How to Convert Metric Tons to Cubic Meters

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Tons and cubic meters do not denote the same physical property -- metric tons measure mass, while cubic meters measure volume. However, you can determine the amount of space a ton of a specific material fills by using the mass per volume of the substance, known as the density.

  • Look up the density or specific gravity of the substance in a table (see Resources). Convert specific gravity to density; specific gravity is equal to density in grams per cubic centimeter.

  • Convert the density to kilograms per cubic meter. Multiply by 1,000 to convert grams per cubic centimeter to kilograms per cubic meter. For example, the density of gold is 19.3 g/cm^3 x 1,000 = 19,300 kg/m^3.

  • Convert the mass from metric tons to kilograms. There are 1,000 kg in a metric ton.

  • Divide the mass in kilograms by the density in kilograms per cubic meter to obtain the volume in cubic meters. For one ton of gold, the calculation is 1,000 kg/(19,300 kg/m^3) = 0.05 cubic meters.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you are working with metric tons -- there are three different measurements called "tons." One metric ton equals 0.98 long tons or 1.1 short tons.

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