Saturday, 11 June 2011

It’s a tumble dryer!

What kind of container has its capacity measured in kilograms? The answer lies in the advertising leaflet from an electrical goods store that I have been browsing.

The ‘super hot summer savings instore now’ include a White Knight condenser tumble dryer, 77 AW, 2 heat settings, full size, with a final cool-down tumble, and, I read: a 7-kg capacity!

The word capacity means ‘how much something will hold’, so the electrical goods supplier is telling us that this appliance will hold up to 7 kg of, presumably, wet washing.

But it is a little odd to call this the capacity – especially since the mass of the load of washing will be less than 7 kg once the drying process is complete, but the size of the appliance (and therefore its capacity) will not have changed. And you could surely get much more than 7 kg of washing in the machine if you crammed in particularly heavy things like wet bath towels. OK, so you may not be able to get the machine to dry 10 kg of wet towels, but I bet you could cram them in!

The washing machines on the same leaflet are not described in terms of their capacity, but their ‘wash load’. If a washing machine has a 7-kg wash load, then to be consistent surely a tumble dryer should have a 7-kg ‘drying load’.

On balance, I think I’d like to limit the use of the word capacity in the context of containers to units of volume, not units of mass. Litres, please, or cubic units, but not kilograms.


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  2. Awesome article, i've been searching answers for this question for a long time. this article was also helpful