How many cubic centimeters, cm
cubed, are there in a milliliter, one ml?
Cubic centimeters and milliliters
are both units of volume. While the cubic centimeter is
described as a length multiplied by a length multiplied by a length, that is a
length cubed. While a milliliter is a fraction of
a fixed volume. We need to go a bit deeper to
discover what the definition of that volume is.
One cubic centimeter is the volume
occupy by a cube that is one centimeter along each length. One centimeter times one centimeter
times one centimeter is equal to one centimeters cubed. The letter “c” is a prefix that
means one one hundredth. So, one centimeter is one one
hundredth of a meter. The meter is a measurement of
length, equivalent to the distance moved by light in a vacuum in one 299792458th of
a second. This is about one three hundred
millionth of a second.
The unit centimeters cubed is
equivalent to the whole unit centimeters to the power of three. So, it’s not the same as one one
hundredth of a cubic meter. It actually takes a million cubic
centimeters to occupy the same volume as one cubic meter.
What about the milliliter? The milliliter has a symbol ml. “Milli”, or “m”, means one one
thousandth, while the letter L refers to liter. A liter is the same volume occupied
by a cube which is 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters. So, a whole liter is equal to 10
centimeters times 10 centimeters times 10 centimeters, which is 1000 centimeters
Now we’ve already shown that one
milliliter is one one thousandth of a liter. So, one milliliter is equal to one
one thousandth of 1000 centimeters cubed. So, one milliliter is equivalent to
one cubic centimeter. You may see the liter described as
one cubic decimeter, or one one thousandth of a cubic meter. These are all equivalent
So, by going back to the definition
of the cubic centimeter and the milliliter, we’ve demonstrated that there is exactly
definitionally one cubic centimeter in one milliliter.