Did you know that a grain is a unit of measurement? It’s an archaic form of measuring weight, though it has ties to the troy system, which is used for measuring the weight of precious metals. So, how many grains would it take to add up to a pound?
A grain is the same as 0.065 grams or roughly 1/7,000 of a pound. 1 pound is the same as 7,000 grains.
In this guide, I’ll go over the history of the grain as a unit of measurement and how it’s used today.
History of the Grain
Grains were first used as a form of measuring weight by Mediterranean traders since at least 8th century BC. It describes the weight of a singular cereal seed, such as wheat and barley. Over time, this seemingly random unit of measuring weight was adopted by farmers in the region as a means of calculating how much of a cereal crop they had on hand for trade or eating.
However, grains, in the ancient context, were unreliable at best. Individual cereal grains could absorb moisture or dry out, which would throw traders and farmers’ calculations off considerably. It wasn’t until 1824 with the passing of the Imperial Weights and Measures Act that the grain was finally standardized. The grain was defined as measuring 1/7,000th of a pound or roughly 0.065 grams. Today, the standard still applies, and grains are used almost primarily for their original purpose—to measure the weight of cereal crops.
What Are Grains Used for Today?
Grains are used for numerous applications that require extra-precise measurements that grams or ounces can cover. One common example is calculating the propellent charge of projectile ammo, as well as measuring the weights of bullets and arrows. Jewelers, too, can utilize grains, which is a part of the troy measurement system that is commonly used for measuring precious metals and gemstones.
If you need to calculate something with extreme precision, grains are a good unit of measurement to use. They ensure maximum precision and repeated results with a higher level of consistency than more common weight measurement units.
When Shouldn’t You Use Grains?
As useful as grains can be are measuring with accuracy, they’re not the best unit of measurement for everything.
For instance, a person wouldn’t need to know their weight in grains (197.9 pounds for US men = 1,385,300 grains), nor would you need to know how many grains of water there are in cubic centimeter (1 cc = 1 gram = 15.43 grains). These figures are nice to know, but there would probably be no reason to know them.
How Many Grains of Sand in a Pound?
Although sand is extremely tiny, there are hardly any practical applications that require measuring the granular material with extreme precision. In fact, sand and other common building and gardening materials are usually sold by the yard (27 cubic feet) or ton (2,000 pounds). With all that said, even if you wanted to figure out the number of sand grains per pound, you would first have to identify the type of sand being used.
A typical grain of sand weighs about 50 milligrams (0.00018 ounces or 0.077 grains). Since a pound is the same as 453,592 milligrams, that would mean a pound of sound would equal roughly 9,072 individual grains of sand—assuming all of the grains are equal in size, of course!
How Many Grains of Gravel in a Pound?
Like sand, gravel comes in a wide array of sizes. You would first have to know what size category of gravel you’re talking about before trying to figure out how many grains equals a pound.
Gravel weighs roughly 1.35 grams per cubic centimeter, whereas the size of a single grain is about 3.8 centimeters across. Assuming 4 grains equals 1 cubic centimeter, a single grain would weigh 0.3375 grams.
From there, we can calculate how many pieces of gravel weighs 1 pound by dividing 453.592 grams per pound by 0.3375 grams. Overall, you would need about 1.344 pieces of gravel to equal 1 pound. Since a 50-pound bag of gravel covers 0.5 cubic feet, we can conclude that 1 pound of gravel would be just about enough to cover 0.01 cubic feet.
How Many Grains of Rice in a Pound?
Again, you would first have to identify the type of rice you wish to measure. The planet is home to over 120,000 different varieties of rice, which are divided by the degree of milling, kernel size, starchiness, and flavor, but the most common rice variety consumed in the US is the long-grain white rice.
A single grain of long-grain white rice weighs about 0.016 grams (0.00056 ounces or 0.25 grains). 1 pound is equal to 453.592 grams, so a pound of long-grain white rice would equal just about 28,350 grains. Again, this is assuming that every individual grain of rice is the same size and weight.
How Many Grains of Quinoa in a Pound?
Quinoa is a type of cereal grain that has increased in popularity as of late. This is because quinoa is packed with all sorts of nutrients and antioxidants in a tiny 1-cup serving. Also, you can add quinoa to virtually any dish you want without worrying about how it affects flavor and texture.
A single quinoa seed weighs about 1.4 grams, so in a pound, you would need to collect roughly 323,995 seeds. That might seem like a lot, but volume-wise, we’re looking at around 2.5 cups of quinoa.
How Many Grains of Salt in a Pound?
Salt is an extremely tiny seasoning (0.3 millimeters in diameter). It’s estimated that a pinch of salt is about the same as a grain (1/7,000th of a pound). The precise measurement of a single grain of salt is 0.00005850 grams. So, a pound of salt, assuming we’re looking at fine table salt, would equal 775,370,941 grains.
That sounds like a ridiculous amount, but when you actually realize that 1 pound of salt is the same as 1.6 cups, you’ll understand just how tiny a grain of salt actually is.
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