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How to Measure the Thickness of Aluminum Foil

Updated July 20, 2017

Aluminium foil is used for everything from wrapping potatoes to lining ovens. Aluminium foil comes in different thicknesses, from thin to heavy duty. You can get an accurate measurement of the thickness of foil through a couple of methods. The precision of the measurement will depend upon the precision of the instrumentation. One method uses a precise direct measurement of thickness, while the other uses a precision scale to get the required accuracy.

Close the measurement device and adjust the scale to show zero.

Open the device and insert a thickness of foil. To improve the accuracy, you can fold the foil a few times, as long as there's no extra space between the layers.

Close the measurement device. The micrometer and the vernier caliper will allow you to control the tension during the measurement, but be careful not to overtighten.

Read the value off the measurement device. If you've folded the foil, divide the overall measurement by the number of layers.

Roll out and cut a large sheet of foil, perhaps two or three feet long.

Measure the dimensions of the foil in square centimetres using the ruler.

Fold the foil into a small enough packet to fit onto the balance and place the foil on the balance. Measure the mass in grams.

Calculate the thickness from the measured mass. The mass equals the area times the thickness times the density, which means the thickness is given by thickness= mass / (area * density). The density of aluminium is 2.70 grams per cubic centimetre.

Things You'll Need

  • Micrometer, vernier caliper or thickness gauge
  • Ruler
  • Accurate balance
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About the Author

First published in 1998, Richard Gaughan has contributed to publications such as "Photonics Spectra," "The Scientist" and other magazines. He is the author of "Accidental Genius: The World's Greatest By-Chance Discoveries." Gaughan holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Chicago.