# A scientist is looking for a solution that is neither acidic nor basic.   Which pH would identify a solution as neither acidic nor basic?

A solution that is neither acidic nor basic is neutral and has a pH of 7. The pH scale, which ranges from 0 to 14, indicates how acidic or basic a substance is. A substance that has a pH below 7 is and acid and a substance with a pH above 7 is a base.

The hydrogen ion, H+, is responsible for an substance being acidic and the hydroxide ion, OH-, makes a substance basic. When the concentrations of these two ions are equal the substance is neutral. Pure distilled water is an example of a neutral solution. A very small amount of water ionizes, and in doing so it produces equal numbers of H+ and OH- ions.

The pH scale is a logarithmic scale, meaning that it's based on powers of 10. The pH value of a substance is the negative logarithm of the H+ concentration. The product of the H+ and OH- concentrations of an aqueous solution is 10^(-14), so in a neutral solution both have a concentration of 10^(-7) and the pH is therefore  7.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team