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pH Medical Instruments

A Research Work
Presented to the Faculty,
Electronics Engineering Department,
School of Engineering and Architecture,
Saint Louis University

In Partial Fulfillment of the Course,

Of the requirements for the Degree
Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering

Submitted By:
Bautista, Francis Ryan L.
Aromin, Mart Marciano Antonn A.
Consolacion, Jan Khristel Rei P.
Epler, Marian Pheliz R.

Submitted To:
Engr. Ireene P. Valencia

14 March 2018
I. Introduction
A. History
II. Instrumentation
A. Block Diagram
B. Schematic Diagram
III. Applications/Operations
IV. References

(n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2018, from

Evolution of the pH Meter. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2018, from

Helmenstine, P. A. (n.d.). Learn What pH Stands For and How the Term Originated.
Retrieved March 12, 2018, from

(n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2018, from http://www.vl-

(n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2018, from

I. Introduction
pH meter is an essential piece of equipment in most laboratories; it is vital
for many analytical and synthetic processes. Typical pH meters consist of a glass
electrode connected to an electronic meter. The electrode produces a small
voltage, which is converted to and displayed in pH units by the meter.
Consequently, this paper will discuss the current technologies of pH meters that
are used in the biomedical field and how is pH connected to the interpretation of
the results for those in the medical field.

pH measurements are mostly used in agriculture, wastewater treatment,

industrial processes, environmental monitoring, and in research and
development where it compares the potential of solutions with unknown [H+] to a
known reference potential. The pH is pH value of a solution is the negative log of
its hydrogen ion activity, and its hydrogen ion concentration is in moles per liter. A
standard pH measuring system consists of three elements: 1) pH electrode; 2)
temperature compensation element and 3) pH meter or controller.

A. History

The term "pH" was first termed by Danish biochemist Søren Peter Lauritz
Sørensen in 1909. We all know pH is the negative log of hydrogen ion
concentration in a water-based solution, but pH is also an abbreviation of
"pondus hydrogenii" in 1909 to express very small concentrations of
hydrogen ions. It is also an abbreviation for "power of hydrogen" where "p"
is short for the German word, potenz (meaning “power”) or in French
word, pouvoir (also means “power”) and H is the element symbol for
hydrogen. The H is capitalized because it is an element symbol where it is
standardized for element symbols to be in capital.
In 1906, Max Cremer discovered that some types of glass generated a
potential difference dependent on the acidic value of the liquid it was
immersed in. Together with Fritz Haber, they proved that this potential
difference is within a fixed pH range and followed Nernst's law in the
same manner as the "Hydrogen Electrode". They discovered that what
made their glass sensors sensitive to changes in pH levels was the
formation of what is known in the pH industry as the "gel-layer", or
"hydration-layer" of the glass. Then in 1909, Fritz Haber and Zygmunt
Klemensiewicz used the principle described by Cremer to create the first
glass electrode that measured hydrogen activity. However, due to the
large internal resistance of glass electrodes, the large-scale potentiometric
measurements of pH was prevented, so to get reliable results, they used a
very sensitive, but expensive, galvanoscope. Today, glass electrodes are
the most commonly used measuring electrodes.

Then in 1934 through Haber and Klemensiewicz’s, Dr. Arnold Orville

Beckman proposed that by using two vacuum tubes, he would devise a
simple high-gain amplifier where the current obtained through the
electrode would be amplified so that a miliamperometer will be able to
measure it. This advance represents the development of the first pH
meter, known at the time as an “acid-o-meter”.

Beckman’s first pH meter also known as the “Acid-O-Meter.” This is the

picture of the original model made in 1934 and patented. Courtesy of
Beckman Coulter, Inc.

In 1936, The Beckman model known as the Model G acidimeter was the
proof of all their theories and the first device to combine the whole
apparatus - amplifier, electrochemical cell, electrode, calibration dials,
batteries and measuring gauge - into one unit, it was then later renamed
as the Model G pH meter and was introduced as the first commercialized
pH meters in the U.S.

A Beckman Model G Acidimeter from 1936, later renamed the Model G pH

meter. Courtesy of Beckman Coulter, Inc.

While the Model G pH meter was commercial success, it was soon

discovered that the reliability of the glass electrode was very low. As the
construction of apparatus forced the electrode to be used always in almost
the same position in the solution (see the picture below), it was not so
evident, but the independent study done at Stanford University showed
that pH measurements results were very highly dependent on the depth of
electrode immersion and this lead to the complete redesign of the
electrode in 1937.
Model G pH meter. Device was closed in wooden box 12" wide by 8" deep
by 9" high. It had a leather carrying handle, but - as for todays standards -
was hardly portable, weighting almost 8 kilograms. Reference electrode
and glass electrode were fastened to the door and could be used for
measurements in this position, but they could be also removed if
necessary). Picture courtesy of Beckman Coulter, Inc.

At the same time other manufacturers started to produce pH meters too -

in Europe Danish Radiometer introduced its first commercially available
pH meter, model PHM1, in October 1937.

Although 81 years passed since then, almost all pH meters follow the
same general idea - external pH and reference electrodes (often in the
same housing), high gain amplifier, and amperometer, all in one portable

B. Theory of pH Measurement

pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a logarithmic scale

ranging from 0 to 14, where, the amount of [H+] that is made in pure water
is about equal to a pH of 7, that is why 7 is neutral, those solutions with a
higher [H+] than water (pH less than 7) are acidic; solutions with a lower
[H+] than water (pH greater than 7) are basic or alkaline, so the pH value
states the relative quantity of hydrogen ions (H+) contained in a solution.
and pH is also a unit of measurement where it describes the degree of
acidity or alkalinity is known as pH. Most pH readings range from 0 to 14.
The pH is equal to -log 10 c, where c is the hydrogen ion concentration in
moles per liter.