By Dr. Donald G. McGahan

The molecular weight of a substance is the weight of 6.022 x 1023 molecules (1 mole). When the molecular weight is expressed in grams it is sometimes more explicitly called the gram molecular weight (1 gmol).

Molality (m)

Molality is defined as the number of moles of an element or a compound, the solute, that is added per kg of solvent (not solution): molarity cannot be computed from m without the density of the solvent.

Molarity (M)

Molarity is defined as the number of moles of an element, ion or compound per litter of solution.

Normality (N)

Normality is defined as the number of equivalent weights of a substance per litter of solution. (Equivalent weight is the amount of a substance that will produce, neutralize, replace, or exchange for one mole (l g) of hydrogen ions).

Parts per million (ppm)

ppm is a percentage expression on a million basis; 1 ppm represents 1 g of an element per million grams of solution or 1 lb of an element per million pounds of solution or soil. Since it can be solution, or soil, (a solution or solid) it is a depreciated term and scientists now work to avoid the term.

The most commonly used concentrations in soils work are molarity (M), normality (N), and ppm.