Changes in pH are found throughout the natural and industrial world – and getting pH levels right is important in a wide range of areas.
Below we’ve looked at just some of the applications where pH is vital.
Biological and Environmental
Blood – the pH of blood in your body must be maintained between 7.35 and 7.45 for normal metabolic processes to work
Urine – urine pH is a useful indicator in determining that the body is functioning well – doctors may use urine pH levels to test for a variety of conditions from kidney function to respiratory alkalosis.
Enzyme function – each enzyme will only work at its specific, optimum pH – for example salivary amylase found in your saliva works best at pH 6.7 to 7.0, but pepsin (found in the stomach) works best in acidic pH of 1.5
Soils – the pH level of soils will affect plant growth and nutrient availability. Farmers will often monitor the pH of their soil to ensure crops will grow and develop correctly.
Erosion – acid rain or acid runoff can erode rocks, buildings and minerals from the natural or built environment, causing structural damage or depleting valuable minerals that plants and animals require.
Bacterial growth – different bacteria favour different pH levels, so the pH of an environment can greatly influence the type of bacteria that survive and thrive.
Dyeing fabrics – the pH level during dyeing affects how strongly the dye binds to the fabric, but is also changed for the particular type of fabric being treated to avoid damage to the fabric.
Waste water treatment – flocculation is used when treating waste water to remove large particles by making them clump or coagulate together. If the pH is too low the process does not work and if the pH is too high the coagulated particles break up again immediately.
Drinking water treatment – plants which purify and treat water to make it safe for drinking will carefully monitor pH to make sure that it is safe for consumption.
Cosmetics and toiletries – products such as shampoo, skin creams or makeup are tested to make sure they are a safe pH level for skin contact and won’t cause irritation.
Cleaning products will often use pH to target a particular cleaning task – for example acid pH levels are useful in removing rust, limescale or mould, but basic or alkaline pH cleaners are better as laundry detergents or oven cleaners.
Food and drink are often tested for the correct pH level – for safety but also for taste and consistency over different batches.
Wine is closely monitored for pH as this affects the flavour, aroma, colour, stability over time and the fermentation.
Dairy products including milk are often monitored for changes in pH to indicate their freshness – milk which is more acidic than usual may have begun fermenting.
Hydrolysis of aliphatic and alkylic halides occurs at much faster rates in alkaline conditions.
Complexation reactions and the equilibrium between the two forms is strongly influenced by pH.
Dissolution / Dissolving of substances – alkaline solutions will dissolve certain products, such as silica and clays, while acidic solutions will dissolve others – for example carbonates.
So you can see that across all areas from industry, manufacturing, quality control, chemical research, biological and environmental processes, pH has a great influence.
This is why it is so important to measure pH in your vital processes accurately, precisely and confidently.
For more information on how TRUEscience can help you to measure pH quickly, easily and confidently just explore the rest of our website and blog