Home > Electronic Tutorials > Dictionary of Units/Measurements > Volume or Capacity Unit

Dictionary of Units / Measurements

# Volume or Capacity Unit

The S I unit of volume is the cubic metre. However, this seems to be much less used than the liter (1000 liters = 1 cubic metre). To change any of these other units of volume into their equivalent values in liters use the operation and conversion factor given. Those marked with # are exact. Other values are given to an appropriate degree of accuracy.

The liter. There can be some ambiguity about the size of the liter. When the metric system was introduced in the 1790's the liter was intended to match up with the volume occupied by 1 kilogram of pure water at a specified pressure and temperature. As the ability to measure things got better (by 100 years later) they found that there was a mismatch between the kilogram and the liter. As a result of this they had to redefine the litre (in 1901) as being 1.000028 cubic decimeters. Very handy!

This nonsense was stopped in 1964 when it was ruled that the word "liter" may be employed as a special name for the cubic decimeter, with the additional recommendation that for really accurate work, to avoid any possible confusion, the liter should not be used.

Here the liter is taken as being a cubic decimeter.

 barrels (oil)          x 158.987 294 928 # bushels (UK)           x 36.368 72 # bushels (US)           x 35.239 070 166 88 # centilitres            x 0.01 # cubic centimetres      x 0.001 # cubic decimetres       1 cubic decametres       x 1 000 000 # cubic feet            x 28.316 846 592 # cubic inches          x 0.016 387 064 # cubic metres          x 1000 # cubic millimetres      x 0.000 001 # cubic yards           x 764.554 857 984 # decilitres            x 0.1 # fluid ounces (UK)      x 0.028 413 062 5 # fluid ounces (US)      x 0.029 573 529 562 5 # gallons (UK)          x 4.546 09 # gallons, dry (US)      x 4.404 883 770 86 # gallons, liquid (US)   x 3.785 411 784 #   litres [l or L]        1   litres (1901 - 1964)   x 1.000 028 millilitres            x 0.001 # pints (UK)             x 0.568 261 25 # pints, dry (US)        x 0.550 610 471 357 5 # pints, liquid (US)     x 0.473 176 473 # quarts (UK)            x 1.136 522 5 # quarts, dry (US)       x 1.101 220 942 715 # quarts, liquid (US)    x 0.946 352 946 #