Difference Between Molar Mass vs Atomic Mass

Difference Between Molar Mass vs Atomic Mass

Science is a beautiful innovation that has helped a lot of people understand the basics of nature and life in general. In chemistry, every element has special features, one of which is known as the inertial property. This defines the quantity of matter contained in that substance otherwise known as mass or weight.

All of the known elements have been summarized in the periodic table with certain properties, but somehow, people find it confusing to tell the difference between molar mass and atomic mass of an element, probably because they have the same suffix. We will take a look at these properties, explaining their differences and stating some of the properties that make them differ from one another.

Definition of Molar Mass

Molar mass is defined as the measure of weight of one mole of a substance recorded in grams per mole. It describes the number of molecules and atoms in a particular compound with respect to one mole.

Note that “one mole,” as stated in the definition, represents a constant known as the Avogadro’s number – 6.022 X 1023. This constant applies in every situation where you may wish to measure one mole of a substance, so it applies to every other element.

Aside from being just a number, a mole can also be defined as a “unit” that helps in the comparison of two particles of a substance. You may already know that it is wrong to use random measures of different compounds in an experiment. It is important to take note and record the quantities of different compounds used for reference purposes.

A lot of these elements are quite small, too small in some cases. To get an accurate measure of these elements, an analytical balance is used to measure the required quantity in each case. Another name for this quantity is “molecular weight.”

One difference between atomic mass and molar mass to take note of is that the latter refers to the weight of a mole of a substance while the latter refers to the weight of the molecules of a substance.

Definition of Atomic Mass

Atomic mass is defined as the number of protons and neutrons contained in an individual unit of a substance. It can also be defined as the weight of a distinct unit of an element or the amount of matter of the sole weight of an isotope (a variant of a particular chemical element).

Speaking of which, isotopes play a significant role in calculating this quantity. You need to know the weight of each isotope and multiply it by the abundance of different variations of the chemical element in question. The term “atomic mass” has been in use for centuries and has some historical backings as well.

Chemistry is the leading branch of science that explored the physical properties of an object on macroscopic and microscopic levels. This was how isotopes were discovered as well. Measuring the atomic property of a substance refers to the quantity of a certain isotopic distribution.

Main Differences Between Molar Mass vs Atomic Mass

There are a number of key things that show how molar mass vs atomic mass differ from the other in their comparison. They both define the mass of an element in certain ways that are peculiar to each one.

Basis of ComparisonMolar MassAtomic Mass
DefinitionThe measure of the mass of one mole of a substance recorded in grams per moleThe number of protons and neutrons contained in an individual unit of a substance
Identified withSingle elements, molecules, etc.Certain isotopic distribution
Also known asMolecular weightMicroscopic scale
SI unitGrams per mole (g/mol)Atomic mass unit (amu)
Number referenceAvogadro’s numberNone

Difference Between Molar Mass and Atomic Mass: Conclusion

In summary of the atomic mass vs molar mass comparison, we have that the latter is a measure of the mass of a substance with regards to the Avogadro’s number (6.022 X 1023) while the former is a measure of the weight of a substance with regards to a particular isotope.

These two concepts form part of the basic fundamentals of chemistry as we know it today and have proven resourceful in diverse applications including technology.