimate the volume. The volume of a cylinder is pi times radius squared times the height of the cylinder. Use an average of the radius at the top and bottom of the cup for estimation.

2. 2

Measure the volume with a graduated cylinder. Fill the cup to the top with water.

3. 3

Pour the contents of the cup into a graduated cylinder. Measure the volume to the smallest increment possible on the graduated cylinder. Dump out the water and repeat to determine how accurate this method is.

4. 4

Measure the weight of water in the cup. Place the cup on a scientific balance and zero the balance.

5. 5

Fill the cup with distilled water near to the top. Continue adding water with an eyedropper or syringe until it is completely full. Record the weight in grams.

6. 6

Determine the volume. Distilled water weighs exactly 1 gram per millilitre. Millilitres is a volume measurement. Convert grams to millilitres 1:1 and you have the volume of the plastic cup. Compare the results from the three different methods to determine which is the most accurate.

### Don't Miss

#### References

• All types
• Articles
• Slideshows
• Videos
##### Sort:
• Most relevant
• Most popular
• Most recent