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Author Topic: Why can't I get consistant pH readings from my Hanna HI 99171?  (Read 2596 times)

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David from Charleston

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First let me state that I am not a chemist - so be gentle.

I want to very accurately measure, nondestructively, the pH of paper (specifically envelopes). As a stamp collector I am very concerned about the effect that acids have on the life of low rag content paper. I purchased a Hanna HI 99171 and successfully calibrated to the 7.01 and 4.01 standards. When I place the flat glass probe to the paper with the probe dry (or slightly moist) I get drifting readings in the 5-6 range. It doesn't matter if I put it on a calcium bicarbonate (2%) paper or an old envelope. Putting the probe into the 7.01 reference water gets me to about 6.8 as does putting it in 4.01 (somewhere around 4).

Why are the values so far off and inconsistent? I'm sure it must be me.
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DrCMS

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Re: Why can't I get consistant pH readings from my Hanna HI 99171?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2009, 05:35:52 AM »

pH meters are designed to measure the pH of an AQUEOUS SOLUTION

You can not use them to measure dry paper.
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David from Charleston

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Re: Why can't I get consistant pH readings from my Hanna HI 99171?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2009, 05:47:32 AM »

That was what I thought but this meter is sold as a leather and paper meter. I spoke to a rep who reports that it does work dry. Is this violating chemical and physical laws?

http://www.hannainst.com/manuals/manHI_99171.pdf
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