Sunday, February 10, 2013

How Many Gallons of Water Did You Shovel?

My answer to Mike Sirowich's (Physics Teacher Extraordinaire at SHS) Physics Tweet from 2/9/13 (SHScatphysics) regarding how many gallons of water did you shovel came out to be 6355 gallons.  The solution takes in many assumptions of course.  On average a little over 2 feet of snow fell in our driveway.  Also, I have an irregular shaped driveway that is 190 ft long and varying widths.

The approximate dimensions that I removed was as follows:
130 x 7.5 = 975 ft2  
28 x 60. = 1680 ft2
       The total area = 2655 ft2  

Now to add the third dimension and the most varied assumption, the snow to water conversion.  Online I found two common conversions: 1 inch water to 10 inches of snow and the more common  1 inch water to 6.25 inches of snow.  It really depends on the type of snow that falls.  My son's experiments came up with 1 inch of water to 5 inches of snow which is more inline with the 1 to 6.25 conversion so I will use that as the conversion factor.

1) Convert snow to water: 24 in of snow/6.25 = 3.84 in of water
2) Convert inches of water to feet: 3.84 in of water/12 = 0.32 ft of water

            3) Calculate volume:  2655 x 0.32 = 849.6 ft3

Finally convert the volume from cubic feet to gallons (1 cubic foot = 7.48 gal):

849.6 ft3 x 7.48 gal = 6355 gallons of water

In science (as well as the rest of the world) we use the Metric System so (1 gal = 3.78 L):  
24,022 L


  1. 6355 gallons of water x 8.34 pounds per gallon=53,000lb or 26.5 tons. So you moved 26.5 tons of water.

    In metric, 24,022 kg, as a liter equals a kg.