November 01, 2008
Originally published August 31, 2005
At least one person who reads me knows something about science. This is from somebody who must have stayed awake in school.
pH is all about the concentration of Hydrogen ions, you know. I love science.
Gordon is correct. The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is, using a scale from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. The pH scale isn't linear--- it works in multiples of 10. In other words, a substance with a pH of 5.0 is TEN TIMES more acidic than a substance with a pH of 6.0. It works that way up and down the scale and it's all based on the arrangement of hydrogen ions (hydroxyls) in the substance.
When I ran the Acid Plant, we made three basic "flavors" of sulfuric acid: 98%, 93% and 77%. 98% sulfuric acid freezes at around 45 degrees F. But if you add water to it and knock it down to a 93% concentration, the freezing temperature drops to something like 30 below zero. If you add some MORE water, and lower the strenth to 77%, the freezing temperature rises again, up to around the freezing temperature of water.
At first, I thought that was PURE FUCKING MAGIC! But--- it's not. It's pure fucking chemistry. By changing the strength of the acid, you rearrange the hydrogen ions and change its chemical characteristics.
There's a short and sweet science lesson for you.
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