The Meaning of PPM: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of PPM? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the abbreviation PPM, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does PPM stand for?

This can also be expressed as milligrams per liter. It is easy to think about PPM visually. Imagine one drop of ink in a 55-gallon water jug, an inch in sixteen miles, a second in 11 and a half days, or a minute in two years. The equivalent for an even smaller concentration would be parts per billion, or PPB. This is the equivalent to one second in 32 years, or one sheet of toilet paper on a roll stretching from New York City to London. 

According to The Free Dictionary, the term PPM can stand for much more than just parts per million. This acronym has many other alternate definitions. While these are still valid, they are less common than parts per million and should therefore be used sparingly. If you do decide to use one of these alternate meanings, make sure that you provide the reader with enough context so that they can infer the correct intended meaning. This should be standard practice with any acronym that has more than one potential definition. 

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How can PPM be used in a sentence?

PPM would most commonly be used in a scientific setting, such as in a laboratory or other experiment. In this example, Natalie and Mary Elizabeth are doing a science experiment in chemistry class.

Natalie: What do we have to answer for the first question?

Mary Elizabeth: How many drops of this chemical would give our concentration a 2 PPM concentration?

Natalie: Got it. So we have a 110 gallon tub of water. That would mean adding four drops of the chemical. 

Mary Elizabeth: Great. I’ll write that down.

Here, Natalie and Mary Elizabeth use the term PPM to refer to their diluted solution in their chemistry class. PPM is often used in science experiments and laboratory work in which a chemical needs to be heavily diluted. This might be for safety reasons, or it might be for other reasons. It is definitely difficult to visualize such a small amount, and helps when you think about larger scale applications such as the examples that were mentioned earlier in the article.

Overall, the acronym PPM most commonly stands for parts per million. This abbreviation is used in chemistry and other sciences to represent one part out of one million. This would be the equivalent of one drop of ink inside a 55-gallon jug of water.