How to Calculate the Thickness of Aluminum Foil

••• PepeBaeza/iStock/GettyImages

Aluminum foil, an everyday item used to keep food safe in the kitchen, is possibly the thinnest material in your home. Manufacturers of aluminum foil often provide the width and length of the foil roll on the package, but the thickness of the foil is often not advertised or displayed. Instead, it's common to see labels like "standard duty," "heavy duty" and "extra heavy duty" to describe foil thickness. It is difficult, but not impossible, to measure the thickness of such a thin material, and impossible to do with common measuring tools, like a ruler or a measuring tape.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Measure the thickness of aluminum foil with a precision measuring tool called a micrometer, but if you don't have access to a micrometer, you can use another, indirect means of measurement. This involves one or more mathematical formulas. The values needed to measure the thickness of aluminum foil are the length, width and weight of the sample and the known density of aluminum, which is 2.7 g/cm3.

Things You'll Need

  • Aluminum foil
  • Ruler in centimeters
  • Milligram balance
  • Sheet of paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • Calculator

    Use a ruler to measure the length and width of the aluminum foil in centimeters. Crumple the piece of foil into a small ball or fold it into a small shape and place it on a milligram balance to find the weight. Records the values on a sheet of paper or data table.

    Remind yourself of the relationships:

    \text{density}=\frac{\text{mass}}{\text{volume}}\\ \text{ }\\\text{volume}=\text{length}\times\text{width}\times\text{height}

    When working out the thickness of aluminum foil, you are simply working out its height dimension. This simple formula allows you to measure the thickness of aluminum foil.

    Use the formula:

    \text{thickness} = \frac{\text{mass}}{\text{length}\times\text{width}\times\text{density}}

    The density of aluminum is 2.7 g/cm3. So if you have a piece of aluminum foil that is 15 cm long and 20 cm wide and weighs 1.8 g, the calculation is:

    \text{thickness} = \frac{1.8}{15\times 20\times 2.7}=0.00222\text{ cm}=2.22\times 10^{-3}\text{ cm}

    Convert the thickness into inches if you desire to by multiplying the answer in cm by 0.39370, because 1 cm is equivalent to 0.39370 inches. In the example above, you would work out:

    0.00222\text{ cm}\times \frac{0.39370\text{ in}}{1\text{ cm}}=0.000874\text{ in} = 8.74\times 10^{-4}\text{ in}

Related Articles

How to Calculate the Weight of a Brick
How to Calculate Volume of a Rectangular Prism
HDPE Vs. LDPE
How to Calculate the Density of Plastic
How to Calculate Steel Gauge to Inches
A Comparison of Steel Beams & Microlam Beams
How to Convert Microns to Gauge Thickness
How to Find the Volume of a Piece of Paper
How to Calculate Weight of Plastic
How Are Whiteboards Made?
How to Make a Capacitor
How to Determine Square Feet Area
Types of Plastic Bags
How to Convert Cubic Meters to Ton
302 Vs. 304 Stainless Steel
How to Measure Wood Density
How to Calculate Weight Per Linear Foot
How to Calculate the Dimensions of a Carton
What Is ARCAP Alloy?