Density of olive oil and other types of vegetable oils

Density of olive oil and other types of vegetable oils

Oil is a fatty substance of vegetable, mineral, or animal origin. It is generally in a liquid state and is insoluble in water. Some oils are edible, and others are used as motor lubricants or fuel.

Oil density is a value that can vary due to many factors, such as temperature, pressure, or molecular composition. However, we can establish that the density of vegetable oil is between 0.96 and 0.80 kg/liter.

In any case, the density of oil is always less than the density of water, which is what makes oil float.

What is oil?

Oils are smooth fluids at room temperature and do not mix with water.

They can be extracted from plants, as is the case with vegetable oils and animal fats, and then they are subjected to a centrifugal process. Motor oils are extracted from geological deposits as petroleum derivatives.

Many oils of animal or vegetable origin, such as extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), are edible. However, the oils may not be suitable for consumption if these vegetable fats are subjected to specific physical or chemical treatments or overheated.

Definition of the olive oil density

Density is a measure of mass per unit volume.

According to the international system of units, density is measured in g/m3. However, when it comes to the density of the oil, it is more common to use the units kg/liter.

It is customary for the density of oil to be represented as a relative density to that of water. The value is very similar in these cases and is presented without units.

What is the density of extra virgin olive oil?

According to the international system adopted by the UN, olive oil weighs 0.916 kg per liter.

Density is essential in analyzing the purity of olive oil. According to it, the denser it is, the higher the concentration of pure oil.

Table of densities of vegetable oils

Oil density is measured on a scale called API (American Petroleum Institute Rating Index). This scale goes from 0 to 100, with a higher number indicating a thicker oil. Oils with a lower API are considered light, while oils with a higher API are considered heavy.

Below we show a small table of densities of some vegetable oils:

Variety of oil

Relative density to water

Sunflower oil

0.918 – 0.923

Extra virgin olive oil

0.913 – 0.916

Palm oil

0.891 – 0.899

Corn oil

0.917 – 0.925

rapeseed oil

0.910 – 0.920

What are the factors that affect the density of oil?

The density of the oil varies according to various factors, such as:

  • Oil type: the molecular composition changes its properties.

  • Temperature: olive oil expands with the increase in temperature. As a result, its density  decreases.

  • Pressure: oil density increases when under high pressure.

How to find the density of olive oil?

Therefore, to determine the density of the oil, we only need to fill a container of known volume with oil and divide the weight of the oil by the volume of the container.

It must be taken into account that to measure density, the process must be carried out at an intermediate temperature of between 16 and 17 degrees Celsius, according to the international system.

From a legal point of view, the liter/kg conversion parameter of olive oil uses the value of the EVOO density: 0.916 kg/liter.

Publication Date: February 16, 2023
Last Revision: February 16, 2023