# What is meant by the term pH? Explain the pH scale. Why is the pH of pure water not zero?

May 15, 2018

See explanation.

#### Explanation:

First off:

What is meant by the term pH?

pH is an initialism that stands for "potential of hydrogen". It's a scale of acids and bases that ranges from 0 to 14.

Explain the pH scale.

On one end of the scale, from 0 to 6, is the acids. These substances are generally characterized by a sour taste, turning litmus paper red, and an increased concentration of ${\text{H}}^{+}$ ions in water. An example of a weak acid is black coffee (pH of 5), and a strong acid would be hydrochloric acid (pH of 0),

On the other end, from 8 to 14, is the bases. These substances are generally characterized by a bitter taste, a slippery or slimy feel, and turning litmus paper blue. An example of a weak base is baking soda (9), and a strong base would be sodium hydroxide (pH of 14).

Why is the pH of pure water not zero?

If water's pH was 0, it would be extremely acidic and harmful to the touch. Just a few sips could be enough to do permanent damage or possibly kill you. That would not be good.

Pure water's pH is 7.0, the only neutral substance on the pH scale. This means that water has neither an acidic nor basic pH.