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Year 11 Preliminary Chemistry: pH of Acids and Bases (Module 3)

Let’s explore the pH of Acids and Bases (Module 3 Preliminary Chemistry)

Hosted by our Talent 100 Academic Director Dr Nikhil Vasan, we’re going to break down a few of the most important topics for each section of Module 3: Metal Activity Series and Displacement Reactions for Preliminary Chemistry (Year 11).

In this episode of Preliminary Chemistry Talent Teaching Series, we’ll be taking a look at pH, a really important part of understanding Acids and Bases in Module 3: Reactive Chemistry.

You’ve probably heard of pH before in relation to Acids and Bases, but we’re going to look at exactly what it is, and how to calculate it.

Why do we need pH?

You might consider acids to be dangerous, but there are lots of acids what we actually consume. For example vinegar, orange juice, and a lot of citrus fruits are also acid. All of these acids are safe to consume, but you wouldn’t hydrochloric acid or sulphuric acid simply because they a lot more ‘acidic.’

How do we actually characterise how acidic a substance is?

Why are some things safe to consume, and other things aren’t? This is why pH is important – it gives us an actual number that tells us exactly how acidic a substance is. The pH scale as you might know is considered to range between two numbers, and this is:

Year 11 Preliminary Chemistry: pH of Acids and Bases (Module 3)

The reason we say this is because almost every substance you can conceive of in the natural world does lie between these two pH’s. However, you can technically get a pH up to negative infinity and infinity. The pH scale is every number, but most things lie from 0 to 14.

The other reasons why these numbers tend to be picked is because the number 7 which lies in the middle of 0 to 14 is super important when it comes to pH. That’s because 7 is the pH of water and in our world, water is basically the most important substance. It’s what we measure acidity and basicity relative to. If water has a pH of 7, it make sense to make that the centre of our scale, and measure everything else on either side of 7. That’s also why 0 and 14 tend to be picked.

What does the pH scale mean, and which substances lie where?

To find out, catch the rest of Nikhil’s revision lesson by watching the video below:

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