Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Kelly:

We are trying to figure out how many jelly beans it will take to fill a cylinder that is 10 feet tall and has a diameter of 6"?

also, if it can be coverted to ounces and then pounds so we know how much to order.

Thank you, Kelly

Hi Kelly.

This is not a straightforward problem. The answer depends on the size and shape of the jellybean and how they are packed into the cylinder.

Statistically, one should be able to expect that the number of jellybeans that fit into a 6 inch diameter, 6 inch tall cylinder will be 1/20th the number that fit into the cylinder 10 ft tall.

The weight of the jellybeans will depend on the ingredients. Again, it would make sense to just weight the 6 by 6 cylinder and multiply by 20.

I suggest you buy a big bag of the jellybeans and fill a cylinder 6 by 6. Then weigh this heap of beans and count them. Multiply by 20 and you will be close to what you need, assuming the bottom jellybeans don't crush from the weight above them (which would mean you'd need more jellybeans).

Stephen La Rocque

PS: Any leftovers you can send to me! :)

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