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A POUND OF FEATHERS WEIGHS MORE THAN A POUND OF GOLD



A pound is a pound you say?

Not always. A pound of feathers weighs more than a pound of gold because feathers
are weighed by "avoirdupois" weight which has 16 ounces to a pound, while gold is always weighed by "troy" weight which only contains 12 ounces to a pound.


Back in 1929, this may not have been common knowledge outside of the scientific or jewelry communities. Nowadays you're more likely to find people with a broader-based education who - if they don't know it right off the top of their heads - at least were exposed to it at some point in school and will admit that it makes sense.


A GALLON OF VINEGAR WEIGHS MORE IN THE WINTER THAN IN THE SUMMER

This is puzzling - but a fact nevertheless.

The difference in weight is due entirely to the contraction and expansion of the vinegar due to the changes in temperature. During the heat of the summer months the vinegar, as any other liquid, will expand and thus the weight will be slightly less because a gallon jug will hold less.

A gallon jug of 4 per cent. (Acetic Acid) cider vinegar measured at 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) or summer heat, weighed 8.403 pounds - or 134½ ounces. When the same gallon jug filled with the same vinegar was measured at 40 degrees (Fahrenheit), or winter temperature, it weighed 8.457 pounds - or 135½ ounces. In other words, a gallon of vinegar will weigh approximately one ounce more in the winter than in the summer.


Again, not really puzzing and not really news, at least not today. It would even hold true for water, but as the table of volumetric coefficients of expansion below illustrates, acetic acid expands much more than plain old H2O.

Liquid Volumetric Coefficient of Expansion
(1/K, 1/oC) (1/oF)
Acetic acid 0.00110 0.00061
Acetone 0.00143 0.00079
Alcohol, ethyl (ethanol) 0.00109 0.00061
Alcohol, methyl (methanol) 0.00118 0.00066
Ammonia 0.00245 0.00136
Aniline 0.00085 0.00047
Benzene 0.00125 0.00069
Bromine 0.00110 0.00061
Carbon disulfide 0.00119 0.00066
Carbon tetrachloride 0.00122 0.00068
Chloroform 0.00127 0.00071
Ether 0.00160 0.00089
Ethyl acetate 0.00138 0.00077
Ethylene glycol 0.00057 0.00032
Freon refrigerant R-12 0.0026 0.00144
n-Heptane 0.00124 0.00069
Isobutyl alcohol 0.00094 0.00052
Gasoline 0.00100 0.00056
Glycerine (glycerol) 0.00050 0.00028
Kerosene 0.00100 0.00056
Mercury 0.00018 0.00010
Methyl alcohol 0.00119 0.00066
Methyl iodide 0.0012 0.00067
n-Octane 0.00114 0.00063
Oil (unused engine oil) 0.00070 0.00039
Olive oil 0.00070
Paraffin oil 0.000764 0.00042
Petroleum 0.0010 0.00056
n-Pentane 0.00158 0.00088
Phenol 0.0009 0.00050
Sulphuric acid, concentrated 0.00055 0.00031
Toluene 0.00108 0.00060
Trichloroethylene 0.001170 0.00065
Turpentine 0.001000 0.00056
Water 0.000214 0.00012


As it happens, freon and ammonia have values for β around twice that of acetic acid, but Robert Ripley was a man of the people, and he wrote to entertain Gran'ma and Gran'pa Ripley, coincidentally of the same name, who might be reading his odd tidbits in the local paper in their rattletrap cabin on the Iowa plains... whereas some of the other compounds would be Greek to them, everyone would know what vinegar was. "I'll be blowed if'n that don't take the cake, Pa. Says here in th' paper as vinegar weighs less in th' summer. Never learnt that back in Yaark State, no I didn't." "Sho! Sho' it does," cackled Gran'pa Ripley. "Vinegar is vinegar, any dum fool knows that."

Verdict: Believe it!


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Comments

dhlawrence
Sep. 5th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
Whether the weight is the same or not, I'd rather lift a pound of gold. Far easier to carry!
coyoty
Sep. 6th, 2011 10:33 am (UTC)
And much easier to hide in your pants.
ccdesan
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
Not to mention worth about $24,000...
dhlawrence
Sep. 6th, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
That does help, yes.
deckardcanine
Sep. 6th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
Mooch (as the Shphinx): What weighs more -- a ton of lead or a ton of feathers?
Mouse: Your mother?

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