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indicators, acid-base

indicators, acid-base, organic compounds that, in aqueous solution, exhibit color changes indicative of the acidity or basicity of the solution. Common indicators include p-nitrophenol, which is colorless from pH 1 to 5 and yellow from pH 5 to 9; methyl orange, yellow in basic and neutral solutions and reddish below pH 3.7; phenolphthalein, colorless in acid and neutral solutions, pink at about pH 8.5, and purplish at pH 10; and litmus. Most indicators are also used in large amounts for dyeing; small quantities are nonetheless invaluable for use as indicators in chemical laboratories.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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