18.2.1 - Describe the composition of a buffer solution and explain its action
Buffer solutions maintain the pH of solutions by resisting changes caused by the addition of an acid or base.
Acidic Buffer Solution
This is formed from a weak acid and salt of its conjugate base.
In this equation, HA is the weak acid and A
is the conjugate base. The equilibrium of thereaction favours the left hand side, so there is a larger proportion of the weak acid.The reaction with the salt is shown below:
Here, MA is the salt and MOH is the strong base. The salt will then dissociate into its ions,M
Basic Buffer Solution
This is formed from a weak base and a salt of its conjugate acid.
Here, B is the weak base and BH
is the conjugate acid. The negative ion from a strong acidis added:
The salt, BHX, will dissociate completely in solution to form BH
. As a result, thesolution will have high proportions of both B and BH.If a small amount of acid is added to the solution, it will react with the B to counteract thechange in pH. Likewise, if a base is added, the HB
dissociates to provide more H
ions,thereby restoring the pH.