The mole is a unit of measurement used in chemistry to express amounts of a chemical substance, defined as an amount of a substance that contains as many elementary entities (e.g., atoms, molecules, ions, electrons) as there are atoms in 12 grams of pure carbon-12 (12C), the isotope of carbon with atomic weight 12. This corresponds to a value of 6.02214179(30)×1023 elementary entities of the substance. It is one of the base units in the International System of Units, and has the unit symbol mol.
The mole is widely used in chemistry, instead of units of mass or volume, as a convenient way to express the amounts of reactants and products of chemical reactions. For example, the chemical equation 2 H2 + O2 → 2 H2O implies that 2 mol of hydrogen gas and 1 mol of oxygen gas react to form 2 mol of water. The mole may also be used to express the number of atoms, ions, or other elementary entities in some sample. The concentration of a solution is commonly expressed by its molarity, the number of moles of the dissolved substance per litre of solution.
The number of molecules in a mole (known as Avogadro's number) is defined so that the mass of one mole of a substance, expressed in grams, is exactly equal to the substance's mean molecular weight. For example, the mean molecular weight of natural water is about 18.015, so one mole of water is about 18.015 grams. This property considerably simplifies many chemical and physical computations.
The name gram-molecule was formerly used for essentially the same concept. The name gram-atom (abbreviated gat.) has been used for a related but distinct concept, namely a quantity of a substance that contains Avogadro's number of atoms, whether isolated or combined in molecules. Thus, for example, 1 mole of MgB2 is 1 gram-molecule of MgB2 but 3 gram-atoms of MgB2.
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