Cubic centimeters ( cm3 ) and liters ( L ) are both metric units of volume. Converting between these two units is a rather straightforward problem. These two example problems will show how to convert cm3 to liters and liters to cm3.
cm3 to Liters Conversion Factor
To convert between cm3 and liters, it is helpful to know that a cm3 is the same as a milliliter ( mL ).
1 cm3 = 1 mL
and the conversion factor between milliliters and liters is
1000 mL = 1 L
Therefore the conversion factor between cm3 and L is
1000 cm3 = 1 L
cm3 to Liter Conversion Example
Question: How many liters are in a cube with 50 cm sides?
Solution: First, let’s see how many cubic centimeters are in the cube.
The volume of a cube = (side length)3
Volume = (50 cm)3
Volume = 125,000 cm3
Use the conversion factor to change this to liters. Put the unwanted unit in the denominator.
This allows us to cancel out the unwanted cm3 units and leave only the liters unit we need.
125,000 cm3 = 125 liters
Answer: There are 125 liters in a cube with 50 cm sides.
Liter to cm3 Conversion Example
Question: How many cubic centimeters are in a half-liter water bottle?
Solution: Use the conversion factor again with the liters unit in the denominator.
Note the liters units cancel out, leaving the desired cm3 unit.
0.5 L = 500 cm3
Answer: There are 500 cm3 in a half-liter water bottle.
Notice the “trick” to these problems is to set up the conversion factor so the undesired unit cancels out.
Another useful habit to get is to make sure you put a leading zero if your measurements are less than 1, like our half-liter example. One of the most common careless mistakes is losing your decimal place. It is all too easy to look at .5 L and see 5 L.
Volume Unit Conversion Example Problems
- Gallon to Liter Conversion Example
- Fluid Ounce to Milliliter Conversion Example
- Cubic Feet to Liters Conversion Example