PH - Applications


Water has a pH of pKw/2, so the pH of pure water is about 7 at 25°C; this value varies with temperature. When an acid is dissolved in water, the pH will be less than that of pure water. When a base, or alkali, is dissolved in water, the pH will be greater than that of pure water. A solution of a strong acid, such as hydrochloric acid, at concentration 1 mol/dm−3 has a pH of 0. A solution of a strong alkali, such as sodium hydroxide, at concentration 1 mol/dm−3, has a pH of 14. Thus, measured pH values will lie mostly in the range 0 to 14. Since pH is a logarithmic scale, a difference of one pH unit is equivalent to a tenfold difference in hydrogen ion concentration. The pH of an aqueous solution of a salt such as sodium chloride is slightly different from that of pure water, even though the salt is neither acidic nor basic. This is because the hydrogen and hydroxide ions' activity is dependent on ionic strength, so Kw varies with ionic strength..

The pH of pure water decreases with increasing temperatures. For example, the pH of pure water at 50 °C is 6.55. Note, however, that water that has been exposed to air is mildly acidic. This is because water absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, which is then slowly converted into bicarbonate and hydrogen ions:

CO2 + H2O HCO3− + H+

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