PPM to mg/L Converter

Created by Bogna Szyk
Reviewed by Jack Bowater
Last updated: Sep 08, 2022

If you have ever wondered how to convert from PPM to mg/L, this calculator is the tool for you! It will help you convert between both of these ratios for the solution of any substance in water. It also allows you to find the molar concentration of the solution. If you are not sure what PPM or mg/L means, it's high time you found out!

What are PPM and mg/L?

PPM and mg/L are two different measures of substance concentration.

  • PPM, or parts per million, is the number of parts of a substance in a million parts of the solution or mixture. For example, let's assume you want to measure the salinity of water. PPM is the number of salt parts per a million parts of the entire solution, both water and salt.
  • mg/L, or milligrams per liter, is a measure of concentration. It states how many milligrams of the substance can be found in a liter of the solution or mixture.

Converting between PPM and mg/L

The relation between PPM and mg/L is dependent on the solute density. Imagine that you add 10 grams of a substance to a liter of water. If the substance is dense, like oil, it will have a smaller volume — and consequently, the solution will have a smaller PPM ratio. For substances of low density (for example alcohol), the PPM ratio will be much higher, even though the mg/L ratio stays constant.

For converting PPM to mg/L, follow these steps:

  1. Choose the solute — is the substance diluted with water, acetone or something else? Let's choose oil with the density equal to 920 kg/m³.

  2. Determine the PPM value for your solution. Let's say you have created a solution with 1,230 PPM of oil.

  3. Use the following formula to find the mg/L ratio:

    milligrams per liter = PPM * density / 1,000

  4. In this case,

    milligrams per liter = 1,230 * 920 / 1,000 = 1,131.6 mg/L

    It means that 1,230 PPM is equivalent to 1,131.6 mg/L of oil in water.

Special case: water

As you may know, the density of water is equal to 1,000 kg/m³. It means that every cubic meter of water weighs 1,000 kg. Let's recalculate the units:

1,000 kg/m³
= 1,000,000 g/m³
= 1,000,000,000 mg/m³
= 1,000,000 mg/dm³
= 1,000,000 mg/L

That means that every liter of water contains exactly a million milligrams of water. That means that if the substance dissolved in water has a density that is equal to or almost equal to the density of water, you can assume that 1 PPM = 1 mg/L.

Remember that this equality is valid only for very specific conditions — pure water at a standard pressure and temperature.

Calculating the molar concentration

If you already know the mg/L ratio of your solution, you can also use this PPM to mg/L converter to calculate the molarity. This parameter describes the number of moles in a liter of the solution and is expressed in molars (1 M = mol/L).

To find the molarity, you need to know an additional parameter — the molar mass of your solute (substance dissolved in water). It is expressed in grams per mole. Use the following formula:

molarity = milligrams per liter / (molar mass * 1,000)

For example, oil has a molar mass equal to 900 g/mol. We can use the previously calculated mg/L ration to determine the molarity:

molarity = 1,131.6 / (900 * 1,000) = 0.00126 M

FAQ

How do I convert PPM to milligrams per liter?

To determine PPM given milligrams per liter, follow these steps:

  1. Divide PPM by the solute density expressed in kg/m³.
  2. Multiply the result from Step 1 by 1,000.
  3. That's it! The result you've got is in mg/L.

How do I calculate PPM and milligrams per liter for water?

We assume 1 PPM = 1 mg/L if the density of the substance we dissolved in water is more or less equal to 1,000 kg/m³, i.e., to the density of water. Remember, this is only an approximation, and its validity depends on the temperature, the purity of water, etc.

Is PPM the same as mg/L?

The answer is negative. Note that mg/L is a measure of concentration as it is a ratio of mass to volume, while PPM is the ratio of the number of particles (of our substance) to the number of particles (of the solution). You need to know the solute density to convert one to the other.

What is 50 PPM in mg/L?

The answer depends on the solute density. If it's 1,000 kg/m³ (water), then 50 PPM is 50 mg/L. But if the density is 920 kg/m³ (oil), then 50 PPM is 46 mg/L. In general, 50 PPM is 50 * density / 1,000 mg/L.

Bogna Szyk
Parts per million
ppm
Solute density
lb/cu ft
Milligrams per liter
mg/L
Solute molar mass
g
/mol
Molar concentration
M
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