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Volume V is a derived quantity based on the SI base quantity length [m] and is expressed in terms of SI base units in the derived unit cubic meter [m3]. The liter [L = dm3] is a conventional unit of volume for concentration and is used for most solution chemical kinetics. The volume V contained in a system (experimental chamber) is separated from the environment by the system boundaries; this is called the volume of the system, and described in practical language as big/small (derived from length, height) or voluminous. Systems are defined at constant volume or constant pressure. For a pure sample S, the volume VS of the pure sample equals the volume V of the system, VS = V. For sample s in a mixture, the ratio Vs·V-1 is the nondimensional volume fraction Φs of sample s. Quantities divided by volume are concentrations of sample s in a mixture, such as count concentration CX = NX·V-1 [x·L-1], and amount of substance concentration CB = nB·V-1 [mol·L-1]. Mass concentration is density ρs = ms·V-1 [kg·L-1]. In closed compressible systems (with a gas phase), the concentration of the gas increases, when pressure-volume work is performed on the system.

Abbreviation: V [m3]; 1 m3 = 1000 L

Reference: BEC 2020.1, Gnaiger MitoFit Preprints 2020.4

Communicated by Gnaiger E (2020-05-28) last update 2020-11-25


Conversion table: liter [L], cubic meter [m3], and mass [kg] for a density ρH2O = 1 kg·dm-3. See SI prefixes.
Volume Volume Volume Volume Mass Mass Mass
[L] [L] [m3] [m3] [kg] [g] [g]
1 kL 103 L 1 m3 1 m3 103 kg 106 g 1 Mg
1 L 1 L 10-3 m3 1 dm3 1 kg 103 g 1 kg
1 mL 10-3 L 10-6 m3 1 cm3 10-3 kg 1 g 1 g
1 µL 10-6 L 10-9 m3 1 mm3 10-6 kg 10-3 g 1 mg
1 nL 10-9 L 10-12 m3 10-3 mm3 10-9 kg 10-6 g 1 µg
1 pL 10-12 L 10-15 m3 10-6 mm3 10-12 kg 10-9 g 1 ng
1 fL 10-15 L 10-18 m3 1 µm3 10-15 kg 10-12 g 1 pg
1 aL 10-18 L 10-21 m3 10-3 µm3 10-18 kg 10-15 g 1 fg


Bioblast linkReferenceYear
Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (2019) The International System of Units (SI). 9th edition:117-216. ISBN 978-92-822-2272-02019
Gnaiger E (2020) Mitochondrial pathways and respiratory control. An introduction to OXPHOS analysis. 5th ed. https://doi.org/10.26124/bec:2020-0002BEC 2020.2
Gnaiger E (2021) The elementary unit — canonical reviewer's comments on: Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (2019) The International System of Units (SI) 9th ed. https://doi.org/10.26124/mitofit:200004.v22021-09-06
Gnaiger E et al ― MitoEAGLE Task Group (2020) Mitochondrial physiology. https://doi.org/10.26124/bec:2020-0001.v1BEC 2020.1



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