The most common way to tell if a liquid is an acid or a base is to submit it to a litmus test. A drop of a liquid acid substance on a test sheet of litmus paper will turn red; if the liquid is base, the color will be blue. Deeper hues of these two colors will indicate percentages of acid or base. Taste is another way of determining whether substances – foods – are acid or bland. Acid foods taste sour and base foods taste bitter. At their more neutral state, which is seven, neither should be detected. The further away from a normal middle ground the substance is the sweeter or sourer will be its taste.
As an example, let us use water, chemically known as H2o, 1 part hydrogen, 2 parts oxygen. Water, then, is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. Normally it is neutral, being neither too acidic nor too bland. At this stage, it is seven. At the neutral stage, the hydrogen and oxygen ions – electrically charged atoms – are equal. However, add one or more of either and the situation changes. More hydrogen ions creates an acid, more hydroxide ions create a base. ( http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/184ph.html)
Ph is the formula for writing and indicating the acid-base scale. The two letters stand for “power of hydrogen.” All elements or their compounds are either of these three conditions, acid, neutral or base. The sliding scale from zero to 7 indicated acid and 7 to 14 indicates base. Mouth puckering lemons, as an example are about 2.3; seawater is around 8.3 on the ph scale.
How acidic are each succeeding number downward from the neutral 7? It is figured using logarithmic calculations and increases or decreases exponentially. “For example, pH 4 is ten times more acidic than pH 5 and 100 times (10 times 10) more acidic than pH 6.” The same values hold true for bases.
Lye is an example of the most caustic base substance is at 14, ammonia at twelve, baking soda an 8. Toward the acid scale, milk is 6, vinegar is 3. Of course, water added or some other acid or base substance dilutes these values. Therefore, the only precise way of knowing which substances are acid or base and to what degree one must use a gauge. These can be purchased in kits or bought separately.
Why is it important to know the ph of elements? The acid or base qualities of food, as an example, have everything to do with the sense of taste and the aroma and the stability of the food substance. substances. In medicine, this knowledge is used is used to measure the content of the body fluids, the appropriateness of the medicine and in diagnosis of diseases.
All industry has need of knowing the proportions of acids or bases and the knowledge of such forms a vital part of their manufacturing processes. As new elements are discovered and their acid base determinations are made, new products are created with the various compounds. Chemists are needed in the evaluation of these processes.