Atomic mass unit An arbitrarily defined unit in terms of which the masses of individual atoms are expressed. One atomic mass unit is defined as exactly 1fi2 of the mass of an atom of the nuclide 12C, the predominant isotope of carbon. The unit, also known as the dalton, is often abbreviated amu, and is designated by the symbol u. The relative atomic mass of a chemical element is the average mass of its atoms expressed in atomic mass units.
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