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pH of Salts

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Last updated date: 13th Jul 2024
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pH Value of a Salt: An Introduction

Salt is a compound which is formed by the neutralisation reaction between an acid and a base. They ionise in water producing cations and anions, which either exist as hydrated ions in aqueous solutions or mix with water to regenerate the acids and bases. The three kinds of salts depending on their pH value are:

1. Neutral Salts: pH value 7.

2. Acidic Salts: The pH less than 7.

3. Basic Salts: The pH more than 7.

The pH value measures the level of acidity or alkalinity in a water-soluble solution. The scale measures from 0 to 14. Anything lower than 7 is acidic and anything higher than 7 is basic. The calculation of acidity or alkalinity of a solution is known as pH, the relative quantity is stated by pH. Acidity depends on the concentration of the hydrogen ions and if its concentration is more then more is the acidity of the solution. So the meaning of pH is justified as the power of hydrogen.


pH Value of Sodium Chloride

Sodium chloride is an ionic compound which represents a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride ions. Sodium chloride is responsible for the salinity of seawater. The pH of sodium chloride remains at seven due to the weak basicity of chloride ions. It is formed from the reaction of a strong acid and a strong base, in the formation hydrogen chloride is neutralised by sodium hydroxide.

When sodium chloride is mixed with water it will not show any acidic or basic properties, as both ions are not susceptible to hydrolysis. Brine is water saturated with salt or a solution of sodium chloride and water which occurs naturally on the earth's surface or in the benthic zone of oceans.


pH of Salt of Weak Acid and Strong Base

Salts from strong bases and weak acids have a pH greater than seven, the anion being from the weak acid, accepting the proton from the water in the chemical reaction.

KCN(s) → K+(aq) + CN(aq)

CN(aq) + H2O(l) ⇌ HCN(aq) + OH(aq)

Ammonium chloride is an acidic salt as it is a salt of strong acid namely hydrochloric acid, and a weak base which is ammonium hydroxide, another example is sodium acetate which is salt in solid state and can't be used in liquid form as an acid or base.

Sodium hydroxide is a strong base and acetic acid is a weak acid, so the sodium salt is called sodium acetate. It is in white granular powder form, hygroscopic in nature as it easily absorbs water, medically it is used intravenously as an electrolyte for sodium level correction in hyponatremic patients.


pH of Salts List

Most of the salts have pH values less than or more than 7. This means they may be neutral, acidic or basic.

1. Sodium chloride, pH is 7 and the nature of the salt is neutral.

2. Sodium carbonate, pH is ~11 and nature is basic.

3. Ammonium chloride, pH is ~6 and nature is acidic.

4. Potassium sulphate, pH is 7 and nature is neutral.

5. Ammonium sulphate, pH is ~5.5 and the nature is acidic.

6. Potassium chloride, pH is 7 and nature is neutral.

7. Ammonium carbonate, pH is ~7.8, and nature is slightly basic.

8. Sodium sulphate, pH is 7, nature is neutral.


Interesting Facts

  • Basic salts such as sodium carbonate are used to maintain soil acidic pH.

  • Even if we put a teaspoon of table salt in a glass of pure water, it won't change its pH. Pure water has a pH value of 7.


Key Features of pH of Salts

  • Salt is a compound which is formed by the neutralisation reaction between an acid and a base.

  • The pH value measures the level of acidity or alkalinity in water-soluble solution.

  • Salts from strong bases and weak acids do not hydrolyze and they have a pH greater than 7.

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FAQs on pH of Salts

1. Does Himalayan salt intake increase the pH of the body?

Himalayan salt is mined in the foothills of the Himalayas and contains trace minerals which give it its rosy hue. Himalayan salt contains of many minerals, including alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It has no effect on the pH of the blood because it's mostly sodium chloride with a pink colour and can only raise blood pressure but not the pH. The minerals help with hydration and help the body maintain a neutral pH.

2. What is the pH of tooth whitening products?

The tooth whitening products are used daily so they should have a neutral pH to minimise any damage as they are in contact for several hours. The pH of different products ranges from 3.67 which is highly acidic to 11.3 which is highly basic. The over-the-counter whitening products have a mean pH of 6.83. Dentists use certain bleaching products to whiten the teeth, some have a pH as low as 4.0 and others a pH of 7.5, the greater the peroxide concentration the more acidic the pH of the bleaching product.

3. How does temperature affect pH?

Temperature is vital to pH as the temperature rises, the molecular vibrations increase too which results in the formation of more hydrogen ions in water. As a result, the pH will drop. For example, at zero degree celsius, the pH of water is 7.47 but the same water at hundred degrees celsius, the pH is 6.14. 


The pH value of a solution is directly correlated to the temperature and a pH value without temperature is incoherent. In the case of pure water, there is the same concentration of Hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions so the water remains neutral.