The pH of a solution is determined by the concentration of hydrogen ions present. There are different ways to find the pH of a solution, including the using test strips, meters and traditional titration experiments. A meter shows the pH result of a solution instantly on a readable display. Depending on the specific model, the meter may have to be plugged into an outlet or used in the field with batteries. These meters offer a variety of advantages in different industries, depending on the application.
Simple to Use
One advantage of using a pH meter to measure the acidity of a solution is that it is a lot simpler to use than using test strips or completing a titration experiment. Test strips and titrations both use a color indicator; some people may perceive a different color than the result. A meter will have a few buttons to operate the machine, and gives a result immediately. The result can be given on a digital display, which will provide a more precise result than a test strip.
Most meters come with the ability to calibrate the device. This is important when conducting research and an accurate result needs to be obtained. If a device is not calibrated correctly, then the result can be skewed. A device that is calibrated on a regular schedule will be usable for years to come. One way to calibrate a pH meter is dip the probe into a buffer solution of a known pH and press the calibration button. The specific buffer pH is inputed into the machine. Consult the operating manual on the specific model you are using for detailed instructions.
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Another advantage of using a pH meter is that it is portable, and can easily be used in the field. Some research is done in a controlled laboratory; other research is done in the environment. A small battery-operated meter is a very good option when you are hauling other equipment to a specific location. Since the meters are portable, a quality precision instrument is ready to use on site.
One downside to using a pH meter is that the cost of the meter is significantly higher than using test strips. The pH meter is a long-term investment for gaining accurate results. For those who are going to be taking an occasional reading, test strips may be a better option. Another disadvantage in using a meter is that it needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid contamination. Most probes have a glass tip that may break or become damaged if exposed to corrosive chemicals. These are just a few considerations to think about before making a substantial purchase of a pH meter.