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How to Tell Stainless Steel from Aluminum

This is part two of a three part tip.  Click here to start with part one.

Start this test, the most scientific of the tips on this topic, by placing the bowl or other item in an empty, clean bucket.  Fill the bucket with water until it just covers the bowl.  Now mark the height of the water on the side of the bucket. 

Once that's done, carefully remove the bowl or other item from the bucket.  Make certain that all of the water stays inside the bucket, including what was in the potential mold.  You want to remove the bowl or other item and leave as much water as possible in the bucket.

Once that's done, set the potential mold aside. Now measure the amount of water it takes to fill the bucket up to the previously marked line.  Use a measuring cup or similar item so that you can get an accurate measurement in ounces.

Now comes the hard part:  high school math!  Actually, it's only multiplication, so it may be elementary school math.

1.  Multiply the number of ounces of water times 0.554.  This will give you the number of cubic inches of water required to fill the bucket.  (Example:  if it took 10 ounces of water, 10 times 0.554 = 5.54 cubic inches.)

2.  Multiply the answer to item one by 0.1.  This will give you the number of pounds an aluminum item should weigh.  (Example:  5.54 cubic inches times 0.1 = .554 pounds.)

3.  Multiply the answer to item one by 0.3.  This will give you the number of pounds a stainless steel item should weigh.  (Example:  5.54 cubic inches times 0.3 = 1.66 pounds.)

4.  Weigh the potential mold and compare the weight to the answers in items two and three.  (Example:  just over  half a pound, it's aluminum; just over a pound and a half, it's stainless steel.)

That's all there is to it.

Please note:  if you want to use metric units (kilograms, liters, etc.) instead of imperial units, the math is actually a bit easier.  Click here to see the difference.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

Tips on this topic adapted from Warm Glass bulletin board posts by Tony Smith, Jim Richards, and others.

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