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how much does a grain of salt weigh in micrograms

How much does a grain of salt weigh in micrograms?

How much does a grain of salt weigh in micrograms?

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How much does a grain of salt weigh in micrograms?
How much does a grain of salt weigh in micrograms?



In the metric system, a microgram or microgramme is a unit of mass equal to one millionth (1×10−6) of a gram. The unit symbol is μg according to the International System of Units; the recommended symbol in the United States and United Kingdom when communicating medical information is mcg. In μg the prefix symbol for micro- is the Greek letter μ (Mu).


Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of salts; salt in the form of a natural crystalline mineral is known as rock salt or halite. It is present in vast quantities in seawater. The open ocean has about 35 g (1.2 oz) of solids per liter of sea water, a salinity of 3.5%.

Salt is essential for life in general, and saltiness is one of the basic human tastes. It is one of the oldest and most ubiquitous food seasonings, and salting is an important method of food preservation.

Some of the earliest evidence of salt processing dates to around 6,000 BC, when people living in the area of present-day Romania boiled spring water to extract salts; a salt-works in China dates to approximately the same period.

Salt was also prized by the ancient Hebrews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Hittites, Egyptians, and the Indians. Salt became an important article of trade and was transported by boat across the Mediterranean Sea, along specially built salt roads, and across the Sahara on camel caravans.

The scarcity and universal need for salt have led nations to go to war over it and use it to raise tax revenues. Salt is used in religious ceremonies and has other cultural and traditional significance.

Salt is processed from salt mines, and by the evaporation of seawater (sea salt) and mineral-rich spring water in shallow pools. Its major industrial products are caustic soda and chlorine; salt is used in many industrial processes including the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride, plastics, paper pulp and many other products.

Of the annual global production of around two hundred million tonnes of salt, about 6% is used for human consumption. Other uses include water conditioning processes, deicing highways, and agricultural use. Edible salt is sold in forms such as sea salt and table salt which usually contains an anti-caking agent and may be iodised to prevent iodine deficiency. As well as its use in cooking and at the table, salt is present in many processed foods.

Sodium is an essential nutrient for human health via its role as an electrolyte and osmotic solute. Excessive salt consumption may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, in children and adults. Such health effects of salt have long been studied.

Accordingly, numerous world health associations and experts in developed countries recommend reducing consumption of popular salty foods. The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium, equivalent to 5 grams of salt per day.

Grain of salt

To take something with a “grain of salt” or “pinch of salt” is an English idiom that suggests to view something, specifically claims that may be misleading or unverified, with skepticism or to not interpret something literally.

In the old-fashioned English units of weight, a grain weighs approximately 65 mg, which is about how much table salt a person might pick up between the fingers as a pinch.


Hypotheses of the phrase’s origin include Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia, regarding the discovery of a recipe for an antidote to a poison. In the antidote, one of the ingredients was a grain of salt. Threats involving the poison were thus to be taken “with a grain of salt”, and therefore less seriously.

The phrase cum grano salis (“with a grain of salt”) is not what Pliny wrote. It is constructed according to the grammar of modern European languages rather than Classical Latin. Pliny’s actual words were addito salis grano (“after having added a grain of salt”).

An alternative account says that the Roman general Pompey believed that he could make himself immune to poison by ingesting small amounts of various poisons, and he took this treatment with a grain of salt to help him swallow the poison. In this version, the salt is not the antidote. It was taken merely to assist in swallowing the poison.

The Latin word sal (salis is the genitive) means both “salt” and “wit”, thus the Latin phrase cum grano salis could be translated to either “with a grain of salt” or “with a grain of wit”, actually to “with caution”/cautiously.

The phrase is typically said “with a pinch of salt” in British English and said “with a grain of salt” in American English.


Grains of table salt vary slightly in size, but three average grains stacked together adds up to approximately one mm. If three grains equal one millimeter in length, then a single grain is approximately 0.3 mm or 0.03 cm on a side.


How much does a grain of salt weigh in micrograms?
How much does a grain of salt weigh in micrograms?



The micron is the unit of measure used for specifying filtration capability. A micron is 1 millionth of a meter and is a metric unit of measure. The diameter of a human hair is in the range of 90 microns while a small grain of table salt is approximately 40 microns. 1 inch is 25400 microns.


The mass of a grain of salt is approximately 0.00005850 grams.


Sizes. Size of sea salt aerosols ranges widely from ~0.05 to 10 μm in diameter, with most of masses concentrated in super-micron range (coarse mode), and highest number concentration in sub-micron range. Correspondingly, sea salt aerosols have a wide range of atmospheric lifetimes.


Koshering salt – or kosher salt, in the U.S. – is flakier and coarser-grained than regular table salt. Its large grain size makes it perfect for sprinkling on top of meat, where it releases a surprising blast of flavor. Kosher salt also dissolves quickly, making it a perfect all-purpose cooking salt.

Approximately how many atoms are in a grain of salt?


This is mainly an estimation problem — there is no exact measure of how big a ‘grain of salt’ is. So, the answer will be only correct within an order of magnitude (a factor of 10).

The first step is to estimate how large a grain of salt is. I spilt some salt onto the table, and visually estimated that about three grains of salt placed end-to-end are about a millimeter long. (Your mileage may vary.) So, as a simple estimate, I’ll assume that salt grains are 0.3 millimeters long.

The next assumption is that salt crystals are cubes, with 0.3 millimeter sides. In fact they tend to be, since the crystal structure of NaCl is cubic. However, most have broken corners, but we will ignore that.

The density of NaCl is about 2.165 gr/cm3. With the cube assumption, we find that a grain of salt is about 5.85×10^-5 grams. (We could have arrived at this result by weighing an individual grain, or by weighing a gram and then counting the number of grains in it, but this is left as an exercise for the PhysLink reader.)

The next thing we need is the weight of a ‘salt atom’. There is no such thing as a salt atom, it consists of Na (sodium) and Cl (chlorine) atoms. So, we need to use an average value. The atomic mass of Na is 23 gr per mole, and the atomic mass of Cl is 35.5 gr per mole. So, the average ‘atomic weight of salt’ is 29.25 grams per mole.

Now it is a simple matter to find how many atoms there are in a grain of salt. (Note that one mole contains Avogadro’s number of atoms, which is 6.02×1023.)

So a grain of salt contains about:

5.85×10-5 gr/ (29.25 gr / 6.02×1023) = 1.2×1018 atoms, half of which are sodium atoms. (The other half is chlorine atoms, of course.)


How much does a grain of salt weigh in micrograms?
How much does a grain of salt weigh in micrograms?


What’s the difference between a milligram and a microgram?

Mg, Mcg, ug, IU the measuring of vitamins and minerals can be confusing. Here we help you through the vitamin measurement maze.


A gram is a metric measurement of weight. An old imperial measure of weight is the ounce and one ounce = 28.4 grams.


One milligram is one thousandth of a gram and one thousand micrograms. A milligram is generally abbreviated as mg.


One microgram is one millionth of a gram and one thousandth of a milligram. It is usually abbreviated as mcg or ug. Mcg and ug are the same.


The IU is an International Unit, usually used to measure fat soluble vitamins including Vitamin A, D and E.
The conversion of IU to mg varies depending on the nutrient.


Please remember that ‘more’ isn’t necessarily better in nutrition. Many nutrients are only required in microgram amounts and taking larger amounts could be unnecessary or even detrimental to health.




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