List of Topics

SfC Home > Science Projects and Experiments >


Key words: Physics Experiment, Fluids, measure volume, irregularly shaped object, liquids, gases, density, pressure, depth, Ron Kurtus, School for Champions. Copyright © Restrictions

Fluids Experiment: Measure Volume of Irregularly Shaped Object

by Ron Kurtus (revised 3 May 2007)

Volume is the space an object takes up. You can easily measure the volume of a rectangular object by measuring the lengths of the sides.

The volume (V) of a box is its length (L) times width (W) times height (H) or V = L*W* H.

But suppose you had an object that had an irregular shape. How would you measure its volume? One way would be to immerse the object in a full container of water and measuring the volume of the replaced water.

Measuring the volume of irregularly shaped objects by immersion can be an idea for a science project in the area of physical science or physics. The biggest problem is in verifying that your results are correct. You could establish an empirical rule using known volumes before using the method on unknown volumes.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Purpose of experiment

The purpose of the experiment is to first verify the method of determining the volume of small objects by measuring the volume of spill-off water after immersion of the object.

Then this method can be used to measure the volume of irregularly shaped objects.


Do some research the basic principles of fluids, as well as other experiments using this method to measure the volume of objects.

Use the law that an object displaces its volume in water to determine the volume of the object.


You know that water takes the shape of its container. You also know that if you put an object in a full bucket of water, the excess water will spill out the bucket.

Now, if you put a can or bottle full of water into the bucket, the amount that spills out will be almost the same as the amount of liquid in the bottle (less the thickness of the bottle).

You can try putting a sealed soft drink bottle full of water into a bucket full of water. Collect the water that flows over the top of the bucket. Pour that water into a second soft drink bottle of the same size. The amount of water should be just about the same.

Therefore, if you put any object in a full container of water, the amount that spills out will be the same as the volume of the object.



  1. Full the bucket with water up to its brim.
  2. Place the bucket in the pan.
  3. Carefully place object in water.
  4. Collect water that overflows into the pan.
  5. Measure the volume of overflow water.


This experiment shows an application of the principle that objects displace their volume in a liquid.


You can demonstrate how to measure the volume of an irregularly shaped obejct by measuring overflow runoff.

Try something clever

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Experiments Resources


Top-rated books on Science Fair Projects

Top-rated books on Physics

Questions and comments

Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


Click on a button to bookmark or share this page through Twitter, Facebook, email, or other services:


Students and researchers

The Web address of this page is:

Please include it as a reference in your report, document, or thesis.

Where are you now?

School for Champions

Experiment topics

Fluids Experiment: Measure Volume of Irregularly Shaped Object

Science Projects and Experiments

Project preparation






Static Electricity


States of Matter

Also see

Let's make the world a better place

Be the best that you can be.

Use your knowledge and skills to help others succeed.

Don't be wasteful; protect our environment.

You CAN influence the world.

Live Your Life as a Champion:

Take care of your health

Seek knowledge and gain skills

Do excellent work

Be valuable to others

Have utmost character

Be a Champion!

The School for Champions helps you become the type of person who can be called a Champion.