Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from David:

I am trying to do a conversion. A tractor trailer is loaded with 165 cubic
yards of sawdust (I do not know the actual weight). I knw the wholesale
cost as $1,000 for this amount, but would like to convert this to find out
what the equivalent cost for a metric ton would be.

Hi David.

165 cubic yards is a measurement of volume and $1000 is a measurement of money.

You are asking for cost per metric ton which is a measurement of money divided by weight.

So to convert you also need to know the weight per unit volume. We call this the "density" of the sawdust, and this will depend on its size, moisture content and type of wood. My guess is that this varies, since the wholesaler sells it by volume rather than by weight, so in your situation, there is probably no single answer to your question.

If you can learn the typical or average density, then you can solve your question. Multiply the cost ($1000) by the number of cubic yards of sawdust per metric ton (that's the density) and then divide by the volume (165). That will give you the dollars per metric ton.

Stephen La Rocque. >

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