# Metric Volume

Volume is the amount of 3-dimensional space something takes up.

The two most common measurements of volume are:

**Milliliters****Liters**

A** milliliter** is a very small amount of liquid.

Here is a milliliter of milk in a teaspoon.

It only fills the bottom of the teaspoon!

The word **milliliter** literally means one thousandth ("milli") of a liter. More about liters later!

When we collect 20 drops of water, we have about 1 milliliter:

20 drops of water | make about 1 milliliter |

And a teaspoon can hold about **five** milliliters:

1 teaspoon of liquid | is about 5 milliliters |

Milliliters are often written as **ml** (for short), so "100 ml" means "100 milliliters".

They can also be written **mL** (with a captal L so it doesn't look like "1")

Here we have **150 ml** of milk in a measuring cup.

It doesn't say "150" ... it says "50" ... but it is half-way between 100 and 200 so you can figure out it is 150 ml.

### 1 milliliter (ml) is also 1 cubic centimeter (cc)

In other words 1 milliliter is exactly the same as a little **cube that is 1 cm on each side** (1 cubic centimeter).

How many cubic centimeters can fit in this teaspoon?

The bowl of this teaspoon is about 4 cm long and 2 cm wide.

If it was uniformly full to exactly 1cm high it would contain 8 of those 1cm × 1cm × 1cm cubes, making 8 cc.

But because of its shape it only holds about **5 cc** (or 5 ml).

## Liter

A **liter** is just a bunch of milliliters put all together. In fact, 1000 milliliters makes up 1 liter:

1 liter = 1,000 milliliters

This jug has exactly 1 liter of water in it.

Liters are often written as L (for short), so "3 L" means "3 Liters" (some people use lowercase **l**, but that looks too much like **1**).

Milk, soda and other drinks are often sold in liters.

A cube that is 0.1 meters (10 cm or 100 mm) |

and a square meter that is 1 millimeter thick also contains 1 liter. |

The next time you are at the store take a minute and **look on the labels** to see how many liters (or milliliters) are in each container!

## Other Volume Measurements

You may come across these other volume measurements:

### Cubic Millimeter

A Cubic Millimeter is a **cube that is 1 millimeter on each side**.

It is very small, and we need 1,000 Cubic Millimeters to make just one milliliter.

It is also *one-millionth* of a liter, and *one-billionth* of a cubic meter.

### Cubic Centimeter (cc)

A Cubic Centimeter (abbreviated cc or cm^{3}) is a **cube that is 1 centimeter on each side**.

**It is the same as 1 milliliter** (1 ml):

1 cc = 1 ml

So it is *one-thousandth* of a liter, or *one-millionth* of a cubic meter.

### Deciliter (dl)

A deciliter (abbreviated dl) is 1/10th of a liter, or 100ml:

1 dl = 100 ml

### Cubic Meter (m^{3})

The basic unit of volume is a **cube that is 1 meter on each side**.

The Unit is written m^{3} (cubic meters).

It is **equal to 1,000 liters**.

1 m^{3} = 1,000 Liters

### Megaliters (ML)

A **Megaliter **is a million liters (1,000,000 L). Useful for measuring large quantities of water, such as in dams and small lakes.

1 ML = 1,000 m^{3} = 1,000,000 Liters

### Cubic Kilometer (km^{3})

A Cubic Kilometer (abbreviated km^{3}) is a **cube that is 1 kilometer on each side**. It is very large!

It is equal to **1,000,000,000 cubic meters** (1 billion m^{3}) or 1,000,000,000,000 liters (1 trillion L).

Useful for measuring large lakes, seas and oceans.

Lake Baikal, the largest continental lake in the world, contains 23,600 km^{3} of water.

The Pacific Ocean contains 700,000,000 km^{3} of water.

## More Examples

A **liter** (L) is:

- a bit more than a quart (US measure)
- about the quantity in a sports drink bottle
- very close to the volume of a kilogram of water

A **milliliter** (ml) is

- about the size of a grape
- a fifth of a teaspoon
- exactly one cubic centimeter (1 cc)

*A "handful" (not an exact measure!) is about 40 ml*

*A cup is 250 ml, so 4 cups make a liter*