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Q & A: Lots of sugar crystals in a pound

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Most recent answer: 01/09/2013
Q:
How many crystals in a pound of sugar?
- Johan
Potchefstroom, RSA
A:
The answer is a whole lot.   You can't pin it down exactly because of the variation in size and density of the individual crystals as well as the type of sugar.  For example powdered sugar has many more, brown sugar has less. One can make an estimate but you must put in assumptions.
Ordinary table sugar has a crystal size of about one millimeter size but ranging from .8 to 1.2 mm.  So lets take 1 mm.  The density ranges from 0.6 to 0.8 grams per cubic centimeter so lets take 0.7 as an average.   One pound is about 454 grams.  The volume of one pound is equal to V = weight / density = 454 / 0.7 = 649 cubic centimeters.  The volume of one crystal is 1 millimeter cubed or 0.001 cubic centimeter.  So the number of crystals is 649 cm^3 / .001  =  649,000  .  Like I said, a whole bunch but take that answer with a grain of salt.

LeeH

(published on 11/14/2007)

Follow-Up #1: volume of a pound crystal of sugar

Q:
What would be the volume of a single sugar crystal weighing 1 pound?
- Linus (age 25)
UK
A:
According to Wikipedia, the density of crystalline sugar is 1.587 gm/cm3.
So you can figure out the volume of 453.6 gm. It'll obviously be a lot less than a pound of little sugar crystals, which have air in between them.

Mike W.

(published on 01/09/2013)

Follow-up on this answer.