Chemistry for Idiots, Humans and Rebels/Mole Concept/Molarity

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In chemistry, molar concentration (also called molarity, amount concentration or substance concentration) is a measure of the concentration of a solute in a solution, or of any molecular, ionic, or atomic species in a given volume.
Definition - Molar concentration or molarity is most commonly in units of moles of solute per liter of solution. For use in broader applications, it is defined as amount of solute per unit volume of solution, or per unit volume available to the species, represented by lowercase c.


The SI Units of measurement for molar concentration are mol/m3. However, most chemical literature traditionally uses mol/dm3, or mol dm-3, which is the same as mol/L. These traditional units are often denoted by a capital letter M (pronounced "molar"), sometimes preceded by an SI prefix, as in:

mol/m3 = 10-3 mol/dm3 = 10-3 mol/L = 10-3 M = 1 mM .

The words "millimolar" and "micromolar" refer to mM and μM (10-3 mol/L and 10-6 mol/L), respectively.

Name Abbreviation Concentration
Millimolar mM 10-3 molar
Micromolar μM 10-6 molar
Nanomolar nM 10-9 molar
Picomolar pM 10-12 molar
Femtomolar fM 10-15 molar
Attomolar aM 10-18 molar
Zeptomolar zM 10-21 molar
Yoctomolar yM[1] 10-24 molar
(1 molecule per 1.6 liters)


Most proteins are present in the bacteria such as E. coli at 60 copies or fewer. The volume of a bacterium is 10−15 L, which gives us c = N/(NAV) = 10−7 M = 100 nM. (Here, nM is "nanomolar", i.e. 10-9 moles per liter).

Consider the preparation of 100 ml of a 2 M solution of NaCl in water. Since the molar mass of NaCl is 58 g/mol, the total mass needed is 2*(58 g)*(100 ml)/(1000 ml) = 11.6 g. Dissolve this in ~80 ml of water, and add water until the total volume reaches 100 ml.

By contrast, consider 11.6 g of NaCl dissolved in 100 ml of water. The density of water is about 1 g/ml, meaning that the final concentration of NaCl by mass will be (11.6 g)/(11.6 g + 100 g) = 10.4 %. The density of such a solution is 1.07 g/ml, and its volume will be (11.6 g + 100 g)/(1.07 g/ml) = 104.3 ml. The molar concentration of NaCl in the solution will therefore be (11.6 g)/(58 g/mol)/(104.3 ml)*1000 = 1.92 M.

Water approximates 1 kilogram (1000 grams) per liter under usual circumstances with a molecular mass of 18.0153. So the concentration of water in pure water is 55.5 molar. Likewise the concentration of hydrogen in solid hydrogen is 88 grams per liter / molecular weight 2.016 = 43.7 molar, and the concentration of osmium tetroxide in osmium tetroxide is 5.1 kilograms per liter / molecular weight 254.23 = 20.1 molar.

Reference ranges for blood tests, sorted by molar concentration.
  1. David Bradley. "How low can you go? The Y to Y".