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pH scale

pH scale A logarithmic scale for expressing the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. To a first approximation, the pH of a solution can be defined as –log10c, where c is the concentration of hydrogen ions in moles per cubic decimetre. A neutral solution at 25°C has a hydrogen-ion concentration of 10–7 mol dm–3, so the pH is 7. A pH below 7 indicates an acid solution; one above 7 indicates an alkaline solution. pH stands for ‘potential of hydrogen’. The scale was introduced by S. P. Sørensen (1868–1939) in 1909.

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