Blackberry pH Indicator

Henry Aufderheide,Jake Conway,Sarah Goltsman,Griffin Norwesh



The purpose of this project was to see if we could recreate the effects of a pH indicator using household materials. We decided to use blackberry for this experiment.

What is a pH indicator?

A pH indicator is a liquid that changes color to distinguish an acid from a base. An indicator reacts to OH- or H+ ions to change color. Some indicators only indicate acid or base, and others can directly indicate what pH a liquid is. An acid is a substance with a larger quantity of H+ ions than OH- ions. A base is a substance with a larger quantity of OH- ions than H+ ions.

Chemicals Tested

  • Clorox
  • Lemon Juice
  • Baking Powder (aq.)
  • Lubricant
  • Detergent
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Things we Tested

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Initial Color of Indicator

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pH Standards

From left to right: 13, 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1
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In conclusion, we learned that many household items have the capability to be used as a pH indicator, with varying results. For our indicator, blackberries, with a higher percentage of H+ the solution would form a red or pinkish tint. When a more basic substance is used, the indicator shifts towards a darker, greenish color. Our indicator was better at detecting acids rather than bases because it was easier to tell the varying shades of red apart between different pH’s. Some of the problems we encountered were varying concentrations of solutions and human error on judging the color and the pH of the solution. If we were to do this experiment over, we would plan to have a similar concentration throughout all the substances and to have a wider array of household items to be able to test more pH’s.

Final Colors

From left to right (estimated pH in parenthesis): baking powder (6), detergent (7), lubrication (4), lemon (3)

Second Image: Bleach (9)

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Works Cited