How does temperature affect pH?


Quick Answer

Temperature either raises or lowers the pH of a solution. If the temperature increases, the pH typically lowers. If the temperature decreases, the pH typically increases.

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Full Answer

A difference in pH measurements at different temperatures is not an error. The new pH level is simply the actual pH level for that solution at that temperature. Because it's not an error, there is no need to do anything but measure the pH at both temperatures. The only time that a difference in pH level at varying temperatures is an error is if the change in temperature changes the sensitivity of pH electrodes. A perfect pH electrode reading is pH 7. Though few electrodes measure at exactly pH 7, a measurement that varies only slightly can largely be disregarded as the temperature causing no error to the measurement of the pH level. The further the electrodes measure away from pH 7 at different temperatures, the more the temperature creates an error in measuring. This error can be compensated manually and automatically. The temperature compensation is automatically applied when the meter being used to gain the reading is capable of detecting the electrode sensitivity. Manual compensation requires the user to calibrate the meter by setting or entering the temperature on the meter itself.

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