Encyclopedia of Engineering Geology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky, Brian Marker

Acidity (pH)

  • I. V. GalitskayaEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73568-9_4


Acidity (pH) is numerically equal to the negative decimal logarithm of the activity of (aH+) or the concentration [H+] of hydrogen ions (in gram ions per liter).

This concept was introduced in 1909 by the Danish chemist Sørensen. pH reflects the first letters of Latin words potentia hydrogeni – the power of hydrogen, or pondus hydrogenii – weight of hydrogen.

For low mineralized water, the difference between activity and concentration of hydrogen ions is not geochemically significant, but for high mineralized water the identification of activity and concentration is essential.

The introduction of pH as an indicator of acid-base properties of aqueous solutions was founded on the ability of water to dissociate into ions according to the scheme H2O = H++OH. In connection with this reaction and using the concept of ionic product of water, KW = aH++ aOH- (where KW - ionic product of water, aH++ and aOH- activities of H+ and OH respectively). KW at 22 °C is equal 10−14. If the...

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  1. Kraynov SR, Rizhenko BN, Shvets VM (2004) Geochemistry of groundwater. Theoretical application and environmental aspects. Science, Moscow. (in Russian)Google Scholar

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sergeev Institute of Environmental Geoscience Russian Academy of Sciences (IEG RAS)MoscowRussia