Volume of a Sphere

In this tutorial, we'll learn how to find the surface area of a sphere. And given how common spheres are in the world around us, all of us have some intuitive understanding of what a sphere is.

A Sphere

So, a sphere is a three-dimensional shape formed by the set of all points in space that are within a fixed distance (radius, usually denoted by r\hspace{0.2em} r \hspace{0.2em}) from a certain fixed point (center, O\hspace{0.2em} O \hspace{0.2em}).

Volume of a Sphere

As with any solid object, the volume of a sphere is a measure of the space it occupies.

Formula for Volume of a Sphere

Sphere - Dimensions

For a sphere with a radius r\hspace{0.2em} r \hspace{0.2em}, the volume is given by

V=43πr3V = \frac{4}{3} \pi r^3
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Derivation of the Formula

The great Greek polymath, Archimedes, proved that the volume of a sphere is two-thirds the volume of a cylinder with the same radius and height.#

Volume of a Sphere - Derivation


Vsphere=23Vcylinder(1)V_{sphere} = \frac{2}{3}V_{cylinder} \hspace{0.25cm} \rule[0.1cm]{1cm}{0.1em} \hspace{0.15cm} (1)

So let’s consider a sphere of radius r\hspace{0.2em} r \hspace{0.2em}. Its height would be the same as its diameter – 2r\hspace{0.2em} 2r \hspace{0.2em}.

Now, the formula for the volume of a cylinder with a radius r\hspace{0.2em} r \hspace{0.2em} and height h\hspace{0.2em} h \hspace{0.2em} is –

Vcylinder=πr2hV_{cylinder} = \pi r^2 h

Substituting h=2r\hspace{0.2em} h= 2r \hspace{0.2em} gives us

Vcylinder=πr22rVcylinder=2πr3(2)\begin{align*} V_{cylinder} &= \pi \cdot r^2 \cdot 2r \\[1em] V_{cylinder} &= 2 \pi r^3 \hspace{0.25cm} \rule[0.1cm]{1cm}{0.1em} \hspace{0.15cm} (2) \end{align*}

From (1)\hspace{0.2em} (1) \hspace{0.2em} and (2)\hspace{0.2em} (2) \hspace{0.2em}, we get the volume of the sphere.

Vsphere=232πr3=43πr3\begin{align*} V_{sphere} &= \frac{2}{3} \cdot 2 \pi r^3 \\[1.3em] &= \frac{4}{3} \pi r^3 \end{align*}

How to Find the Volume of a Sphere – Examples

So far so good. Now let's use what we have learned so far and solve a couple of examples.


Find the volume of a sphere with a radius of 6\hspace{0.2em} 6 \hspace{0.2em} cm.


The question tells us the radius is 6\hspace{0.2em} 6 \hspace{0.2em} cm. Substituting this value in the formula for the volume of a sphere, we get -

V=43πr3=43π63904.78\begin{align*} V &= \frac{4}{3} \pi r^3 \\[1.3em] &= \frac{4}{3} \pi \cdot 6^3 \\[1.3em] &\approx 904.78 \end{align*}

So the volume of the sphere is 904.78\hspace{0.2em} 904.78 \hspace{0.2em} cubic centimeters (cm3)\hspace{0.2em} (\text{cm}^3) \hspace{0.2em}.


The volume of a sphere is 36π\hspace{0.2em} 36π \hspace{0.2em}. Find its diameter.


We have,

V=43πr3V = \frac{4}{3} \pi r^3

Substituting the value of V\hspace{0.2em} V \hspace{0.2em} in the formula and solving for r\hspace{0.2em} r \hspace{0.2em}, we get

36π=43πr3r=3\begin{align*} 36 \pi &= \frac{4}{3} \pi r^3 \\[1.3em] r &= 3 \end{align*}

But the question asks us to find the diameter, so there's one last step.

d=2r=6\begin{align*} d &= 2r \\[1em] &= 6 \end{align*}

And that brings us to the end of this tutorial on the volume of a sphere. Until next time.


# In fact, Archimedes proved that the sum of the volumes of a cone and a sphere was equal to the volume of a cylinder – each on the same base and with the same height. And that their volumes were in the ratio of 1:2:3\hspace{0.2em} 1:2:3.

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