# capacity * or* volume

See also the calculators on the
Capacities of tanks page.

Units of volume. Their dimension is Length, cubed.

## Liquid and dry measure

Historically two distinct kinds of capacity measures existed, one for liquids like cooking oil and wine, and the other for grains. From the beginning the metric system did not make this distinction, and the British stopped doing so in 1824. The United States continues to have two separate systems.

## Stricken and heaped measure

In using dry measures one needs to know whether they are heaped or “stricken”, that is, leveled by running a straight object (a “strick”) over the rim of the container (the way cooks make “level teaspoons”). The difference between heaped and stricken measure can be very large, and depends on many factors, including how steeply the substance can be heaped before it avalanches, the height from which the substance is dropped, and the proportions of the container. A pie pan will have a much greater heaped capacity than will a tennis ball can with the same stricken capacity. That is why old laws defining units of capacity usually describe the dimensions of the container, rather than simply the volume. Governments have frequently forbidden sales by heaped measure, almost always to no avail.

You have entered a number with more than one decimal point.

What you have entered is either a negative number, not a number, or a number with more than 20 digits. The program cannot process such big numbers.

You are trying to convert a measurement in units of liquid capacity to units of dry capacity, which is impossible.

You are trying to convert a measurement in units of dry capacity to units of liquid capacity, which is impossible.

Some sort of error has occurred in the conversions routine. Apologies.

The zeroes added to your measurement show how much more precise the measurement would need to be, to be meaningfully convertable to the nearest whole number of the smaller unit. An alternative approach would be to change an appropriate number of last digits in the answer to zeroes. For example, a calculated “16,739 foos” might be changed to “16,700 foos”, because the number of places in the measurement shows that it was not precise to the nearest ten foos.

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Last revised: 10 November 2015.