Mass and Volume

Mass is the amount of ‘stuff’ inside an object; the more stuff there is, the more mass.

Matter is made up of atoms and molecules, and the more of them we have, the greater the mass of an object is. We measure mass in units like kilograms, ounces, and pounds. In science, we prefer kilograms, which are the SI (Standard International) unit of mass. Your bathroom scale is calibrated to tell you your mass, but it only works properly on Earth. If you took it to the moon, the weight on the scale would change, but of course, your mass would not.

Volume is how much space something takes up. The standard unit of volume is meters cubed (or cubic meters). The classic question people ask to show the difference between mass and volume is, Which has the greatest mass, a pound of feathers or a pound of nails? Well, it’s a pound of each, so they both have the same mass. It’s just that a pound of feathers will take up a huge amount of space; it has a greater volume.

QUANTITY SYMBOL UNITS
Mass m g or Kg
Molar Mass M g mol -1
Volume V cm3, dm3
Molar volume Vm dm3 mol -1
Amount n mol
Molar concentration c mol dm-3
Mass concentration p g mol -1
Avogadro’s constant L mol -1
Number N
Molar mass M g mol -1

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