How is a pH sensor calibrated?

The recommended calibration method listed in a specific pH sensor’s instruction manual should be followed to guarantee the best results. Calibration must be performed correctly to ensure accurate and repeatable measurements. Before performing calibration, the pH sensor should be cleaned.

Calibration is commonly done using a known-value pH solution called a buffer. The buffer solution is formulated to resist pH changes caused by external contaminants. However, the pH of the buffer solution changes as the temperature changes. To compensate for this, manufacturers list the pH of the buffer solution at various temperatures on the buffer solution’s bottle so that the correct value for calibration is selected.

The most common calibration method is a two-point calibration using two buffer solutions. Each buffer solution has known and accurate pH values at different temperatures. The buffers used should be based on the normal measurement range that the pH sensor operates in for the application. One buffer solution should have a 7.0 pH. The second buffer solution should have a pH that is near the expected pH value of the sample solution. 

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