What does 0.12 N mean on a bottle of sulfuric acid?

I just bought a bottle of sulfuric acid in order to simulate acid rain for an experiment. I was wondering what $0.12\:\mathrm{N}$ on the bottle means. I need a simplified version of the explanation as I'm currently a freshman in high school taking biology, I have never taken a chemistry course before. I've read that the $\mathrm{N}$ means normal, but the explanation included a ton of jargon that I couldn't understand.

The time in question: does the $0.12\:\mathrm{N}$ mean concentration, as in $12\%$ concentration?

How would you guys suggest making simulated acid rain with this? My guess is that I would keep titrating the sulfuric acid into the water until the $\mathrm{pH}$ gets to my preferred $\mathrm{pH}$.

0.12N is indeed 0.12 normal. In short, there are 0.12 moles of hydrogen ions per liter. Since this is sulfuric acid, it is 0.06 moles of sulfuric acid per liter.

0.12 moles of hydrogen ions per liter would give a pH just less than 1. To obtain a pH near 3, you would need to dilute 1 mL of this solution to 100 mL. For a pH of 4, dilute 1 mL to 1000 mL.

• Perfect thank you! I also appreciate you giving me an estimate on how much acid I should use to get a certain pH. – Matt Nov 9 '14 at 2:22

density ( g/L) x % by mass / 100 = g/L of H2SO4 g/L / 98 g/mol = molarity N = Molarity x 2

I have calculated grams of pure H2SO4 in 1L .12N solution: Molarity = .06 g/L = .06 x 98 = 5.88 g/L

And then calculated g/L in the 37% solution: 1280 x 37 / 100 = 473.6 g/L

Then calculating how many mL of 37% solution would contain 5.88g: 1000 / (473.6 / 5.88) = 12.42 mL