Chemistry Reactions

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Buffer solutions and common ion effect

A buffer solution resists (or buffers) a change in its pH. That is, we can add a small amount of an acid or base to a buffer solution and the pH will change very little.

How to calculate pH of buffer solution containing both acid and conjugate base? Dissociation constant definition 1.1 can be rearranged into
(note that due to sign change [A-] was moved to nominator).
This is so called Henderson-Hasselbalch equation (or buffer equation). It can be used for pH calculation of solution containing pair of acid and conjugate base - like HA/A-, HA-/A2- or B+/BOH. For solutions of weak bases sometimes it s more convenient to use equation in the form

Two common types of buffer solutions are :

(1) a weak acid together with a salt of the same acid with a strong base. These are called Acid buffers e.g. CH3COOH + CH3COONa.

(2) a weak base and its salt with a strong acid. These are called Basic buffers. e.g.NH4OH + NH4Cl.

Let us illustrate buffer action by taking example of a common buffer system consisting of solution of acetic acid and sodium acetate (CH3COOH/CH3COONa).
CH3COOH --- H+ + CH3COO–
CH3COONa ---- Na+ + CH3COO-

since the salt is completely ionised, it provides the common ions CH3COO– in excess. The common ion effect suppresses the ionisation of acetic acid. This reduces the concentration of H+ ions which means that pH of the solution is raised. Thus, a 0.1 M acetic acid solution has a pH of 2.87 but a solution of 0.1 M acetic acid and 0.1 M sodium acetate has a pH of 4.74. Thus 4.74 is the pH of the buffer. On addition of 0.01 mole NaOH the pH changes from 4.74 to 4.83, while on the addition of 0.01 mole HCl the pH changes from 4.74 to 4.66. Obviously the buffer solution maintains fairly constant pH and the changes in pH could be described as marginal.

Buffer Action:


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