The pH Concept

11- Definition : The pH of a solution is a measure of the molar concentration of hydrogen ions
in the solution and as such is a measure of
the acidity or basicity of the solution. The
letters pH stand for "power of hydrogen"
and the numerical value is defined as the
negative base 10 logarithm of the molar
concentration of hydrogen ions.

pH = -log10[H+]

12-pH measurement.

Meters for pH measurement can give
precise numerical values, but approximate
values can be obtained with various
indicators. Red and blue litmus paper has been one of the common indicators. Red litmus
paper turns blue at a basic pH of about 5, and blue litmus paper turns red at an acid pH of
about 8. Neither changes color if the pH is nearly neutral. Litmus is an organic compound
derived from lichens.

Phenolpthalein is also a common indicator, being colorless in solution at pH below 8 and
turning pink for pH above 8.
13- the ionic Product of water Kw

Though water is regarded as a non-conductor, yet even the purest water has a
small conductivity as it ionises to a very slight extent.

Exercise 1 :
An aqueous solution of methanoic acid HCO 2 H with a concentration of C = 3.0 ×
10 -2 mol / l has a pH of 2.65 at 25.degree.
1. Write the equation of the reaction that occurs when dissolving the acid
Methanoic acid in water.
2. Determine the concentrations of oxonium ions, methanoate ions and
Methanoic acid in this solution.
3. Deduce the values of the acidity constant KA and the pKA of the couple considered at

Ex5. Benzoic acid
A solution S is obtained by dissolving 0.50 g of benzoic acid in 250 mL of water. The pH
Of the solution is 2.8.
1) Calculate the amount of benzoic acid introduced and the concentration of
2) Show that benzoic acid is a weak acid.
3) What are the acid-base pairs that occurred during the dissolution? For each
Couple write the expression of its constant acidity.
Acid - base indicators (also known as pH indicators) are substances which change color with
pH. They are usually weak acids or bases.

Consider an indicator which is a weak acid, with the formula HIn. At equilibrium, the
following chemical equation is established.

HIn(aq) + H2O(l) In-(aq) + H3O+(aq)
acid base
color A color B

The acid and its conjugate base have different colors. At low pH, the concentration of H3O+ is
high and so the equilibrium position lies to the left. The equilibrium solution has the color A.
At high pH, the concentration of H3O+ is low and so the equilibrium position thus lies to the
right and the equilibrium solution has color B.

Phenolphthalein is an example of an indicator which establishes this type of equilibrium in
aqueous solution: