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pH facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Lemon juice tastes sour because it contains 5% to 6% citric acid and has a pH of 2.2. (high acidity)

pH (potential of hydrogen) is a scale of acidity from 0 to 14. It tells how acidic or alkaline a substance is. More acidic solutions, have lower pH. More alkaline solutions, have higher pH. Substances that aren't acidic or alkaline (that is, neutral solutions) usually have a pH of 7. Acids have a pH that is less than 7. Alkalis have a pH that is greater than 7.

pH is a measure of the concentration of protons (H+) in a solution. S.P.L. Sørensen introduced this concept in the year 1909. The p stands for the German potenz, meaning power or concentration, and the H for the hydrogen ion (H+).

Alkaline substances have, instead of hydrogen ions, a concentration of hydroxide ions (OH-).

pH indicators

A pH indicator is a chemical compound added in small amounts to a solution so the pH (acidity or basicity) of the solution can be seen. The pH indicator is a chemical detector for hydronium ions (H3O+) or hydrogen ions (H+). Normally, the indicator causes the colour of the solution to change depending on the pH.

Typical indicators are phenolphthalein, methyl orange, methyl red, bromothymol blue, and thymol blue. They each change colour at different points on the pH scale, and can be used together as a universal indicator.

Another way is to use litmus paper, which is based on a natural pH indicators. The paper can tell you how strong the chemical is, whether it is a stronger acid or a stronger base.

Some common pH values

216 pH Scale-01
pH values of some common substances
Battery acid 1.0
Gastric acid 2.0
Lemon juice 2.4
Cola 2.5
Oxygenated water 2.5 - 3.0
Vinegar 3.0
Orange or apple juice 3.5
Beer 4.5
Coffee 5.0
Milk 6.6
Pure water 7.0
Blood 7.35 - 7.45
Plain shampoo 8.0
Sea water 8.0
Permanent wave 8.5 - 9.2
Hand soap 9.0 - 10.0
Hair dye 9.5 - 10.5
Magic straight 11.5
Household ammonia 11.5
Bleach 12.3
Caustic soda 12.7
Household lye 13.5


Neutralisation can be summed up by the equation:

H+ + OHH2O

(acid + basewater)

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: PH para niños