NEW!  CBSE Papers PDF: Class-X, Class-XII 

(Chemistry Projects) Class 12th Chemistry Projects for 2009 Exams (Make Your Own pH Paper)

Disclaimer: This website is not at associated with CBSE, For official website of CBSE visit -

Class 12th Chemistry Projects for 2009 Exams
Make Your Own pH Paper


The goal of this project is to make your own pH indicator paper, and use it to measure the acidity and alkanity of various solutions from around your house.


In this project you'll learn how to make your own pH paper that you can use to find out if a solution is acidic or basic (alkaline). What does it mean for a solution to be acidic or alkaline?

It all has to do with hydrogen ions (abbreviated with the chemical symbol H+). In water (H2O), a small number of the molecules dissociate (split up). Some of the water molecules lose a hydrogen and become hydroxyl ions (OH). The "lost" hydrogen ions join up with water molecules to form hydronium ions (H3O+). For simplicity, hydronium ions are referred to as hydrogen ions H+. In pure water, there are an equal number of hydrogen ions and hydroxyl ions. The solution is neither acidic or basic.

An acid is a substance that donates hydrogen ions. Because of this, when an acid is dissolved in water, the balance between hydrogen ions and hydroxyl ions is shifted. Now there are more hydrogen ions than hydroxyl ions in the solution. This kind of solution is acidic.

A base is a substance that accepts hydrogen ions. When a base is dissolved in water, the balance between hydrogen ions and hydroxyl ions shifts the opposite way. Because the base "soaks up" hydrogen ions, the result is a solution with more hydroxyl ions than hydrogen ions. This kind of solution is alkaline.

Acidity and alkalinity are measured with a logarithmic scale called pH. Here's why: A strongly acidic solution can have one hundred million million (100,000,000,000,000) times more hydrogen ions than a strongly basic solution! The flip side, of course, is that a strongly basic solution can have 100,000,000,000,000 times more hydroxide ions than a strongly acidic solution. Moreover, the hydrogen ion and hydroxide ion concentrations in everyday solutions can vary over that entire range. In order to deal with these large numbers more easily, scientists use a logarithmic scale, the pH scale. Each one-unit change in the pH scale corresponds to a ten-fold change in hydrogen ion concentration. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. It's a lot easier to use a logarithmic scale instead of always having to write down all those zeros! By the way, notice how one hundred million million is a one with fourteen zeros after it? It's not coincidence, it's logarithms!

To be more precise, pH is the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration:

pH = log 1/[H]+ = −log [H+] .

The square brackets around the H+ automatically mean "concentration" to a chemist. What the equation means is just what we said before: for each 1-unit change in pH, the hydrogen ion concentration changes ten-fold. Pure water has a neutral pH of 7. pH values lower than 7 are acidic, and pH values higher than 7 are alkaline (basic). The table below has examples of substances with different pH values (Decelles, 2002; Environment Canada, 2002; EPA, date unknown).


Table 1. The pH Scale: Some Examples
pH Value H+ Concentration
Relative to Pure Water
0 10 000 000 battery acid
1 1 000 000 sulfuric acid
2 100 000 lemon juice, vinegar
3 10 000 orange juice, soda
4 1 000 tomato juice, acid rain
5 100 black coffee, bananas
6 10 urine, milk
7 1 pure water
8 0.1 sea water, eggs
9 0.01 baking soda
10 0.001 Great Salt Lake, milk of magnesia
11 0.000 1 ammonia solution
12 0.000 01 soapy water
13 0.000 001 bleach, oven cleaner
14 0.000 000 1 liquid drain cleaner


In this project you will make your own pH paper from a colored indicator that you will extract from red cabbage by cooking it in water. Once you have the indicator solution, you can soak some coffee filter paper in it, then allow the paper to dry. When the paper is dry, you can cut it into strips, and you'll have pH paper that will change color. It will turn greenish when exposed to bases, and reddish when exposed to acids. How green or how red? That's your job! Use different solutions that you have around the house to find out how the color change corresponds to changes in pH.

Courtesy :

NEW!  CBSE Papers PDF: Class-X, Class-XII