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How Big is a Mole?

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How Big is a Mole?

The Green Pea Analogy

If you selected one hundred (102) average size peas, you would find they occupy a volume of about 20 cm3.

One million peas (106) would occupy a household refrigerator, while one billion (109) peas would fill a 3-bedroom house from cellar to attic.

A trillion peas (1012) will fill a thousand houses, the number you might find in a medium-sized town. A quadrillion (1015) peas will fill all the buildings in a large city, such as Edmonton.

Obviously, you will run out of buildings soon. Suppose there was a blizzard over Alberta, but instead of snow, it snowed peas. If the whole province was blanketed in peas about one meter deep, there would be about a quintillion (1018) peas.

Imagine if this pea-blizzard falls over all of the continents in a one-meter deep blizzard. This will contain one sextillion (1021) peas.

Now imagine the oceans are frozen and the blanket of peas covers the whole Earth. Go out and collect 250 more similar planets.

Now you have one mole of peas!

Go to the farthest reaches of the Milky Way and collect 250,000 planets, each the size of Earth, each covered one meter deep in peas. Now you have one cotillion (1027) peas – the number of atoms in your body.