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Anyone that has actually stupassed away any chemistry even at junior high school level will have come throughout the odd little bit abbreviation, pH, via its reduced case p and its top situation H. The pH scale is a numeric range, a logarithmic range in reality, offered to specify the acidity or basicity (alkalinity) of an aqueous solution. A solution that has actually a pH of 0is extremely acidic through a high concentration of hydrogen ions (although points can be of greater acidity), a pH of 7 is a neutral solution, equal concentrations of hydrogen ions and their fundamental equivalent hydroxy ions. While pH 14 represents a high concentration of hydroxy ions, aobtain you deserve to have a pH beyond that, however for most prevalent functions, pH 0to 14 covers pretty much every normal instance.

You are watching: What does p stand for in chemistry

The pH range was devised by the Danish chemist Søren Peder Lauritz Sørensen at the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1909 and later modified to its contemporary create in 1924 to accommodate interpretations and measurements in terms of electrochemical cells. The pH of a solution approximates to the negative of the base 10 logarithm of the concentration of hydrogen atoms present in the solution measured in systems of moles per litre (molar concentration).Sørensen was born 150 years earlier this year, January 9 1868.

The H in pH stands for hydrogen. But, tright here is some conflict as to what the p represents. The Carlsberg Foundation itself says pH indicates "power of hydrogen". However, Germale chemists case it stands for Potenz (likewise definition power), whereas the French say it is their word for power, puissance. Old Romans would certainly have it that it's a Latin phrase, pondus hydrogenii (meaning amount of hydrogen), or possibly potentia hydrogenii (capacity of hydrogen). The Brits would certainly say it's nopoint even more complex thanpotential hydrogen. However before, there is some idea that Sørensen used the letters p and also q to label his electrodes: the positive, hydrogen electrode, being p, the negative, next in the alphabet, for this reason q.

Nature Chemistry's Chief Editor Stuart Cantrill stirred up his twitter followers newly by posing the simple-seeming question asking them what the p in pH stands for. Many kind of thought he was taking the p others told alluded to him that he have to mind his p's and also q's. However, the majority of the guesses were those cited above and also Cantrill claimed he was simply having a little pHun...the fact, perhaps, lies in a 2010 article in his journal composed by Michelle Francl, to which, in the finish, he points his loyal followers:

Nature Chemistry 2010, 2, 600–601; DOI: 10.1038/nchem.750

In this short article, Francl goes ago to Sørensen's original files and corroborates the p and q electrodes concept, wherein Sørensen discusses hydrogen ion concentration in the solution and offers it the variable Cp and also then derives an equation that lipractically relates log10(1/Cp) to πp (the potential of the hydrogen electrode). He then proposes that the last amount be given the symbol p+H. This was later streamlined to the pH we all know and love, whether one has actually an acid tongue or a caustic wit.

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David Bradley blogs atSciencebase Science Blogand also tweets
sciencebase, he is author of the renowned scientific research book "Deceived Wisdom".