Proper Installation And Cleaning Practices For pH Sensors
By Frederick J. Kohlmann
pH is one of several parameters measured in high-purity and industrial water and wastewater treatment applications. Other important categories include resistivity/conductivity, total organic carbon, and specific ions. These and other measurements allow site operators to determine the quality of treated water and to be aware of adjustments that may need to be made in treatment protocol to prevent problems. This article provides background to help those who are new or newer to the water business to understand the important role played by pH instruments.
pH measurements are widely used in industry and municipal applications worldwide. The many reasons for measuring pH are varied but ultimately it comes down to a few basic reasons:
- To make a better product
- To use less reagent and still maintain quality
- To ensure a complete reaction of the process
- To monitor quality parameters
- To ensure environmental compliance
At the end of the day, it comes down to monitoring for performance, to save money, or for environmental concerns. If it were not for these reasons pH—or for that matter, almost any analytical parameter—could be skipped. Measurements are made because one has to, and it is usually not an option.
The operational range of pH is typically between 0 and 14, where pH 7 is considered neutral. Depending on what is being required of the pH measurement, control or monitoring can occur anywhere within the range. Proper installation practices and calibration are paramount to providing accurate, meaningful, and prolonged pH measurements, enabling one to perform the requirements of the list above. This article will attempt to briefly explore the most common use practices and provide a primer on the calibration and cleaning processes.
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