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Ch 17

Use a weak acid HC2H3O2 along with a soluble salt of
the acid like NaC2H3O2

NaC2H3O2 -

Equilibrium shift?

The extent of ionization of a weak
electrolyte is decreased by adding to
the solution a strong electrolyte that
has an ion in common with the weak

What is the pH of a solution made by adding 0.30 mol
of acetic acid (HC2H3O2) and 0.30 mol NaC2H3O2 to
enough H2O to make a 1.0L solution. Ka = 1.8 x10

Calculate the pH of a solution containing 0.085 M
nitrous acid (HNO2; Ka = 4.5 x 10
) and 0.10
potassium nitrite, KNO2
Calculate F- and pH of a solution that is 0.20 M HF
and 0.10M HCl. Ka = 6.8 x 10

Calculate the formate ion concentration and pH of a
solution that is 0.050M formic acid (HCHO2; Ka = 1.8
x 10
) and 0.10M HNO3

Solutions with weak conjugate acid-base pairs can
resist drastic changes in pH upon the addition of a
small amounts of strong acid or base.
Buffers resist pH changes because it contains both an
acidic species to neutralize OH- ions and a basic
species to eliminate the H+ ions

However, the acidic and basic species that make up the
buffer must not neutralize each other.

Buffers are often made by mixing a weak acid or weak
base with a salt of that acid or base
An HC2H3O2 C2H3O2
buffer can be made by
adding NaC2H3O2 to a solution of HC2H3O2
buffer made by adding NH
Cl to a solution
of NH

By choosing appropriate components and adjusting their
relative concentrations, we can buffer a solution at any
Consider a buffer made of a weak acid (HX) and one of
its salts (MX). Acid dissociation equilibrium in the
buffered solution involves both the acid and its
conjugate base:
So the pH is determined by the Ka for the weak acid
and the ratio of the concentrations for the conjugate
acid-base pairs
Because conj a-b pairs share a common ion, we can use
the same process to calculate pH of buffers as we did
for the common ion effect

We can also take an alternative approach called the
Henderson-Hasselbach equation

In doing equilibrium calculations, we can normally
neglect the amounts of acid/base of the buffer that
This allows us to use the Henderson-Hasselbach
pH = pK
+ log
What is the pH of a buffer that is 0.12M lactic acid
(HC3H5O3) and 0.10M sodium lactate. For lactic acid,
Ka = 1.4 x 10
Calculate the pH of a buffer composed of 0.12M benzoic
acid and 0.20M sodium benzoate. Ka = 6.3 x 10
How many moles of NH4Cl must be added to 2.0 L of
0.10M NH3 to form a buffer whose pH is 9.00?
Assume the addition of NH4Cl does not change the
volume. K
= 1.8 x 10

The 2 important characteristics of a buffer are
its capacity
pH range
Buffer capacity is the amount of acid or base the buffer
can neutralize before the pH changes to an appreciable

Buffer capacity depends on the amount of acid and
base from which it is made
A 1-L solution that is 1M HC2H3O2 and 1M NaC2H3O2
has the same pH as a 1-L solution that is 0.1M
HC2H3O2 and 0.1M NaC2H3O2 due to the ratio in the
Henderson-Hasselbach eqn

The first has a greater buffering capacity because it has
more of the conj acid/base pairs
The pH range of any buffer is the pH range over which
the buffer acts effectively
Buffers most effectively resist a change in pH in either
direction when the concentration of the weak acid and
conj. base are about the same
When conc of weak acid = con conj base then
The pH = pK
This gives the optimal pH of any buffer
Therefore, we usually try to select a buffer whose acid
form has a pKa close to the desired pH

Buffers usually have a usable range within 1pH unit of
Q: What is the optimal pH buffered by a solution
containing HC2H3O2 and NaC2H3O2? The Ka for
HC2H3O2 = 1.8 x 10