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Understanding pH Name(s): Jessica Swanson Class: AP Biology Date: July 29, 2013

Part I: What is pH?

1. What is pH?: Read all of the information on the first page. Select "Concentration of Hydrogen Ions" from the left menu and read the first section only. The end of this section is marked with two stars. pH is a unit of measurement to represent a characteristic of a solution.

2. What does pH represent? pH represents the alkalinity or acidity of a solution.

3. Label the following pH scale with the appropriate numbers and these terms: acidity (acid), alkalinity (base), neutral. Write your labels below the rectangle. Later, you will fill in the rectangle with other information. pH Scale tonic water lemon juice aspirin vinegar lemon soap 0 (acidity) 1 2 3 4 5 6 milk of magnesia ammonia water baking soda liquid plumber lava soap borax 7 (neutral) 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 (alkalinity)

Acids make red litmus paper red and blue litmus paper red.

Bases make red litmus paper blue and blue litmus paper blue.

4. When is a solution acidic? A solution is acidic when the pH is below 7.

5. When is a solution alkaline (basic)? A solution is basic when the pH is above 7.

Part II: pH of Common Substances

Use the pH Panel to collect the data needed to complete the pH scale diagram (refer to question 2). Below the rectangle are the numbers 0, 7, and 14 (if you answered question 2 correctly). Write in all of the missing numbers (1-6 and 8-13), spaced appropriately. In the body of the rectangle, add a point to represent the pH of each of the substances below. Label each point with the substance name.

lemon juice baking soda aspirin ammonia soap borax

water dish detergent vinegar tonic water drain cleaner You've now related the pH scale to common substances.

Part III: pH & Concentration

In Part I, you learned that pH has something to do with hydrogen concentration. Let's investigate that relationship in more detail.

Using the Simulation

Open the Virtual Lab. Click on a solution name (in the list of IrYdium solutions) and then click on the top icon in the Workbench. The solution appears on the Workbench and its volume, components, and pH appear on the right of the screen. Additional solutions can be added to the Workbench, following the same steps.

To combine the solutions, drag the image that represents one solution until it is on top of the other solution image. At the bottom of the screen, type in the number of milliliters of solution you wish to add. Click on the Pour button to add the designated volume. The volume, components, and pH of the resulting solution appear on the right side of the screen.

If you want to remove an item from the Workbench, right-click on the solution and select "Remove" from the menu. To clear all items from the Workbench, right-click on the workbench and choose "Select All" from the menu. Then press the Delete key on your keyboard.


Double-click on Strong-acids and select 0.1 M HCl. Scroll up to select distilled water (H2O). On the Workbench, click on the third icon to select a 50-mL graduated cylinder. Transfer 5.0 mL HCl to the graduated cylinder. Note the H+ concentration and pH on the right side of the simulation. This data has been recorded for you in Table 1. Add 45.0 ml distilled water to the same graduated cylinder. Record the new H+ concentration and pH in the second row of Table 1. Note: the simulation calculates pH with more precision than is needed for this lesson. Round pH to the nearest whole number. For the remaining trials, you'll need to transfer a small amount of the HCl and water solution to a new graduated cylinder. Then add the volume of distilled water indicated. (Otherwise, the graduated cylinder will overflow.) Complete Table 1. Clear the Workbench. Follow the same steps to complete Table 2, beginning with 0.1 M NaOH (a strong base).

Look carefully at the data in Tables 1 and 2. A solution with a pH = 1 is 10 times (stronger, weaker) than a solution with a pH = 2.

A solution with a pH = 4 is 1000 times (stronger, weaker) than a solution with a pH = 1.

A solution with a pH = 8 is 100 times (more, less) basic than a solution with a pH = 6.

A solution with a pH = 5 is 1000 times (more, less) acidic than a solution with a pH = 8.

A solution with a pH = 3 is 1000 times (more, less) basic than a solution with a pH = 6.

6. Why can small changes in pH have a large effect on the properties of a solution? It changes a major characteristic of the solution which can have a larger scale effect with continued use. Changes in pH will cause a solution to react differently to other chemicals.

7. What pattern do you see regarding the concentration of an acid or base and its pH? The higher the concentration of H+ ions, the more acidic. The lower the concentration of H+ ions, the more basic.

Part IV: Calculating pH

Read the information at the Math Skills Review web site. Disregard the information on natural logarithms and significant figures. Stop reading when you come to the Antilogarithms section. Answer the questions below.

8. What is a logarithm? Logarithm is the power the number 10 must be raised to in order to reach a certain number.

9. What is the logarithm of 103? 2.012837225

10. How can you determine the logarithm of a number like 6.25 x 10 -9? Enter it into a scientific calculator using the log function. Then, measure out the correct number of significant figures by making the mantissa (the right of the decimal point) as many significant figures as the number whose log was found.

11. What is the formula for pH (in words)? The negative of the logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration.

12. What is the pH of a solution whose H+ concentration is 10 -8 M? Is this an acid or base? 8, base 13. What is the pH of a solution whose H+ concentration is 4.26 x 10 -5 M? Is this an acid or base? 4.371, acid 14. What is the pH of a solution whose H+ concentration is 3.59 x 10 -11 M? Is this an acid or base? 10.445, base