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Biology NAME: ____________________________________________

Ch. 2- Chemistry of Life DATE: _______________

PERIOD: _____________
pH Lab
Review of Acids and Bases:
Complete the sentences with the help of your notes and textbook.

A water molecule (H2O) can split apart to form a(n) __________________________________ ion and a(n)
__________________________________ ion. The __________________________________ is a scale that measures the
concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution. The scale ranges from 0 to 14. Pure water has a pH of
__________________________________. A(n) __________________________________ is any compound that forms H
in solution. __________________________________ have a pH level below 7. A(n) __________________________________
is a compound that forms OH
ions in solution. __________________________________ have pH values above 7.
__________________________________ are weak acids or bases that react with strong acids or bases to prevent
sudden changes in pH. They are very important in maintaining homeostasis in living things.


Liquids all around us have either acidic or basic (alkaline) properties. For example, acids taste
sour while, bases taste bitter and feel slippery. However, both strong acids and strong bases can be
very dangerous and burn your skin, so it is important to be very careful when using such chemicals. In
order to measure how acidic or basic a liquid is, one must use the pH scale as illustrated below:

The easiest way to determine if a substance is acidic or a basic is to use an indicator. Indicators
are organic molecules that change color in an acid or a base. In this lab, you will use the juice from red
cabbage as a pH indicator to test common household liquids and determine their pH levels. You will
mix cabbage juice with different household liquids and see a color change produced by a pigment
called flavin in red cabbage. Through this color change, you will be able to successfully identify the
approximate pH of common household liquids using the table below:

- Cabbage juice - Color-coded pH scale
- 7 plastic cups - Graduated cylinder

Liquids to test:
- Bleach - Baking soda solution
- Lemon juice - Baby shampoo
- Vinegar - Ammonia
- Apple juice

Safety Rules:
Never taste chemicals (or other substances) used for a lab experiment.
Do not mix chemicals unless specifically directed.
Clean up spills immediately.
If any substance gets into your eyes or in a cut on your skin, notify your teacher and follow
his/her directions.
Wash your hands before and after an experiment.
Clean up your lab area and materials after an experiment and return materials to their proper

NB: Follow the instructions carefully. Do not skip steps.

1. Label each cup with each of the liquids.
2. Using a graduated cylinder, pour 50 mL of each test liquid into its respective cup.
3. CAREFULLY pour 25 mL of cabbage juice into the first test cup. In the data table, write down
the color change IMMEDIATELY after you pour the cabbage juice. Use the pH scale below to
find what pH this color change corresponds to.
4. Repeat Step 3 for every test cup, writing down the color change after every new test.
5. Identify whether each test liquid is an acid, a base, or neutral.

Lemon Juice
Apple juice
Baking Soda
Baby shampoo

Data Analysis
Create a graph using the pH data. Label one axis pH and the other axis Test Liquids. (2 pts)

Answer each question related to the experiment.
1. In this experiment what was the independent variable? (1 pt)

2. In this experiment what was the dependent variable? (1 pt)

3. In general, how did the acids affect the color of the indicator? How did the bases affect the color
of the indicator? (2 pts)

4. Compare the concentrations of H
and OH
ions in acids. Compare the concentrations of H
ions in bases. (2 pts)

Clean-up checklist:
Please do not use an excessive amount of paper towels.

While the water is running, pour all liquids into the sink.
Throw away all cups and gloves.
Rinse out
Return goggles.
Wipe down any liquids on the bench or floor.

Teachers initials: _________________ = 3 pts