Acid-Base Solutions

Lab type: 
Virtual lab
Lab owner: 
PhET Interactive Simulations
Contact person: 
PhET Interactive Simulations
Age range: 
12-14, 14-16
English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, Hungarian, Portuguese, Greek, Swedish, Czech, Slovak, Danish, Finnish, Slovene, Estonian, Croatian, Latvian, Arabic, Turkish, Chinese, Bosnian
Level of difficulty: 
Level of interaction: 
Booking required: 
Lab description and primary aims of the lab: 

How do strong and weak acids differ? Use lab tools on your computer to find out! Dip the paper or the probe into solution to measure the pH, or put in the electrodes to measure the conductivity. Then see how concentration and strength affect pH. Can a weak acid solution have the same pH as a strong acid solution?

Given acids or bases at the same concentration, demonstrate understanding of acid and base strength by: 1. Relating the strength of an acid or base to the extent to which it dissociates in water 2. Identifying all of the molecules and ions that are present in a given acid or base solution. 3.Comparing the relative concentrations of molecules and ions in weak versus strong acid (or base) solutions. 4.Describing the similarities and differences between strong acids and weak acids or strong bases and weak bases.
Demonstrate understanding of solution concentration by: 1. Describing the similarities and differences between concentrated and dilute solutions. 2. Comparing the concentrations of all molecules and ions in concentrated versus dilute solutions of a particular acid or base.
Use both the strength of the acid or base and the concentration of its solution in order to:1. Describe in words and pictures (graphs or molecular drawings) what it means if you have a: Concentrated solution of a weak acid (or base) or Concentrated solution of a strong acid (or base) or other combinations. 2. Investigate different combinations of strength/concentrations that result in same pH values.
Describe how common tools (pH meter, conductivity, pH paper) help identify whether a solution is an acid or base and strong or weak and concentrated or dilute.

Technical requirements: 

HTML5, works in browsers/tablets

Windows Macintosh Linux
Microsoft Windows 
Sun Java 1.5.0_15 or later
OS 10.5 or later 
Sun Java 1.5.0_19 or later
Sun Java 1.5.0_15 or later


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