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We have previously talked about molarity as a method for expressing concentration.
The second expression used to describe concentration of a solution is the normality.
Normality can be defined as the number of equivalents of solute dissolved in 1 L of
solution. Therefore, it is important for us to define what we mean by the number of
equivalents, as well as the equivalent weight of a substance as a parallel term to
formula weight.
An equivalent is defined as the weight of substance giving an Avog number of
reacting units. Reacting units are either protons (in acid base reactions) or electrons
(in oxidation reduction reactions). For example, HCl has one reacting unit (H+ )
when reacting with a base like NaOH but sulfuric acid has two reacting units (two
protons) when reacting completely with a base. Therefore, we say that the
equivalent weight of HCl is equal to its formula weight and the equivalent weight of
sulfuric acid is one half its formula weight. In the reaction where Mn(VII), in KMnO4,
is reduced to Mn(II) five electrons are involved and the equivalent weight of KMnO4
is equal to its formula weight divided by 5.
Number of equivalents = Normality x VL = (eq/L) x L
Number of milliequivalents = Normality x VmL = (meq/mL) x mL
Also, number of equivalents = wt(g)/equivalent weight (g/eq)
Or, number of milliequivalents = wt(mg)/equivalent weight (mg/meq)
Let us not be lost by the above arguments and make concepts more practical. I
think you just need to know the following to answer any problem related to
normality calculations:
Equivalent weight = FWt /n Number of equivalents = n x number of moles
Also, N = n M Where n is the number of reacting units ( protons or electrons ) and if
you are forming factors always remember that a mole contains n equivalents. The
factor becomes (1 mol/n eq) or (n eq/1 mol). One last thing to keep in mind is that
when dealing with normality problems always 1 eq of A reacts with 1 eq of B
regardless of the stoichiometry of the reaction since this stoichiometry was used in
the calculation of normalities.