2.1: Measuring Matter (2023)

  1. Last updated
  2. Save as PDF
  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}}}\) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Learning Objectives
    • Connect basic glassware and equipment with metric units.
    • Provide SI units for mass, temperature, and length.
    • Practice scientific notation and calculator skills (entering powers of ten).

    A variety of instruments are available for making direct measurements of the macroscopic properties of a chemical substance. For example, we usually measure the volume of a liquid sample with pipettes, burets, graduated cylinders, and volumetric flasks (Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)), whereas we usually measure the mass of a solid or liquid substance with a balance (Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\)).

    Instruments that Measure Volume

    Many academic scientists report their volume measurements with the milliliter unit. On the other hand, analytical chemists tend to work with much smaller volumes, and they would use nanoliter and microliter samples in their laboratory. When considering the industrial realm, scientists work with larger volumes and would thus employ the liter unit of measurement.

    2.1: Measuring Matter (2)

    Instruments that Measure Mass

    Balances are utilized to measure the mass of matter. Typically, high school and middle schools will use triple beam balances for laboratory activities. Colleges will rely on digital balances. For larger quantities of materials, top-loading digital balances areemployed. For higher sensitivity and accuracy, some chemists use analytical balances.

    2.1: Measuring Matter (3)

    In the academic laboratory (like Furman University's), a chemist will commonly use the gram, or the even smaller unit, the milligram. Industrial chemists making larger quantities of material would work with kilograms of materials. Analytical chemists (industrial or academic), environmental scientists, and toxicologists are typically more concerned with the smaller units of the metric system. For example, many chemicals found in drinking water and air are regulated in concentrations like nanograms and or micrograms.

    (Video) Help with Lesson 2.1.2 Measuring Matter

    Tools that Measure Length

    Length is measured using a metric stick or a metric ruler marked in millimeters and centimeters. Most devices used to measurelength (in the United States) contain both English and metric markings.

    2.1: Measuring Matter (4) 2.1: Measuring Matter (5)

    SI Units

    All reported measurements must include an appropriate unit of measurement. To say that a substance has “a mass of 10” does not tell whether the mass was measured in grams, pounds, tons, or some other unit. For example, a nurse giving morphine to a patient needs to be specific in the unit dosages. A volume of liters would kill a patient quickly while a milliliter amount would provide sufficient pain relief. To establish worldwide standards for the consistent measurement of significant physical and chemical properties, an international body called the General Conference on Weights and Measures devised the Système Internationale d’unités (or SI). The International System of Units is based on metric units and requires that measurements be expressed in decimal form. Table \(\PageIndex{1}\) lists the seven base units of the SI system; all other SI units of measurement are derived from them.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): SI Units
    Base Quantity Unit Name Abbreviation
    mass kilogram kg
    length meter m
    time second s
    temperature Kelvin K
    amount of substance mole mol
    intensity of light candela cd

    The Metric System

    Table \(\PageIndex{2}\): Prefixes Used with metric bases of meter, liter, and gram
    Prefix Symbol Value Power of 10 Meaning
    tera T 1,000,000,000,000 1012 trillion
    giga G 1,000,000,000 109 billion
    mega M 1,000,000 106 million
    kilo k 1000 103 thousand
    hecto h 100 102 hundred
    deca da 10 101 ten
    1 (this is base unit which could be gram, liter, or meter) 100 one
    deci d 0.1 10−1 tenth
    centi c 0.01 10−2 hundredth
    milli m 0.001 10−3 thousandth
    micro μ (medical community uses mcg) 0.000001 10−6 millionth
    nano n 0.000000001 10−9 billionth
    pico p 0.000000000001 10−12 trillionth
    femto f 0.000000000000001 10−15 quadrillionth
    2.1: Measuring Matter (6)

    Two methods of Memorization for the Metric System

    Using negative exponents (see above) is the traditional way to memorize the metric system. Many students who have been taught outside of the United States approach the metric system this way. For their conversion factors, students who have been taught the metric system in the United States tend to use positive exponents. Either method is fine, pick one method and use it consistently.

    (Video) STC 2.1: Measuring the Mass and Volume of Water

    Two different ways to memorize the metric systems (be sure to know all bolded conversion factors listed in section 2.1 of this OER)

    • 1 gigabase = 1 x109 base
    • 1 megabase = 1x106 base
    • 1 kilobase = 1x103base
    • 1 decibase = 1x10-1base or 1x101 decibase = 1 base
    • 1 centibase = 1x10-2base or 1x102 centibase = 1 base
    • 1 millibase = 1x10-3base or 1x103 millibase = 1 base
    • 1 microbase = 1x10-6base or 1x106 microbase = 1 base
    • 1 nanobase = 1x10-9base or 1x109 nanobase = 1 base
    • 1 picobase = 1x10-12 base or 1x1012 picobase = 1 base

    Note: A base unit can be gram, liter, or meter

    Additional Units

    When traveling to different regions of the globe, it is helpful to be able to convert from English to Metric units. Please be sure to commit the bolded conversions below to memory.

    Unit Conversion
    2.21 pounds = 1.00 kilograms
    1 mile = 1.61 kilometers
    1.00 inch = 2.54 centimeters
    1.00 mL = 1.00 cc (cubic centimeters) = 1.00 cm3
    1 teaspoon (tsp) = 5.00 mL
    12 in = 1.00 ft.
    16 oz. = 1.00 pounds

    Scientific Notation

    Chemists often work with numbers that are exceedingly large or small. For example, entering the mass in grams of a hydrogen atom into a calculator requires a display with at least 24 decimal places. A system called scientific notation avoids much of the tedium and awkwardness of manipulating numbers with large or small magnitudes. In scientific notation, these numbers are expressed in the form

    \[ N \times 10^n\]

    where N is greater than or equal to 1 and less than 10 (1 ≤ N < 10), and n is a positive or negative integer (100 = 1). The number 10 is called the base because it is this number that is raised to the power n. Although a base number may have values other than 10, the base number in scientific notation is always 10.

    (Video) Escape Velocity with Lacy Hunt

    A simple way to convert numbers to scientific notation is to move the decimal point as many places to the left or right as needed to give a number between 1 to 10 (N). The magnitude of n is then determined as follows:

    • If the decimal point is moved to the left n places, n is positive.
    • If the decimal point is moved to the right n places, n is negative.

    Another way to remember this is to recognize that as the number N decreases in magnitude, the exponent increases, and vice versa. The application of this rule is illustrated in Example \(\PageIndex{1}\).

    Example \(\PageIndex{1}\): scientific notation

    Convert each number to scientific notation.

    1. 637.8
    2. 0.0479
    3. 7.86
    4. 12,378
    5. 0.00032
    6. 61.06700
    7. 2002.080
    8. 0.01020


    Explanation Solution

    To convert 637.8 to a number from 1 to 10, we move the decimal point two places to the left: 6.378

    Because the decimal point was moved two places to the left, n = 2.

    637.8 = 6.378 × 102

    To convert 0.0479 to a number from 1 to 10, we move the decimal point two places to the right: 4.79

    Because the decimal point was moved two places to the right, n = −2.

    0.0479 = 4.79 × 10−2
    This is usually expressed simply as 7.86. (Recall that 100 = 1). 7.86 × 100
    Move the decimal point four places to the left and note a positive exponent. 1.2378 × 104
    Move the decimal place four places to the right a note a negative exponent. 3.2 × 10−4
    Move the decimal place one space to the left and note a positive exponent. 6.106700 × 101
    Move the decimal place three places to the left and note a positive exponent. 2.002080 × 103
    Move the decimal place two places to the right and note a negative exponent. 1.020 × 10−2

    Using the Scientific Calculator

    Please be sure to obtain a calculator that has an exponent button on it. It will either say "exp" or have an "ee" key indicating this function. This key represents the function of 10x. You do not need to enter a 10 for an exponent when using this particular function. Read the steps below and practice on your calculator.

    (Video) AP1+2.1 Matter, properties, units

    Use of Calculator

    To input powers of ten:

    1. Locate the ee or exp button on your calculator. Do not use the carrot (looks like the ^ button).
    2. Put the coefficient number in and then hit "ee" or "exp."
    3. If you need to have a negative "exp," then locate the +/- button.
    4. Lastly, input your power of ten. You do not need to put the actual number ten in for the exponent.
    Table \(\PageIndex{3}\): Examples
    Number How to Input in a calculator
    3.95 x 1015 Put 3.95 in as the coefficient number. Hit the "ee" or "exp" button. Lastly, enter the 15 for the exponent. Your calculator should say 3.95e15.
    9.26 x 10-4 Put 9.26 in as the coefficient number. Hit the "ee" or "exp" button. Locate the small +/- button for negative (not minus function). Next, enter the number four. Your calculator should say 9.26e-4.

    Suggested Calculators

    This is an image of suggested calculators for CHM101. You will need a non-programmable, scientific calculator that does not have metric conversion functions. In this picture, you will see the correct way to input one of the numbers shown in the example above. Please take time to practice with your calculator before tests and quizzes.

    2.1: Measuring Matter (7)


    What 2 measurements make up matter? ›

    Everything that exists is made up of matter. Matter has two fundamental properties: volume and mass. Volume simply refers to the space an object takes up.

    How do you measure a matter? ›

    We can measure matter by its volume or its mass. We can also measure it by its temperature or its density. Volume measures how much space something takes up.

    What is the unit of measurement for matter? ›

    Mass - A measurement of the amount of matter in an object (grams).

    What is use to measure matter? ›

    Balances are utilized to measure the mass of matter.

    What are the 3 basic measurements? ›

    Metric Systems of Measurement

    The Metric system has 3 main units namely, meter to measure the length, kilogram to measure the mass, and seconds to measure time.

    What are the 4 basic measurements? ›

    The basic units for length or distance measurements in the English system are the inch, foot, yard, and mile.

    Why is it called matter? ›

    Based on atoms

    A definition of "matter" based on its physical and chemical structure is: matter is made up of atoms. Such atomic matter is also sometimes termed ordinary matter. As an example, deoxyribonucleic acid molecules (DNA) are matter under this definition because they are made of atoms.

    Can matter be quantified? ›

    The English word quantitative is an adjective that means "pertaining to, or susceptible of measurement." When scientists quantify matter, they attempt to describe certain physical properties or characteristics of matter in an orderly, understandable, and useful manner.

    Can you measure a solid? ›

    The three most common methods for measuring solid ingredients are by cups, weight, and (for smaller amounts) teaspoons. Many commercial recipes, particularly for baking, give measurements by weight.

    How do we measure properties of matter? ›

    Units For Measuring Properties Of Matter

    We need units to measure both the physical and chemical properties of matter. Both fundamental and derived units are used to measure these properties correctly. The fundamental units are the ones that cannot be derived from each other or further be resolved into any other units.

    How is matter weighed? ›

    Properties of Matter

    It is measured with a scale, like the kitchen scale in Figure below. The scale detects how forcefully objects in the pan are being pulled downward by the force of gravity. The SI unit for weight is the newton (N). The common English unit is the pound (lb).

    What is called matter? ›

    The term matter refers to anything that occupies space and has mass—in other words, the “stuff” that the universe is made of. All matter is made up of substances called elements, which have specific chemical and physical properties and cannot be broken down into other substances through ordinary chemical reactions.

    How do we classify matter? ›

    Matter can exist in three forms or phases: solids, liquids, or gases. A substance is defined as matter which is homogeneous and of which all parts are alike. Substances are either elements or compounds.

    What are the 5 uses of measurement? ›

    The purposes of measurement can be categorized as measurement being in the service of quality, monitoring, safety, making something fit (design, assembly), and problem solving.

    What are the 7 types of measurement? ›

    There are seven base units measurements namely meter, kilogram, second, ampere, kelvin, mole, and candela. The most common among these are kilograms, seconds, and meters.

    What are the 7 unit of measurement? ›

    Prefixes are provided in scales that function around 7 units known as metric system (or SI) base units. As shown in Table 1, base units include the meter (m), the kilogram (kg), the kelvin (K), the second (s), the ampere (A), the candela (cd), and the mole (mol).

    What are 4 levels of measurement with examples? ›

    There are 4 levels of measurement, which can be ranked from low to high:
    • Nominal: the data can only be categorized.
    • Ordinal: the data can be categorized and ranked.
    • Interval: the data can be categorized and ranked, and evenly spaced.
    • Ratio: the data can be categorized, ranked, evenly spaced and has a natural zero.
    16 Jul 2020

    What are the 3 most common units of measurement? ›

    Systems of measurement in modern use include the metric system, the imperial system, and United States customary units.

    What is the unit for mass? ›

    Glossary: Mass (weight) Units. The Metric System of Measurements uses the mass units: gram (g), kilogram (kg) and tonne (t).

    Is space is a matter? ›

    But where does space begin and, more importantly, what is it? Space is an almost perfect vacuum, nearly void of matter and with extremely low pressure. In space, sound doesn't carry because there aren't molecules close enough together to transmit sound between them.

    Is light a matter? ›

    Light exists in tiny packets called photons. Photons have no rest mass and they do not occupy any volume. So light is not matter. It is the radiation of energy.

    Is air a matter? ›

    But, like solids and liquids, air is matter. It has weight (more than we might imagine), it takes up space, and it is composed of particles too small and too spread apart to see. Air, a mixture of gases, shares properties with water vapor, the gaseous form of water that is part of air.

    What is the smallest measure of matter? ›

    An atom is the smallest unit of matter.

    What is the most reliable way to measure matter? ›

    Answer and Explanation: The amount of matter in an object can be measured by a weighing balance. The amount of matter in an object is known as mass.

    Can you quantify dark matter? ›

    After traveling billions of miles, the path of a spacecraft like Pioneer 10 would only deviate by about 5 feet (1.6 meters) due to the influence of dark matter. “They do feel the effect of dark matter, but it's so small, we can't measure it,” Green said.

    How do you measure matter in an object? ›

    Mass is a measure of the amount of matter in a substance or an object. The basic SI unit for mass is the kilogram (kg), but smaller masses may be measured in grams (g). To measure mass, you would use a balance.

    Can you measure a liquid? ›

    To measure liquids, you should always use liquid measuring cups and spoons. Liquid measuring cups are usually glass or plastic, and most have a spout for pouring.

    What are 2 ways you can measure the volume of a solid object? ›

    Solution. The volume of a solid object can be measured in two ways: For regular-shaped objects: Measure the dimensions (length, width, and height). For irregular objects: Submerge the object in water and measure the volume of the displaced water using a graduated cylinder.

    What are the 3 properties of matter? ›

    • The three basic properties of matter are volume, mass, and shape. ...
    • All matter is made up of tiny particles called atoms. ...
    • Volume is the amount of space that matter takes up. ...
    • Mass is the amount of matter an object has. ...
    • Liquids take the shape of their container.

    What are the 2 main properties used in identifying matters? ›

    Matter can be defined or described as anything that takes up space, and it is composed of miniscule particles called atoms. It must display the two properties of mass and volume.

    What are the 7 main properties of matter? ›

    Some examples of physical properties are:
    • Color (intensive)
    • Density (intensive)
    • Volume (extensive)
    • Mass (extensive)
    • Boiling point (intensive): the temperature at which a substance boils.
    • Melting point (intensive): the temperature at which a substance melts.

    Is matter a mass or weight? ›

    In science, matter is defined as anything that has mass and volume. Mass is commonly confused with weight. The two are closely related, but they measure different things. Whereas mass measures the amount of matter in an object, weight measures the force of gravity acting on an object.

    Does matter equal weight? ›

    The terms "mass" and "weight" are used interchangeably in ordinary conversation, but the two words don't mean the same thing. The difference between mass and weight is that mass is the amount of matter in a material, while weight is a measure of how the force of gravity acts upon that mass.

    What are 3 ways to measure mass? ›

    A number of tools exist for measuring mass in different environments. These include balances and scales, measurement transducers, vibrating tube sensors, Newtonian mass measurement devices and the use of gravitational interaction between objects.

    How do I calculate liquid volume? ›

    1. Formula:
    2. L x W x D. = Cubic Feet.
    3. Cubic ft x 7.47. = Gallons.

    What is volume of liquid? ›

    The liquid measurement is the amount of liquid a vessel contains and its measurement in standard units. We also refer to it as the “capacity” or the “volume” of the vessel. Infant milk bottle with measurement markings in milliliter and juice bottle with 1 liter contents.

    How do you measure volume of a liquid? ›

    The most basic method of liquid volume measuring is to pour the substance into a graduated recipient. The observer must check where the liquid level matches the recipient's marks, which will indicate the volume. A more complex way to calculate volume is by using the density formula.

    Is fire a matter? ›

    But what we can conclude (for now) is that, of the fundamental states of matter, fire is most like a plasma. In fact, some very hot flames do contain plasma – when the energy inside them is sufficient to ionise enough of the air molecules.

    What are 5 examples of matter? ›

    • an apple.
    • a person.
    • a table.
    • air.
    • water.
    • a computer.
    • paper.
    • iron.

    Is matter a energy? ›

    Matter takes up space (called volume). Thus, matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. Energy is not like matter. Energy does not have mass.

    What are the 2 types of matter? ›

    Matter can be broken down into two categories: pure substances and mixtures. Pure substances are further broken down into elements and compounds. Mixtures are physically combined structures that can be separated into their original components. A chemical substance is composed of one type of atom or molecule.

    Which property in Table 2.1 can most easily? ›

    Which property in Table 2.1 can most easily distinguish sodium chloride from the other solids? Color; sodium chloride is the only white solid listed.

    What are the 10 measuring materials? ›

    Measurement Tools / Measuring Equipment
    • Vernier Calipers.
    • Micrometers.
    • Dial Gauges.
    • Height Gauges.
    • Depth Gauges.
    • Inner Diameter Measuring Instruments.
    • Gauges.
    • Squares.

    What are the 3 importance of measurement? ›

    Also measuring certain things correctly is very necessary including distance, time, and accuracy. We can really know the universe around us by measuring such occurrences or, in other words, by taking such measurements. Measurements may also enable us to make decisions on the basis of the measurement result.

    What is called measurement? ›

    Measurement is the process of obtaining the magnitude of a quantity relative to an agreed standard. The science of weights and measures is called metrology.

    What are types of measurement? ›

    There are four main levels of measurement: nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio.

    What are the two units of measurements in taking body measurements? ›

    Height is a common body measurement typically measured in feet (ft) + inches (in) in the United States and centimeters (cm) elsewhere. These are length measurements, so the SI unit would be meters.

    Why matter and measurement is important? ›

    It is essential for understanding much of the natural world and central to many other scientific disciplines, including astronomy, geology, paleontology, biology, and medicine. Matter can be classified according to physical and chemical properties.

    What do all measurements contain? ›

    Each measurement has an amount, a unit for comparison, and an uncertainty. Measurements can be represented in either decimal or scientific notation. Scientists primarily use the SI (International System) or metric systems.

    What is measurement give example? ›

    Measurement is the process of comparison of a given physical quantity with a known standard quantity of some nature. For example, in the measurement expressed as 10 kg, 10 is the magnitude of the physical quantity and kg is the standard unit used to express mass of the physical quantity.

    What are the 4 type of measuring tools? ›

    4 Measuring Tools to Use at Home
    • Tape measure: for measuring lengths.
    • Level: to measure how leveled a surface is.
    • Caliper: to measure cylindrical objects.
    • Square: to measure angles and draw perpendicular lines.
    1 Oct 2017

    What volume is 1ml? ›

    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).

    What are the 5 types of measurement? ›

    types of measurements are:
    • Indirect method of measurement.
    • Direct method of measurement.
    • Fundamental method of measurement.
    • Substitution method of measurement.
    • Comparison method of measurement.

    How do measurements list? ›

    All box dimensions are written as length x width x height. For example, 14" x 11" x 4" means 14" (L) x 11" (W) x 4" (H)".


    1. 2.1 - Scientific Measurement Introduction
    2. 3-1 Measuring Matter
    (Patrick Doyle)
    3. Lab 2.1 Measuring the Mass and Volume of Water
    (Sophia and mom)
    4. Ch 2.1-Things we measure
    (John Allen)
    5. Avogadro's Number, The Mole, Grams, Atoms, Molar Mass Calculations - Introduction
    (The Organic Chemistry Tutor)
    6. 2.1 Measuring Global Temperatures
    (Chemistry with Mrs. K)
    Top Articles
    Latest Posts
    Article information

    Author: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

    Last Updated: 02/03/2023

    Views: 6348

    Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

    Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

    Birthday: 1997-03-23

    Address: 74183 Thomas Course, Port Micheal, OK 55446-1529

    Phone: +13408645881558

    Job: Global Representative

    Hobby: Sailing, Vehicle restoration, Rowing, Ghost hunting, Scrapbooking, Rugby, Board sports

    Introduction: My name is Geoffrey Lueilwitz, I am a zealous, encouraging, sparkling, enchanting, graceful, faithful, nice person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.