Check us out at http://www.tutorvista.com//videos The molecular mass (abbreviated m) of a substance is the mass of one molecule of that substance, in unified atomic mass unit(s) u (equal to 1/12 the mass of one atom of the isotope carbon-12). This is numerically equivalent to the relative molecular mass of a molecule, frequently referred to by the term molecular weight, which is the ratio of the mass of that molecule to 1/12 of the mass of carbon-12 and is a dimensionless number. Relative molecular mass is abbreviated to Mr. Thus, it is incorrect to express relative molecular mass (molecular weight) in daltons (Da). Unfortunately, the terms molecular weight and molecular mass have been confused on numerous websites, which often state that molecular weight was used in the past as another term for molecular mass. Molecular mass differs from more common measurements of the mass of chemicals, such as molar mass, by taking into account the isotopic composition of a molecule rather than the average isotopic distribution of many molecules. As a result, molecular mass is a more precise number than molar mass; however it is more accurate to use molar mass on bulk samples. This means that molar mass is appropriate most of the time except when dealing with single molecules. The concept is important for all molecules, especially for complex molecules like polymers and biopolymers such as proteins and carbohydrates. The determination of their molecular mass is often difficult, and is usually inferred from gel permeation chromatography and mass spectroscopy.
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