Cubic metre

Cubic metre

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The cubic metre is the SI derived unit
SI derived unit
The International System of Units specifies a set of seven base units from which all other units of measurement are formed, by products of the powers of base units. These other units are called SI derived units, for example, the SI derived unit of area is square metre , and of density is...

 of volume
Volume is the quantity of three-dimensional space enclosed by some closed boundary, for example, the space that a substance or shape occupies or contains....

. It is the volume of a cube with edges one metre
The metre , symbol m, is the base unit of length in the International System of Units . Originally intended to be one ten-millionth of the distance from the Earth's equator to the North Pole , its definition has been periodically refined to reflect growing knowledge of metrology...

 in length. An alternative name, which allowed a different usage with metric prefixes
SI prefix
The International System of Units specifies a set of unit prefixes known as SI prefixes or metric prefixes. An SI prefix is a name that precedes a basic unit of measure to indicate a decadic multiple or fraction of the unit. Each prefix has a unique symbol that is prepended to the unit symbol...

, was the stère
The stere or stère is a unit of volume in the original metric system equal to one cubic metre. The name was coined from the Greek στερεός stereos 'solid' in 1793 France as a metric equivalent to the cord. The stère is typically used for measuring large quantities of firewood or other cut wood,...

. Another alternative name, not widely used any more, is the kilolitre.


1 cubic metre is equivalent to:
  • 1,000 litre
    pic|200px|right|thumb|One litre is equivalent to this cubeEach side is 10 cm1 litre water = 1 kilogram water The litre is a metric system unit of volume equal to 1 cubic decimetre , to 1,000 cubic centimetres , and to 1/1,000 cubic metre...

    s (exactly);
  • ~35.3 cubic feet
    Cubic foot
    The cubic foot is an Imperial and US customary unit of volume, used in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of one foot in length.-Conversions:- Symbols :...

    • 1 cu ft =  m3
  • ~1.31 cubic yard
    Cubic yard
    A cubic yard is an Imperial / U.S. customary unit of volume, used in the United States, Canada, and the UK. It is defined as the volume of a cube with sides of 1 yard in length.-Symbols:...

    s (approximately)
    • 1 cu yd =  m3
  • ~6.29 oil barrel
    Barrel (unit)
    A barrel is one of several units of volume, with dry barrels, fluid barrels , oil barrel, etc...

    s (approximately)
    • 1 oil bbl =  m3

A cubic metre of pure water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 at the temperature of maximum density (3.98 °C
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

) and standard atmospheric pressure
Atmospheric pressure
Atmospheric pressure is the force per unit area exerted into a surface by the weight of air above that surface in the atmosphere of Earth . In most circumstances atmospheric pressure is closely approximated by the hydrostatic pressure caused by the weight of air above the measurement point...

 (101.325 kPa) has a mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 of 1,000 kg
The kilogram or kilogramme , also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram , which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water...

, or one tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

. At 0 °C, the freezing point of water, a cubic metre of water has slightly less mass, 999.972 kilograms.

It is sometimes abbreviated to cu m, m3, M3, m^3, m**3, CBM, cbm when superscript character
A glyph is an element of writing: an individual mark on a written medium that contributes to the meaning of what is written. A glyph is made up of one or more graphemes....

s or markup
Markup language
A markup language is a modern system for annotating a text in a way that is syntactically distinguishable from that text. The idea and terminology evolved from the "marking up" of manuscripts, i.e. the revision instructions by editors, traditionally written with a blue pencil on authors' manuscripts...

 cannot be used (e.g. in some typewritten documents and postings in Usenet
Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name.Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980...


Abbreviated CBM and cbm in the freight business and MTQ (or numeric code 49) in international trade.

Multiples and submultiples

See 1 E-3 m³
1 E-3 m³
To help compare different orders of magnitude this page lists volumes between at 10-3 m3 and 10-2 m³ . See also volumes or capacities of other orders of magnitude.* Volumes smaller than 1 litre* 1.0 litre is equal to:** 10-3 m3...

for a comparison with other volumes.


Cubic decametre
the volume of a cube of side length one decametre (10 m)
equal to a megalitre
1 dam3 = 1,000 m3 = 1 ML

Cubic hectometre
the volume of a cube of side length one hectometre (100 m)
equal to a gigalitre
1 hm3 = 1,000,000 m3 = 1 GL

Cubic kilometre
the volume of a cube of side length one kilometre (1,000 m)
equal to a teralitre
1 km3 = 1,000,000,000 m3 = 1 TL


Cubic decimetre
the volume of a cube of side length one decimetre (0.1 m)
equal to a litre
1 dm3 = 0.001 m3 = 1 L

Cubic centimetre
the volume of a cube of side length one centimetre (0.01 m)
equal to a millilitre
1 cm3 = 0.000001 m3 = 1-6 m3 = 1 mL

Cubic millimetre
the volume of a cube of side length one millimetre (0.001 m)
equal to a microlitre
1 mm3 = 0.000000001 m3 = 1-9 m3 = 1 µL