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Cubic centimetre

The cubic metre (symbol ) is the SI derived unit of volume. It is the volume of a cube with edges one metre in length.


Older equivalents were the stere and the kilolitre. The deprecation of the stere began in 1978, when the CIPM marked it (and several other metric units) as "undesirable" where not already in use, and strongly encouraged their discontinuation; in the United States, it was legally deprecated in 1982 (Federal Register, February 26, 1982, 47 FR 8399-8400) [1] [2].


1 cubic metre is equivalent to:

  • 1,000 litres (exactly)
  • ~35.3 cubic feet (approximately). 1 cubic foot is 0.028 316 846 592 m³ (exactly)
  • ~1.31 cubic yards (approximately). 1 cubic yard is 0.764 554 857 984 m³ (exactly)
  • ~6.29 oil barrels (approximately). 1 barrel is 0.158 987 294 928 m³ (exactly)

A cubic metre of pure water at a temperature of 3.98 °C (degrees Celsius) and standard atmospheric pressure has a mass of 999.972 kg (nearly one tonne).

It can either be abbreviated m3 or m^3 when superscript characters are not available/accessible (i.e. in some typewritten documents and postings in Usenet newsgroups).

Multiples and submultiples

  • A cubic decimetre (symbol dm³) is the volume of a cube of side length 1 decimetre (0.1 metre).
    • 1 cubic decimetre is now equal to 1 litre. See 1 E-3 m³ for a comparison with other volumes.
      • From 1901 to 1964 of the litre was defined as the volume of 1 kilogram of pure water at 4 degrees Celsius and 760 millimetres of mercury pressure. During this time, a litre was about 1.000028 dm³. In 1964 the original definition was reverted to.
  • A cubic centimetre (cm³) is equal to the volume of a cube with side length of 1 centimetre. It was the base unit of volume of the CGS system of units, and is a legitimate SI unit.
    • The colloquial abbreviations cc and ccm are not SI but are common in some contexts in English. For example 'cc' is commonly used for denoting displacement of car and motorbike engines "the Mini Cooper had a 1275 cc engine". In American medicine 'cc' is also common, for example "100 cc of blood loss".
  • A cubic millimetre (mm³) is the volume equal to that of a cube with edges of 1 millimetre.
  • A cubic kilometre (km³) is the volume equal to that of a cube of side length 1 kilometre.

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