pH scale

  

Definition

A measure of acidity or alkalinity of water soluble substances (pH stands for 'potential of Hydrogen'). A pH value is a number from 1 to 14, with 7 as the middle (neutral) point. Values below 7 indicate acidity which increases as the number decreases, 1 being the most acidic. Values above 7 indicate alkalinity which increases as the number increases, 14 being the most alkaline. This scale, however, is not a linear scale like a centimeter or inch scale (in which two adjacent values have the same difference). It is a logarithmic scale in which two adjacent values increase or decrease by a factor of 10. For example, a pH of 3 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 4, and 100 times more acidic than a pH of 5. Similarly, a pH of 9 is 10 times more alkaline than a pH of 8, and 100 more alkaline than a pH of 7. Invented in 1909 by the Danish biochemist S. P. Sørensen (1869-1939).

Use pH scale in a sentence

  • The PH scale balance of the lake had become heavily tilted towards the acidic because of leaching of waste products from a nearby factory.

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  • The pH of the caustic base used in dissolving animal flesh in a tissue digesting machine is 12 on the pH scale.

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  • We use a pH scale to check the water in our pool, to make sure it is not too alkaline or too acidic.

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