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What is Capacity (Definition, Units & Examples)

what is capacity

You buy milk or juice from a supermarket and want to know the quantity of these items present in each bottle or carton. What you will look at? Is it length or weight? The term used to measure the items that are fluid in nature is called their capacity.  Capacity is also referred to as the volume of an item.

Measuring capacity means measurement of the capacity of volume of fluid items with the help of measuring tools like a measuring cup/flask. The commonly used units in the measurement of capacity are millilitre, litre, pint, gallon, etc. 

Let’s learn what is capacity and its measurement in detail.

What is Capacity?

The term capacity is used for measuring the volume of a liquid. Capacity is the maximum amount that something can contain. Volume is the amount of space that a substance or object occupies.  The capacity helps you in identifying a larger or a smaller amount of two or more fluids such as water, milk, juice, etc.

what is capacity

Note: A fluid is a liquid, gas, or other material that continuously flows if allowed to do so.

What is Measurement of Capacity?

Measurement of capacity can be defined as a process of identifying the volume or capacity of fluids in some standard or non-standard units. The knowledge of measuring the capacity of a liquid is one of the basic skills you need in everyday life. 

You can measure the capacity of an object by using different units like millititre, litre, gallon, pint, or by using a cup, tumbler, etc. There are broadly two types of units that people around the world use.

  • Non-Standard Units of Measuring Capacity
  • Standard Units of Measuring Capacity
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Non-Standard Units of Measuring Capacity

The non-standard units do not have any fixed measurement in numbers. The measurements vary from person to person and object to object. In a non-standard type of measurement of capacity, different people use different types of scales to measure the capacity of a liquid such as a cup, cube, etc.  

These scales may vary from person to a person. For example, a cup used by you to measure milk for a recipe may be different from the one used by your friend. In such cases, the measurement of capacity will be different for different people even though they are using the same terms (units).

Standard Units of Measuring Capacity

Standard units are predefined and are based on some fixed or standardized. These units do not change from person to person or object to object. Suppose, there are two people measuring the amount of milk in a carton with a measuring flask. If they use the standard units, they will get the same value.  Some examples of measurement of capacity using standard units are litre, millilitre, pint, gallon, etc. 

The standard units of measuring capacity are broadly divided into two types.

  • Metric System of Capacity
  • Imperial System of Capacity

Metric System of Capacity

The metric system includes kilolitre, hectolitre, decalitre, litre, decilitre, centilitre, and millilitre. There is a relationship between these units. The base unit is a litre. 

The units used in the metric system are given below:

what is capacity

The relationship of every other unit with the base unit (litre) is given below:

CodingHero - What is Capacity (Definition, Units & Examples) Capacity 03
10 Famous Mathematicians

Imperial System of Capacity

The imperial system includes gallon, pint, fluid ounce, etc. The relation is given by:

what is capacity

The conversion from the metric system to the imperial system is given by:

what is capacity

The conversion from the imperial system to the metric system is given by:

what is capacity

S.I. Unit of Capacity

The S.I. unit is an international system of measurements that is used universally in technical and scientific research to avoid confusion with the units. The S.I unit to measure the capacity is given in litre (L). The litre is the base unit of capacity.

Conclusion

Capacity is the maximum amount that something can contain. To measure capacity we use three different types of systems, viz, metric system, imperial system, and S.I. system. In the olden days, people used non-standard units such as cups, tumblers, jars, etc.

Practice Problems

Convert the following

  • $3.5$ litre to millilitre
  • $37000$ millilitre to litre
  • $2300$ centilitre to litre
  • $2$ gallon to litre
  • $25$ litre to gallon
  • $1.25$ litre to pint

Recommended Reading

FAQs

What is measuring capacity?

Measurement of capacity can be defined as a process of identifying the volume or capacity of fluids in some standard or non-standard units.

What are the units other than a litre to measure capacity?

The units other than litre are fluid ounce, pint, quart, and gallon.

What is the SI unit of measurement of capacity?

The S.I unit to measure the capacity is given in litre (L).

What is the unit of measurement of capacity?

The unit to measure the capacity is given in litre (L).

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