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Aug 17, 2007 10:49 AM

What are your measurements?

Has anyone else ever noticed that there it's not unusual for different measuring cups or measuring utensils to hold different actual amounts for what they call "one cup"?

When I put "one cup" of water into my pyrex measuring cup, then pour it into one of my nice metal measuring cups, I have some water left over! And when I pour "one cup" of water from either the metal measuring cup or the pyrex utensil into a chem lab glass flask that I have, it's different in the flask (as indicated on the measuring lines on the side of the flask).

A friend who's a chem professor told me that my flask is not a "volumetric" flask, even tho it looks like it came out of a chem lab.

This really irritates me. How hard, or how expensive, can it be for a manufacturer of a simple device like on of these, to get it right????

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  1. I've been told that the glass measuring cups are for liquid volume and the metal ones are for dry measures. Apparently they are different.

    Here's a link that explains that:

    1. as above:

      um...liquid and dry measurements are different...

      1. As the previous posters mentioned, yes, liquid and dry measurements are different. As for your flask, what you have is probably an Erlenmeyer flask--it has a narrow, short neck that flares out to a wide base--essentially a triangle shape. A volumetric flask is used in analytical chemistry, as well as other sciences, and has a long, narrow neck with a round, bulbous end. Volumetric flasks are very precise and accurate for measuring specific volumes of a liquid, but they are used only for measuring. An Erlenmeyer flask can be used for measuring (slightly less precise but still accurate) as well as mixing substances together. Also, if your flask has cup measurements on it, it definitely did not come out of a chem lab--laboratory glassware has measurements in milliliters.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mineral

          I used "cup" in the generic sense. Yes, my flask looks as you described, and it's marked only in mL.

          1. re: Howard_2

            When I was in Foods and Nutrition Classes in college we were instructed in the difference in dry measuring cups (metal, plastic etc) and liquid, glass like pyrex. The prof talked about measuring liquids and to allow for the miniscus (sp? it has been awhile) that to be sure your measure ment in glass is accurate you just cannot eyeball it from the top and say okay that's a cup. You really need to get eye level with the glass measure and make sure it is at the line exactly. The liquid tends to dip a bit in the middle making the cup look a bit fuller.

            Okay, I just got out 2 well respected dry measureing cups, Foley and Amco. I took a 1 C. pyrex liquid measuring cup and added water and checked my measurment as I was instructed. Each time the water filled the metal cups exactly to the brim.

            1. re: Candy

              Candy, Have you trued the OXO liquid measuring cups? They have a graduated ring that allows you to measure accurately while looking at them from above. I still have a my large 4 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup, but this is much easier and faster to measure liquids accurately


              1. re: Kelli2006

                I'm so used to these and have used them for so long I'm not going to convert now. But, it is a good suggestion and I have seen them, but you know the saying about old dogs and new tricks.