If you work within a laboratory, no matter which kind, you already know the importance of pH meters. These types of lab meters are essential tools for various tasks, and they make a world of difference when used correctly. However, pH meters are much more finicky than thermometers. A pH meter requires a lot of care and attention to keep on working correctly. To that end, we’d like to give you a helpful guide for what you should and should not do with your pH meters to keep them running correctly for a long time. Read on to learn more!
Using an Expired Electrode on Your pH Meters
Electrodes do not last forever. If you have ever had your meter for over a year and you find that the readings are not quite what you think they should be, you may have a bad electrode. This means you will need a new electrode or a brand new pH meter in the case of non-replaceable electrode meters.
Not Removing Both the Caps
Make sure you remove the smaller cap from the electrode before use! There are two caps on each pH meter, and the bigger one that prevents things from getting tossed around and the smaller one that hydrates and protects the electrode. Both of these must be removed for the meter to function correctly. This is a necessity if you want your pH meter to work in the first place.
pH meter electrodes work based on a complex system of chemical-electric interactions. One of the most essential parts of that system of interactions is known as a “gel layer” of hydrated glass. If the hydrated layer on the glass ever dehydrates, resuscitating this electrode is next to impossible. Every meter includes a smaller cap over the electrode filled with a storage solution that will maintain the electrode hydration and then helps to prolong the life of the electrode while it’s being stored. A lot of people forget to refill the smaller cap with the storage solution before putting their pH meter away after use, or worse, they will even store it without its cap. This will dehydrate the electrode, which will require a rehydration process.
Not Calibrating Correctly
pH meters work based on a known comparison to known qualities. That comparison is established using buffer solutions with a known pH. To correctly use your pH meter, you must calibrate it for each measurement session using a known buffer solution. This will help tell the meter what a 7.00 pH ‘feels’ like so that it will know what to expect when inserted into your lab sample.
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