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pH stands for "potential hydrogen" or "power of hydrogen".

On a simple level, the pH scale can be viewed as a ranking of hydrogen ions in a solution.

  • The more hydrogen ions → the lower the pH number → the more acidic the solution. 
  • We could write the scale using the number of hydrogen ions (eg. 1 x 10-14, 1 x 10-13, 1 x 10-12, etc.)
  • However, it would be easier if we use the power: 1 x 10-(power)
  • By applying a logarithmic scale, the numbers are simplified to a single digit.
  • We put a negative in front of the log to remove the negative power.
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