Thursday, September 8, 2011

Measuring Money: Ours

Yesterday I talked a bit about the dimensions of coins - their size, weight, composition, etc. and why that data is important to people who authenticate coins or move them around. We use coins frequently in our Excel Math elementary school curriculum.

Today I'm looking at the same parameters for currency (paper money or banknotes). We in the United States only have one color for our paper money, whereas in many other countries the colors of the bills vary with value. Here's what the smallest US bill looks like, as everyone probably knows:

Our money is green/beige in color, with a little bit of another color on newer bills. We have \$1, \$5, \$10, \$20, \$50 and \$100 bills. They are all the same size, at:
• 166 mm x 56mm (9296 sq mm)
• .11 mm thick
The size of bills is important when you are a TV producer wanting to portray a pay-off in a scene! Here's one TV analyst's opinion on this:
Whenever someone is offering someone else a huge amount of money it will always be in the form of neatly stacked and bound bills in a briefcase or suitcase. When the people offering the cash can't afford enough money, they use stacks of paper with a few dollar bills on top. Ideally, the briefcase should be a Zero Halliburton brand brushed-aluminum model, which is the right size for ten thousand 1,2,5,10,20,50 or 100 dollar bills. Or as much as 1,000,000 dollars.
Coincidentally, I have one of those briefcases. I do not have a million dollars to fill it with, but here's a photo with some bills from the Excel Math petty cash fund. How much do you suppose I have put in there? [click the image for a larger view]

Now one more thing - how much does paper money weigh?

One source I found says a dollar weighs one gram. Or 1/454th of a pound. Or 1/28.375 ounces. Which equals (1.000 ÷ 28.375) just .035 ounces.

Another source says a million \$1 bills weighs about a ton, and a million dollars worth of \$100 bills weighs about 20 lbs. That means an individual \$100 bill (20 x 16 = 320 ounces ÷ 10,000) is about .032 ounces.

It's true that these two figures (.035 and .032) don't match exactly. But that's close enough for today. And we now know a million bucks in that briefcase is not to heavy for us to carry.

You may also like these articles: