How to Calculate Weight Per Cubic Yard of Gravel

Written by petra wakefield
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If you are building a driveway, sidewalk or pond, gravel will likely play a role in the construction. You will likely calculate the volume of the area you need to fill to determine the amount of gravel you need, but some suppliers sell gravel by weight rather than volume. In that case, calculate the weight per cubic yard of gravel and multiply by the volume you need to determine what weight of gravel to order.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Approximate the specific weight of your gravel based on the particle size. Gravel ranges from 38.6 to 56.7kg. per cubic foot. Gravel with high percentages of small particles will have a higher specific weight, while gravel with high percentages of large particles will have a lower specific weight. You can use an average specific weight of 45.4kg. per cubic foot in most cases.

  2. 2

    Set up a unit conversion to convert from pounds per cubic foot to pounds per cubic yard. There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard, so for gravel with a specific weight of 45.4kg. per cubic foot, use 45.4kg. per cubic foot times 27 cubic feet per cubic yard.

  3. 3

    Multiply the unit conversion to find the weight per cubic yard. For example, 45.4kg. per cubic foot times 27 cubic feet per cubic yard equals 1225kg. per cubic yard. Cubic feet "disappears" from the result because, if you wrote the units in fraction form, cubic feet would appear in the denominator of pounds per cubic foot and in the numerator of cubic feet per cubic yard. This means the cubic feet cancel out when you multiply. In this example, if the gravel had a specific weight of 38.6kg. per cubic foot, then 38.6kg. per cubic foot times 27 cubic feet per cubic yard equals 1041kg. per cubic yard.

Tips and warnings

  • Divide pounds per cubic yard by 907kg. per ton if you need tons per cubic yard. For example, 12.2kg. per cubic yard divided by 0.907kg. per ton equals 1.35 tons per cubic yard.

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