Note that the conversions into proper units are done inside the equation, and that the conversions for [Co] and Qo are inside pairs of braces {}. Once accustomed to viewing these conversions, you may not need these braces anymore.

One last method of ascertaining units in a calculation is the use of consistent units. If a system of units is used consistently, then it is not necessary to keep track of the units in a given calculation. The proper unit of the answer will automatically fall into place.

The system of units is based upon the general dimensions of space, mass, and time. Space may be in terms of displacement or volume and mass may be in terms of absolute mass or relative mass. An example of absolute mass is the gram, and an example of relative mass is the mole. The mole is a relative mass, because it expresses the ratio of the absolute mass to the molecular mass of the substance. When the word mass is used without qualification, absolute mass is intended.

The following are examples of systems of units: meter-kilogram-second (mks), meter-gram-second (mgs), liter-gram-second (lgs), centimeter-gram-second (cgs), liter-grammoles-second (lgmols), meter-kilogrammoles-second (mkmols), centi-meter-grammoles-second (cgmols), etc. Any equation that is derived analytically does not need to have its units specified, because the units will automatically conform to the general dimension of space, mass, and time. In other words, the units are automatically specified by the system of units chosen. For example, if the mks system of units is chosen, then the measurement of distance is in units of meters, the measurement of mass is in units of kilograms, and the measurement of time is in seconds. Also, if the lgs system of units is used, then the volume is in liters, the mass is in grams, and the time is in seconds. To repeat, if consistent units are used, it is not necessary to keep track of the units of the various factors, because these units will automatically fall into place by virtue of the choice of the system of units. The use of a consistent system of units is illustrated in the next example.

Example 4 The formula used to calculate the amount of acid needed to lower the pH of water is

10 pHto iQ-pHcur

Calculate the amount of acid needed using the lgmols system of units.

Solution: Of course, to intelligently use the above equation, all the factors should be explained. We do not need to do it here, however, because we only need to make substitutions. Because the lgmols units is to be used, volume is in liters, mass is in gram moles, and time is in seconds. Therefore, the corresponding concentration is in gram moles per liter (gmols/L). Another unit of measurement of concentration is also used in this equation, and this is equivalents per liter. For the lgmols system, this will be gram equivalents per liter (geq/L).

Now, values for the factors need to be given. These are shown below and note that no units are given. Because the lgmols system is used, they are understood to be either geq/L or gmols/L. Again, it is not necessary to keep track of the units; they are understood from the system of units used.


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