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PPM vs. PPMV: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 15, 2024
PPM (parts per million) measures concentration by mass, while PPMV (parts per million by volume) measures gaseous concentration by volume.

Key Differences

PPM is a unit of measurement used to denote the concentration of a substance in a mixture, calculated as the ratio of mass per million parts of the solution. PPMV, specific to gases, measures the number of gas molecules in a million molecules of air.
In PPM, the substance concentration is typically calculated in terms of weight, making it applicable to solids and liquids. PPMV is used for gases, where volume ratios are more relevant than weight.
PPM is widely used in chemistry, environmental science, and engineering to denote very small concentrations. PPMV, being specific to gases, is commonly used in atmospheric science and air quality monitoring.
The usage of PPM is universal for any type of solution, while PPMV is confined to expressing concentrations in gaseous mixtures.
Conversion between PPM and PPMV can be complex and depends on the physical properties of the substances involved, such as density and molecular weight.

Comparison Chart


Parts per million by mass
Parts per million by volume


Solids, liquids, gases


Mass per unit volume
Volume per unit volume


Chemistry, environmental science
Atmospheric science, air quality


Based on mass
Based on volume

PPM and PPMV Definitions


Common in environmental science for pollutant measurement.
The air quality report showed 5 PPM of sulfur dioxide.


A unit for measuring gas concentration by volume.
The greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were measured at 400 PPMV.


A unit measuring concentration by mass.
The water sample contained 10 PPM of lead.


Used specifically for gases in atmospheric sciences.
The ozone concentration was found to be 3 PPMV in the lower atmosphere.


Denotes parts of a substance in a million parts of the solution.
The soil was tested to have 15 PPM of arsenic.


Used in climate change research for greenhouse gas concentration.
Methane was recorded at 2 PPMV in the global atmospheric survey.


Used in various industries to denote minute quantities.
The gold ore had a concentration of 2 PPM of gold.


Represents volume of gas per million volumes of air.
Carbon monoxide levels were detected at 1 PPMV in the city center.


Useful in precise scientific calculations and formulations.
The chemical solution was prepared with 1 PPM of the catalyst.


Important for air quality and environmental monitoring.
The PPMV of nitrogen oxides was higher in industrial areas.


(initialism) common Parts per million. (10000 ppm = 1%)


(initialism) page(s) per minute


Can PPM be used for liquids?

Yes, PPM is applicable to liquids, solids, and gases.

What does PPM stand for?

Parts per million, a unit of concentration.

What is PPMV?

Parts per million by volume, used for gases.

Can PPMV be used for pollutants?

Yes, especially for gaseous pollutants in the atmosphere.

How is PPM calculated?

PPM is calculated as the mass of the substance per million parts of the mixture.

Are PPM and PPMV interchangeable?

No, they are not interchangeable as they measure different aspects (mass vs. volume).

Why is PPM used in chemistry?

PPM is used for its precision in measuring very small concentrations of substances.

Do medical fields use PPM?

Yes, for measuring trace elements and substances in pharmaceuticals.

How is PPMV used in air quality monitoring?

It measures the concentration of pollutants in the air.

Is PMV specific to any substance?

PPMV is specific to gases and their concentrations in air.

What's a common use of PPM in industry?

PPM is used for quality control in manufacturing, to measure impurities.

Why is PPM important in environmental regulations?

It sets standards for permissible levels of pollutants.

Can PPM be converted to PPMV?

Yes, but it requires knowledge of the substance's density and molecular weight.

What's the importance of PPMV in environmental science?

PPMV is crucial for measuring atmospheric gases and monitoring air quality.

How does temperature affect PPMV measurements?

Temperature can affect the volume of gases, thus impacting PPMV readings.

What equipment is used to measure PPMV?

Gas analyzers and detectors are commonly used.

Is PPM used in agriculture?

Yes, for measuring nutrients and contaminants in soil and water.

Is PPM relevant in water testing?

Yes, it's used to measure contaminants in water.

What's the role of PPMV in climate research?

It's used to measure greenhouse gas concentrations in climate studies.

Can PPM be used for gas measurements?

Yes, but it's based on mass rather than volume.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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