Biochemistry - Virtual Lab: pH of Common Substances

Click here to download a word processing document of the data table below.


After that, visit John Kyrk's interactive Power of Hydrogen (pH scale) resource. You'll need to click on the button in the lower left hand side of the screen to advance to the interactive pH scale. The button looks like this:

Image of a button

Once you get to the interactive pH scale, complete the data table below for each substance by moving the slider VERY SLOWLY to the correct pH. The pH of each item and if the item is an acid or a base. When you have found the correct pH, the substance and the pH will be listed on the top of the screen. Take your time.

Table and link to word processing document that asks participants to ascertain whether given substances are acids or bases


Kyrk, a San Francisco biologist and artist, also has a number of stunning Cell Biology animations that will prove useful to you later in this course.


After completing the table, visit some or all of the additional sites listed below. Doing so will help you gain a better understanding of what pH is and how we categorize substances as either acids or bases.


The interactive simulation below from PhET allows you to test the pH of substances such as coffee, saliva, and soap to determine whether each is acidic, basic, or neutral. The simulation visualizes the relative number of hydroxide ions and hydronium ions in solution. It can be used to investigate whether changing the volume or diluting with water affects the pH. You can also design your own liquid.

pH simulation screenshot

Additional web-based resources: