This is a problem that we all face in our daily lives. It can be when you are about to develop a cooking recipe, entangled in the quantities of liquid sometimes indicated by weight, sometimes by volume, or even when you are gardening and it is necessary to distribute a fertilizer to the plants as precisely as possible. It’s the same thing when the time has come to treat the water in your swimming pool with specifically dosed products.
In the do-it-yourself field, again many of us get a little tripped up when converting milliliters and centiliters into grams for measuring water and cement. There is no calculation method for this, but let’s see how to go about it so that there are no more unpleasant surprises once the work is finished.
Units and their derived units
To be able to get away with the pesky conversions, it’s important to first note that there are units of measurement.
Volume measurement units
The international system uses the cubic meter (m3) as volume unit which has derived units such as cubic decametre, cubic decimetre, cubic millimetre, etc… But to measure the volume of a liquid (or a gas as well), one can also use a other unit of volume who is the litre as well as its derived units such as the centilitre, the millilitre, the decalitre or the hectolitre among others. Whether it is the cubic meter, the liter or their derived units, this indicates the space occupied by a liquid or a gas.
Small useful precision: in order not to confuse the symbol of the liter with a 1, we always write it L whereas we can use the lowercase l in the derived units (ml, dl, dal) knowing however that the capital letter is everything fully accepted by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, so that one is also authorized to write mL (millilitre), dL (decilitre) or even daL (decalitre).
Having been defined as the liter (L) is equal to the cubic decimeter (dm3)so we can also memorize, for example, that:
- 1 decilitre (dl) is equal to 0.1 cubic decimetre (dm3),
- 1 centiliter (cl) is equal to 10 cubic centimeters (cm3),
- 1 milliliter (ml) is equal to 1000 cubic millimeters (mm3).
Mass measurement units
The two main units of mass measurement are the gram (g) and the kilogram (kg). The derived units are for example the decigram (dg), the centigram (cg), the milligram (mg) or even the hectogram (hg), the quintal (q), the ton (T). Thus the kg is equal to 1,000 g or even 100,000 cg.
Convert volume units to mass units without hassle
So that you no longer have to abandon the preparation of your concrete or that of a meal because you do not know how to convert one unit of measurement into another, here are some things to understand how to go about it.
But above all, we can remember that 1 L of water (volume) – ie 1,000 ml or 100 cl – weighs 1 kg (mass) or 1,000 g. This liquid is used as a standard to define many scientific units. But it’s not easy for everyone, because some substances are lighter than water and others much heavier. Thus mercury weighs nearly 14 times heavier than water (13.6 times to be exact) and lead 11.35.
We specified above that the volume indicates the space occupied by a body, and that the mass (or weight) is the quantity of matter which composes this body. To be able to carry out the desired conversion without a converter (on line), it would be necessary to know the density of the substance concerned or more exactly its density, this being the ratio between the mass of the substance and its volume. For cement or any other material, it is necessary to refer to its technical data sheet.
There is still enough to put his neurons in overheating! Here are some examples that can, however, make life easier for many of us.
- 1 ml of flour = 0.1 cl = 0.57 g therefore 10 ml = 1 cl = 5.70 g or 100 ml = 10 cl or 57 g. With 1000 ml or 100 cl, you have 570 g of flour.
- 1 ml of butter = 0.1 cl = 0.911 g and 1 cl of butter = 9.11 g.
- 1 ml of milk = 0.1 cl = 1.03 g and 1 cl of milk = 10.3 g therefore 10 cl = 103 g and 100 cl represent 1 L and therefore 1.03 kg of milk.
And since 1000 ml of water = 100 cl = 1000 g (i.e. 1 kg), 1 ml of water = 0.1 cl = 1 g.
Finally, whatever the substance involved, a milliliter is the space it occupies, whether it is butter, flour, mercury or sand. If one of these substances is compressed, it will no longer occupy the same space but this will not change its weight since the quantity will be identical. So be careful when measuring cement or flour not to pack them too much because you risk in fine to have an overdose.
The conversion can be done if we know the density of a substance or material, that is to say the measure of its mass per unit volume. It is much easier today thanks to the Internet because you just need to be connected to find the density of a substance in its pure state. Just enter its name in the search bar and follow it with the term “density”. For water, the exact density is 997 kg/m3 which is rounded up to 1,000. That of cement is 2.8 g/cm3 knowing that 1 m3 corresponds to 1,000,000 cm3. The battery- or solar-powered pocket calculator is not about to be scrapped!