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SI Units - Volume

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Volume is the measure of the 3-dimensional space occupied by matter, or enclosed by a surface, measured in cubic units. The SI unit of volume is the cubic meter (m3), which is a derived unit.

• Liter (L) is a special name for the cubic decimeter (dm3). The symbol for the liter is uppercase letter “ell” (L) is preferred to avoid the risk of confusion between the lowercase letter “ell” (l) and the number one (1). The script letter l (l) is not an approved symbol for the liter.
• Milliliter (mL) is a special name for the cubic centimeter (cm3).

Common Units of Volume

1000 cubic millimeters (mm3)

= 1 cubic centimeter (cm3)

1 cm3

= 1 milliliter (mL)

10 mL

= 1 centiliter (cL)

10 cL

= 1 deciliter (dL)

1 dL

= 100 milliliters (mL)

1000 cm3

= 1 cubic decimeter (dm3)

1 dm3

= 1 liter (L)

10 dL

= 1 L

1000 mL

= 1 L

10 L

= 1 dekaliter (daL)

10 daL

= 1 hectoliter (hL)

1 hL

= 100 L

1000 dm3

= 1 cubic meter (m3)

1000 L

= 1 m3

1000 L

= 1 kL

1 kL

= 10 hL

Visualize one cubic decimeter (dm3) or one liter (1 L) as a cube where each side is:

• 100 mm;
• 10 cm;
• 1 dm; or
• 0.1 m.

Visualize one liter (1 L) as:

• 1 m2 area that 1 mm deep

Everyday Volumes

15 mL

Eye Drop Bottle

80 mL

Empty Human Stomach

200 mL

Juice Box

355 mL

Soda Pop Can

4L

Full Human Stomach

5 L

Blood in Human Body

235 L

Bathtub

1 ML

Olympic Swimming Pool

Bodies of Water Continent Volume of Water (estimated)
Caspian Sea Asia 78 700 km3
Lake Baikal Asia 23 600 km3
Lake Superior North America 12 100 km3
Lake Michigan North America 4 920 km3
Lake Huron North America 3 540 km3
Lake Victoria Africa 2 700 km3
Lake Ontario North America 1 700 km3
Lake Lodoga Europe 908 km3
Lake Erie North America 484 km3
Lake Maracaibo South America 280 km3
Lake Tahoe North America 151 km3
Lake Mead North America 35 km3

Navigate to more SI base unit information:

Created August 1, 2011, Updated April 13, 2022