Unit of Volume

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What is Volume in Physics?

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You know that volume is the space occupied by a state of matter. So, what is the SI unit for volume considered for measuring it? Well! The SI unit for volume is m³. However, many other units are employed for the volume in Physics. This page discusses the units of volume list in detail.

The volume is a basic physical quantity, we consider it a derived quantity and it expresses the three-dimensional proportions of an object.

So, we understand that the SI unit of volume in Physics is quantified by using the SI derived unit, the cubic metre.

Volume in Physics

Volume is the amount of three-dimensional space enclosed by a closed surface in terms of numerical value.

For example, the space that a substance can be solid, liquid, gas, or plasma, or any space-occupying shape. 

The volume of a container is considered to be the capacity it can hold; i.e., the amount of fluid, a gas, or a liquid that the container can hold, rather than the amount of space the container itself displaces, just like Buoyant force in the water. 

Points to Note:

3-D mathematical shapes are also assigned volumes. Volumes of shapes, like the regular, straight-edged, and circular shapes can be easily calculated by using arithmetic formulas. 

Volumes of complex shapes can be calculated by using integral calculus only if the formula exists for the shape's boundary. 

1-D s like lines and 2-D shapes, such as squares are allotted zero volume in the three-dimensional space.

Volume of a Solid

The volume of a solid, either regularly or irregularly shaped, can be determined by fluid displacement. 

Where the displacement of liquid is used for calculating the volume of a gas. The combined volume of two substances is always greater than the volume of just one of the substances (liquid or gas). However, sometimes it happens that one substance dissolves in the other, and in these cases, the combined volume is not additive.

Units of Volume List

Volume measures capacity. So the SI unit of volume is a unit for measuring the capacity or the proportions of an object or space. The unit m³ is mostly used to specify the volume of substances or a liquid (fluids). 

However, students must keep in mind that mass and volume are two different physical quantities. While the unit of volume is an interesting topic, so, let’s have a look at what units are used all over the world below in a tabular form:

Unit of Volume in Physics

SI Unit of Volume is: 

Cubic Metre


1 Cubic metre



1 barrel



1 cubic foot



1 cubic decimetre



1 litre



1 gallon (US)



1 pint (US)



1 cubic inch



1 cubic centimetre



Volume in Thermodynamics

In the field of thermodynamics, the volume of a system is a significant extensive parameter for describing the state’s thermodynamic state. 

The specific volume is an intensive property, it is the volume of the system per its unit. 

Volume is a state function and is independent of some thermodynamic properties like pressure and temperature. 

For an ideal gas, the volume is related to the pressure and temperature, as per the ideal gas law.

Volume Units Conversion

Any unit of length gives a derived SI unit of volume, such as the volume of a cube that has sides of a given length in metres. 

A cubic centimetre or cm3 is the volume of a cube whose sides are one centimetre, 1 cm in length.

In the International System of Units or SI, the standard unit of volume is the cubic metre (m3). 

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In the metric system, the unit of volume also includes the litre (L), where one litre is equal to 10-centimetre cube. 

Therefore, 1 litre = (10 cm)3 = 1000 cubic centimetres 

= 0.001 cubic metres,


1 cubic metre is equal to 1000 litres.

Small amounts of liquid are measured in millilitres units, where

1 millilitre = 0.001 litres or 1 cubic centimetre.

In the same way, large amounts are measured in megalitres, i.e.,

1 million litres = 1000 cubic metres or 1 megalitre.

Various traditional units of volume are still in use, including the following units of volume list:

  1. cubic inch, 

  2. the cubic foot, 

  3. the cubic yard, 

  4. the cubic mile, 

  5. the teaspoon, 

  6. the tablespoon, 

  7. the fluid ounce, 

  8. the fluid dram, 

  9. the gill, 

  10. the pint, 

  11. the quart, 

  12. the gallon, 

  13. the minim, 

  14. the barrel, 

  15. the cord, 

  16. the peck, 

  17. the bushel, 

  18. the hogshead,

  19. Drams grills

  20. Bushels

  21.  Pecks

  22. the acre-foot, and 

  23. the board foot

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: What is the Formula of Volume in Physics? Explain Each Quantity Used in the Formula.

Ans: The formula for volume in Physics is given by;

ρ = m/v


ρ - density of the substance measured in the two following units:

  1. kgm⁻³

  2. gcm⁻³

The density of the substance can be considered a similar property to viscosity. So, the more is the viscosity of the fluid, which means more is its density, just like honey, oil, etc.

m - the mass of the substance measured in Kg and grams.

Where a mass is the amount of matter a body contains.

V = Volume is the entire space taken by either of the states of matter in the container they are placed. In the case of gas, a gas takes the shape of the container it is kept in.

Q2: Define the SI-derived Unit.

Ans: In Physics, SI-derived units are units of measurement that are derived from the seven fundamental units adopted by the International System of Units (SI). 

SI-derived can be either dimensionless or can be expressed as a product of one or more of the base units, sometimes they are scaled by an appropriate power of exponentiation.

Q3: Define the Term Mass.

Ans: Mass is an attribute of a physical object and also, a measure of its resistance to acceleration, ie., a change in its state of motion or inertia when a net force is applied. 

The mass of the object also determines the strength of its gravitational attraction with the other mass. In the SI base unit, the unit of mass is the kilogram (kg).