What Is the Chemical Composition of Blood?

Find out What This Vital Life Fluid Is Made Of

Lab technician inserting blood sample test tube into a centrifuge

Dana Neely / Getty Images

Blood is slightly denser and is approximately three to four times more viscous than water. Blood consists of cells that are suspended in a liquid. As with other suspensions, the components of blood can be separated by filtration. However, the most common method of separating blood is to centrifuge (spin) it. Three layers are visible in centrifuged blood. The straw-colored liquid portion, called plasma, forms at the top (~55%). The buffy coat, a thin cream-colored layer consisting of white blood cells and platelets forms below the plasma, while red blood cells comprise the heavy bottom portion of the separated mixture (~45%).

What Is the Volume of Blood?

Blood volume is variable but tends to be about 8% of body weight. Factors such as body size, the amount of adipose tissue, and electrolyte concentrations all affect blood volume. The average adult has about 5 liters of blood.

What Is the Composition of Blood?

Blood consists of cellular material (99% red blood cells, with white blood cells and platelets making up the remainder), water, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, hormones, vitamins, electrolytes, dissolved gasses, and cellular wastes. Each red blood cell is about one-third hemoglobin, by volume. Plasma is about 92% water, with plasma proteins as the most abundant solutes. The main plasma protein groups are albumins, globulins, and fibrinogens. The primary blood gasses are oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen.


  • "Hole's Human Anatomy & Physiology, 9th Edition," McGraw Hill, 2002.
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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Is the Chemical Composition of Blood?" ThoughtCo, Sep. 7, 2021, thoughtco.com/volume-chemical-composition-of-blood-601962. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, September 7). What Is the Chemical Composition of Blood? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/volume-chemical-composition-of-blood-601962 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Is the Chemical Composition of Blood?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/volume-chemical-composition-of-blood-601962 (accessed June 5, 2023).