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Open AccessCommunication
Water 2015, 7(8), 4247-4255; doi:10.3390/w7084247

Traceability of pH to the Mole

Centro de Química Estrutural, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon; C8- Campo Grande, Lisboa 1749-016, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Received: 1 November 2014 / Revised: 24 July 2015 / Accepted: 27 July 2015 / Published: 3 August 2015
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Free acidity of aqueous solutions was initially defined in 1909 by Søren Peter Lauritz Sørensen as pH = −lgcH+ (c/mol·dm−3 or m/mol·kg−1 of the free hydrogen ions in solution, H+) soon (1910) was changed to pH = paH+ = −lgaH+, integrating the new concepts of activity, ai and activity coefficient γi, for the ionic species i under concern, H+ in this case; it is ai = −lg(miγi). Since individual ions do not exist alone in solution, primary pH values cannot be assigned solely by experimental measurements, requiring extra thermodynamic model assumptions for the activity coefficient, γH+, which has put pH in a unique situation of not being fully traceable to the International System of Units (SI). Also the concept of activity is often not felt to be as perceptible as that of concentration which may present difficulties, namely with the interpretation of data. pH measurements on unknown samples rely on calibration of the measuring setup with adequate reference pH buffers. In this work, the assignment of pH values to buffers closely matching the samples, e.g., seawater, is revisited. An approach is presented to assess the quantity pmH+ = −lgmH+ profiting from the fact that, contrary to single ion activity coefficients, mean activity coefficients, can be assessed based on experimentally assessed quantities alone, γExp ±, thus ensuring traceability to the mole, the SI base unit for amount of substance. Compatibility between γExp ± and mean activity coefficient calculated by means of Pitzer model equations, γPtz ±, validates the model for its intended use. View Full-Text
Keywords: free acidity; pH; high ionic strength buffer solutions; measured and modelled mean activity coefficients; hydrogen ion concentration; calibration; traceability free acidity; pH; high ionic strength buffer solutions; measured and modelled mean activity coefficients; hydrogen ion concentration; calibration; traceability

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Camões, M.F.; Anes, B. Traceability of pH to the Mole. Water 2015, 7, 4247-4255.

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