Understanding pH is essential in chemistry and biology. pH is defined by
the following equation,
pH = −log [H+] ,
where [H+] denotes the molar hydrogen
ion concentration. Notice that we are required to take
the common (base 10) logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration
in order to calculate pH.
Because pH is a measure of hydrogen ion concentration,
it is used to
quantitatively characterize solutions as acidic,
neutral, or basic (alkaline). The typical pH scale runs from 0 - 14.
A pH of 7 is neutral, a pH < 7 is called acidic while pH > 7 is called
A note of caution while working with pH.
Remember that pH is calculated on a logarithmic scale, therefore small
differences in pH represent much larger differences in hydrogen ion concentration.
a solution with pH 3 ( i.e. [H+] = 1 × 10 − 3 M )
is ten times more acidic
a solution with pH 4 (i.e. [H+] =
1 × 10 − 4 M )
fact, for each unit increase in pH,
there is a 10 fold increase in the hydrogen ion concentration.
For more on pH see the Acids
and Bases Problem Set of the Chemistry section.
Now that you have been introduced to some pH basics,
try the following 6 problems.
1- Calculate the pH of lemon juice
2 - Calculate the pH of an unknown solution
- Find the hydrogen ion concentration of an unknown solution
4 -Determine the hydrogen concentration of blood
5 - Compare the acidity of two solutions
6 - The pH range of blood
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