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The Mole

Key Questions

  • Answer:

    The mole is simply a very large number that is used by chemists as a unit of measurement.


    The mole is simply a very large number, #6.022 xx 10^23#, that has a special property. If I have #6.022 xx 10^23# hydrogen atoms, I have a mass of 1 gram of hydrogen atoms . If I have #6.022 xx 10^23# #H_2# molecules, I have a mass of 2 gram of hydrogen molecules. If I have #6.022 xx 10^23# #C# atoms, I have (approximately!) 12 grams.

    The mole is thus the link between the micro world of atoms and molecules, and the macro world of grams and litres, the which we can easily measure by mass or volume. The masses for a mole of each element are given on the periodic table as the atomic weight. So, if have 12 g of #C#, I know, fairly precisely, how many atoms of carbon I have. Given this quantity, I know how many molecules of #O_2# are required to react with the #C#, which I could measure by mass or by volume.