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My first effort at wikipedia, the last paragraph still needs work I think. Let me know what you think. Aglimme

Sorry, my english is too bad to correct the article, however I signal that molarity and normality are different and distinct concepts. Svante 23:48, 3 Jul 2004 (UTC)

There should be something about equivalants per litre on this page?


Today I expanded this article significantly, adding a table, image, further examples, etc. I still feel it needs some work - in particular, the definition of "normality" is inadequate, and the whole article can be further wikified. Plus I need to double-check all the examples. I'll be revising and tidying later this week, if someone else doesn't. -- FirstPrinciples 14:48, Sep 25, 2004 (UTC)

Further units to add: molality & formal -- FirstPrinciples 16:02, Sep 25, 2004 (UTC)
OK I added those too. Still needs tidying up. -- FirstPrinciples 07:29, Sep 26, 2004 (UTC)

Weight-volume percentage[edit]

Removed the following from the article until clarified.

Weight-volume percentage, (sometimes referred to as mass-volume percentage and often abbreviated as w/v) denotes the mass of a substance in a mixture as a percentage of the volume of the entire mixture. For instance: in the previous example 40 grams of ethanol was mixed with 60 grams of water. However, ethanol is less dense than water (with a specific gravity of 0.789), so the total volume of the bottle is 110.7 millilitres; this means that the bottle contains around 36% ethanol, w/v.
Note: It is usual practise to label alcoholic beverages with weight-volume percentages, although some less scrupulous manufacturers give the proportion of alcohol as weight-for-weight, thereby making drink appear slightly stronger than it is. In many areas this practice is restricted by fair trading laws.

My reasoning
There is a problem here, volumes of alcohol and water do not add. 60g water/1.0g/mL = 60mL. 40g ethanol/0.789g/mL =50.7mL. But 60mL water plus 50.7mL ethanol does not = 110.7mL, but something less than that for a total volume.
This is a common demo in introductory chemistry. Combine 10mL water with 10mL alcohol; the expected combined volume is 20mL. Students are quite surprised to find the combined volume to be measurably less.
So, if alcohol trade laws are based on this concept they are in error.
I have not heard of this weight-volume concentration term and find it troubling even without the above mentioned glitch. It may be an odd term used in the alcohol industry, if so we need to define and explain it better before putting it back in.-Vsmith 22:11, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

OK, I recant:-) I have heard of weight-volume. Weight-volume percentage is often used for solutions made from solid reagents. It is the weight of the solute in grams multiplied by one hundred divided by the volume of solution in milliliters. Need to re-write this without the volume mixing problems and re-insert. More to do. -Vsmith 01:44, 1 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Still digging. For liquid:liquid solutions such as alcohol:
"Volume-volume percentage or % (v/v) describes the ml solute per 100 mL solution. This is most useful when liquids are being mixed. For example, beer is about 5% ethanol by volume. This means every 100 mL beer contains 5 mL ethanol (ethyl alcohol)." (chem lecture notes) Need to re-write and include as volume-volume concentration. Still more to do :) -Vsmith 02:19, 1 Oct 2004 (UTC)

My apologies, I entered the original information from handwritten notes. Now that I look at it critically, it does seem clearly incorrect. I can't actually figure out what I was trying to say... I believe I was confused about the dissolution of solids (for which 'mass-volume percentage' is aprropriate) but gave a nonsensical example using ethanol. Anyway, I suggest we discard the above 'weight-volume' rubbish; the article should give a simple description mass-mass, mass-volume and volume-volume percentages, and give a concise, accurate example calculation for each. -- FirstPrinciples 13:00, Oct 2, 2004 (UTC)
The article is great now. Congratulations to Vsmith. -- FirstPrinciples 08:27, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)
The comment about alcohol is (partly) correct: it is usual to give percentage alcohol by volume, but sometimes it can be given by weight, usually with the deliberate intent of causing confusion. (This information may not be particularly relevant for the main article, all the same.) -- FirstPrinciples 13:00, Oct 2, 2004 (UTC)

I fixed the equation for calculating w/v. It read mg/mL × 100, which I changed to g/mL × 100. If you wish to verify this, see the following:

In practice, people often make up solutions by adding volumes together, without measuring the final volume. Sometimes, in a volumetric flask, a volume of solute is added and then the solution is made up to the mark with the other component and this is quoted as v/v. The order of addition of the various liquids then makes a difference. An example is ethanol and water; let's say 20 % etoh/h2o v/v. If 20 mls of ethanol are added to a 100 ml volumetric and then made up to the mark, you get one concentration of ethanol. If you added 80 ml of water to the flask and then added ethanol to the mark you would get yet another concentration. If you added 80 ml of water to 20 ml of ethanol you would get yet another concentration. Without deatiled information on exactly how the solution is made it is very hard to duplicate precisely. I really dislike this way of measuring concentration. The same arguments often apply to w/v. Perhaps there is someway to convey these problems to the reader? Measureblur (talk) 15:25, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, but the "Generic formula" in the "Table of concentration measures" needs to be fixed and the "Typical units" note dropped. The formula shown and the [% g/L] are dangerously wrong: % w/v is used all the time in making injectable drug formulations and "(grams solute x 100 / litres solution)" is off by a factor of 10 -- which can be fatal. The generic formula should be:

(grams solute) / (100 x millilitres solution)

and the units are % w/v.

This error shows up elsewhere on the Internet, including a commercial vendor's site. It needs to be clarified.

For more background, see the standard text "Pharmaceutical Calculations" by H.C. Ansel and M.J. Stoklosa (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia)

p.s., I don't know how to edit the graphics in the table. Otherwise I would make the changes now myself.

Decisiondoctor 18:31, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Fixed, I think - don't know much about pharmacological usage, but this has to be about the dumbest distortion of percent. Anyway, the table isn't an image - just uses some alien looking math language markup. Cheers, Vsmith 01:02, 6 May 2007 (UTC)


Parts per thousand (ppt)
Parts per trillion (ppt)
OK we have a problem here ppt cannot mean both per thosand and per trillion. In my experience ppt means parts per trillion.

The trouble is, in different contexts it does vary. There are many acronyms with more than one meaning. -- FirstPrinciples 13:00, Oct 2, 2004 (UTC)

Parts per thousand is represented by the per mil symbol: (% symbol with an extra zero), don't know what the code is for it. Looks sorta like this o/oo . -Vsmith 22:57, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

OK, found it: parts per thousand or 'per mil' ‰. [1]
-Vsmith 00:58, 1 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I still suggest that a warning be added about ppt. For instance, in the context of salinty measurement, 'ppt' very frequently means 'parts per thousand'. Also, at least one acronym dictionary lists ppt as meaning both parts per thousand and trillion ( -- FirstPrinciples 13:00, Oct 2, 2004 (UTC)


I suggest this section needs to be revised and expanded with examples. I don't have sufficient chemistry knowledge to do a good job, but maybe someone else can? -- FirstPrinciples 08:27, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

Please check's edit. — Jeandré 2005-06-28t10:54z

I've updated the normality section, its referencing disambiguation page, and the equation at the bottom, to reflect the standard chemical definition of normality, which is concerned with the gram equivalents in solution. I thought the old version of the equation was a bit misleading -- "valence" may or may not refer to the charge of the ion or the number of bonds connected to the atoms, but we're talking about gram equivalents here, which can include equivalents of electrons - a concept outside the realms of "valence". Hope that makes it clear. Unfortunatley the definition of gram equivalent is somewhat ambiguous in the chemical community, but so it goes.--Lineweaver 23:21, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

The equation given on Normality seems blatantly incorrect. (It should not multiply by the volume in liters) Can someone with good knowledge in this fix it? (talk) 20:19, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

Fixed (unless I'm missing something here), used formula from table below. Vsmith (talk) 23:55, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

What on earth does "A normal is one gram equivalent of 5 solutes per liter of solution" mean? I'm trying to learn, about normality so I don't know if this is correct or not. This arbitrary number 5 needs to be justified though! -Halidecyphon (talk) 05:37, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Osmolarity, tonicity[edit]

Do these concepts also belong under 'concentration'? -- FirstPrinciples 03:51, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)

Not really familiar with them (actually never heard of tonicity until I just looked it up), so don't know if we want to include them ??

How about activity, fugacity, and partial pressure? -Vsmith 17:11, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Hmm. Ideally, I think the article should be comprehensive as possible. Hence, a mention of most of these terms is probably warranted, even if it's only a sentence or brief paragraph. I get the feeling that osmolarity, activity and fugacity are more relevant than tonicity and partial pressure. -- FirstPrinciples 05:59, Oct 13, 2004 (UTC)

I agree, osmolarity (mOsm/L) is used extensively by physiologists and should be included. mezzaninelounge (talk) 00:26, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

CaCO3 as an example of Formal[edit]

When I envisage adding a mole of chalk to a litre of water, I really don't see complete dissociation occuring. I thought calcium carbonate was essentially insoluble in water. If this is right, perhaps a better example is possible.


There are a few analytical techniques that can measure ppq levels. I changed the text to reflect this as the old version suggested that there are no analytical techniques that can measure ppq concentrations.

How about gaseous concentrations?[edit]

The article is almost totally focused on concentrations in liquid systems. It needs to also cover concentrations in gaseous systems ... for example, pollutant concentrations in the ambient atmospheric air, which are commonly expressed as mg/m³, ppm by volume, etc.
mbeychok 20:58, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Question about volumetric iodine solution[edit]

Could anyone explain to me why a 0.1M iodine solution sold for volumetric analysis is sometimes quoted as 0.1M (0.1N) and sometimes as 0.1M (0.05N)? What is actually in this solution? Thanks! OAP boba 08:20, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Parts per million etc.[edit]

It is the ratio of the amount of the substance of interest to the amount of that substance plus the amount of the substance it is in. e.g. 10 parts per million (ppm) sugar in water means that there are 10 mg of sugar in 999,990 mg of water.

If I'm not mistaken, mg are a unit of mass, not amount, so ppm is a ratio of the mass of the solute to the mass of the solvent. Might be a bit pedantic but I'd rather the article was correct than not. Hairy Dude 17:49, 31 May 2006 (UTC)



The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the United States authority on measurement, considers the term molarity and the unit symbol M to be obsolete, and suggests instead the amount-of-substance concentration (c) with units mol/m3 or other units used alongside the SI such as mol/L [1].

It is true that NIST has recommended that and various quality assurance organizations that do ISO accreditation have blindly copied it, so that it carries force of law in many industrial labs. However, the idea that molarity is obsolete is by no means generally accepted in academia and currently ACS and IUPAC are considering the matter. I think that under the circumstances wikipedia would be well advised not to proclaim molarity quite dead yet.


I have added some clarifications on the mass versus volume question and simply added that academia has not accepted NIST's recommendations. (Hope they never will..)

Amount-of-substance concentration[edit]

I would suggest that more needs to be said about amount-of-substance concentration, c, in mol. dm-3 or mol. m-3 as this is the standard measure of concentration in the UK as well as being the alternative to molarity offered by the NIST.


molarity- moles of solute per liter of solvent

No, it's moles of solute per liter of solution (solute and solvent together). Shalom (HelloPeace) 01:30, 4 November 2007 (UTC)


need to add volumes e.g. used in measuring hydrogen peroxide 15:22, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Explain this![edit]

The last sentence of the lead section says:

"Analytical concentration includes all the forms of that substance in the solution."

I know what that means, but it's not immediately obvious, nor is it referenced at that point. I'm not sure if it's discussed later. I think a clearer explanation of this point would help readers. Shalom (HelloPeace) 01:30, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Written awfully[edit]

Part of the reason I never became a chemist is they explain things so darn poorly. What the heck does the following mean?

Normality highlights the chemical nature of salts: in solution, salts dissociate into distinct reactive species (ions such as H+, Fe3+, or Cl-). Normality accounts for any discrepancy between the concentrations of the various ionic species in a solution. For example, in a salt such as MgCl2, there are two moles of Cl- for every mole of Mg2+, so the concentration of Cl- as well as of Mg2+ is said to be 2 N (read: "two normal"). Further examples are given below.--Filll (talk) 01:30, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

why are there two molarity sections?[edit]

they should be combined. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:32, 12 May 2008 (UTC)


The "Normality" section has four subsections (definition, uses, specific cases, practical uses). It is the only term in this list of terms that have subsections. These subsections should either be rolled into a "Normality" page, combined with the first paragraph, or at the very least be annotated as sub-sections. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:35, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Mass-volume ratio[edit]

"i do not know what 's meant by mass volume ratio"

I have removed the "Mass-volume ratio" from the main article until someone can actually provide some details. The above message is the only content in that section. --Freiddie (talk) 00:16, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Percentage Solution[edit]

The Percentage solution page duplicates some of the information on this page. As Percentage solution is a measure of concentration, I think that page should redirect to the appropriate place on this page. Grayob (talk) 17:03, 2 June 2009 (UTC)

I inserted the merge templates into the appropriate places. I still think Percentage solution should redirect to the appropriate place on this page. Also I'm not sure if any of the information on the percentage solution page actually needs to be copied over. I think the style and content of the relevant section on the Concentration page is superior. Grayob (talk) 20:51, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

The information in the Percentage solution page belongs in a number of different sections of the Concentration page, not just in the Mass percentage (fraction) section. --Ben Best (talk) 06:15, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Definition of Concentration[edit]

According to IUPAC (see, concentration is always defined as something "per volume". Thus, mass fraction, mole fraction, and molality are NOT concentrations! If at all, they should only be mentioned here under the header "incorrect usage". RolfSander (talk) 23:03, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

New hatnote[edit]

It's fine to have the new redirection from "Chemical concentration" to this page. However, I don't think the hatnote "Chemical concentration redirects here" is useful. It only provides a link to the page where you are already. Besides, there is already the "other uses" hatnote.--RolfSander (talk) 09:19, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Dependence on volume[edit]

Dependence starting from the referemce value:

for mass concentration

--MagnInd (talk) 23:20, 20 June 2012 (UTC)


for molar concentration--MagnInd (talk) 23:30, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

"SI-units" is not correct, please include a section on Formality.[edit]

See the subject. Refer to the page on Systeme Internationale to see that there, "SI units" is used, not "SI-units". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:57, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Gaseous Concentration[edit]

Ditto the comment from 2006 above, what about gaseous concentration? I am having a difficult time doing calculations on gas mixtures because they are very commonly identified by per cent of each component with no further clarification of whether it is percent by moles, by volume or by weight. Betweendust (talk) 04:00, 25 November 2013 (UTC)