Measurement of pH in a thin electrolyte droplet using the Kelvin probe technique

Saya Ajito, Eiji Tada, Azusa Ooi, Atsushi Nishikata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, pH measurement was performed in a thin electrolyte droplet with a thickness <1000 µm by the measurement of the equilibrium electrode potential of an Sb/Sb x O y electrode used as a pH sensor. The equilibrium potential of the Sb/Sb x O y electrode was evaluated by using the Kelvin probe (KP) technique. To investigate the potential response of the Sb electrode in a thin electrolyte droplet, the dependency of the Volta potential difference between the Sb and a gold wire as a KP on electrolyte droplet thickness was measured. The Volta potential difference had a linear response with respect to the buffer solution pH, independent of the droplet thickness. This result indicates that the KP technique, combined with an Sb electrode, is sensitive to the pH of a thin electrolyte droplet of thickness 2 50 µm. This pH measurement technique was also applied to measure pH in a corrosion model of steel. The corrosion model consisted of two steel plates in the same plane as the anode and cathode, with a constant current between them. During the corrosion process, the pH value decreased from 6 to 5 near the anode and increased from 6 to 12 at the cathode. The changes in pH measured in the thin electrolyte droplet were in good agreement with the color changes of the solution containing pH indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-537
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Transactions
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmospheric corrosion
  • Metal/metal oxide electrode
  • Nernst equation
  • Steel
  • Volta potential difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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