The volume of an object is the measure of the amount of space it takes up.
The volumes and surface areas of certain simple objects such as cubes and prisms can be calculated using formulae.
The surface area of an object is the total area of the outside surfaces of the object.
Units
The units used for measuring volumes depends on the units used for measuring the lengths of the sides of the object.
A cubic metre is the area occupied by a cube with each side 1 metre long. It is written as 1 m^{3}.
Common units for volume are:
Unit 
Symbol 
Units for measuring: 
cubic centimetres 
cm^{3} 
Small objects such as a shoe box 
cubic metres 
m^{3} 
Size of a shipping container 
cubic kilometres 
km^{3} 
Amount of ash thrown out in a large volcanic eruption

A commonly used unit for measuring the volume or capacity of liquids is the litre.
1 litre is equivalent to the volume of a cube of side 10 cm.
1 litre = 10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm = 1000 cm^{3}
Converting between units
To convert between units of volume is sometimes confusing. A diagram often helps.
e.g.
into cm^{3.} 

From the diagram
1 m3 = 100 × 100 × 100cm^{3} = 1 000 000 cm3

Volume and surface area formulae of Prisms
All of the shapes below are called prisms.
A prism is an object with a regular cross section (shaded in the diagrams below).
Volume of a prism = area of cross section × length
(This formula is sometimes given as Volume of prism = area of base × height)
.
Solid

Name

Volume

Surface Area (sum of areas of all faces)


Cube

V = l × l × l
= l^{3}

S = 2l^{2}+ 2l^{2}+ 2l^{2}
= 6l^{2}


Cuboid or
Rectangular
Prism

V = (shaded area) × l = (b × h) × l = bhl

S = 2bh + 2hl + 2bl


Triangular
Prism

V = ( shaded area ) × l
= ( ^{1}⁄_{2} × b × h ) × l

S = bl + al + cl + bh


Cylinder 
V = ( shaded area ) × h
= ( πr^{2} ) × h
= πr^{2}h 
S = 2πr^{2} + 2πrh
= 2πr( r + h )

Volume of Other Solids.
The volumes of composite solids can be found by breaking the solid up into smaller solids usch as cubes, cuboids and cylinders.
If the solid is an irregular shape, other methods such as finding how much water it displaces when put into water have to be used!
Try this useful activity on the volume and surface area of cuboids and triangular prisms
