What is pH?

  • (noun): (chemistry) p(otential of) H(ydrogen); the logarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen-ion concentration in gram atoms per liter; provides a measure on a scale from 0 to 14 of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution (where 7 is neutral and greater than 7 is acidic and less than 7 is basic).
    Synonyms: pH scale


In chemistry, pH is a measure of the activity of the (solvated) hydrogen ion. p, which measures the hydrogen ion concentration is closely related to, and is often written as, pH. Pure water has a pH very close to 7 at 25°C. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline. The pH scale is traceable to a set of standard solutions whose pH is established by international agreement. Primary pH standard values are determined using a concentration cell with transference, by measuring the potential difference between a hydrogen electrode and a standard electrode such as the silver chloride electrode. Measurement of pH for aqueous solutions can be done with a glass electrode and a pH meter, or using indicators.

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