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IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

IB Chemistry ABS Introduction

An acid was initially considered a substance that would produce
H+ ions in water.
The Brnsted-Lowry definition of an acid is a species that can
donate an H+ ion to any other species (not just water).
The Lewis definition defines acids by the electron pairs they accept
in a reaction.
Most acids have a weakly bonded H atom.
A base was initially defined as a species that produces OH ions in
water. Alkalis refer to bases that dissolve in water to produce
some OH ions in water.
The Brnsted-Lowry definition describes a base as a proton
The Lewis definition describes a base as an electron pair donor.
Many common bases have an OH anion.
Examples of Acid/Base reactions:
1) Traditional acid-base reaction
HCl(aq) + NaOH(aq) H2O(l) + NaCl(aq)
CH3COOH(aq) + KOH(aq) H2O(l) + KCH3COO(aq)
Neutralization reaction produces water and a salt.
2) Brnsted-Lowry reaction
HBr(aq) + NH3(aq) NH4Br(aq)
HBr is the proton donator, and NH3 is the proton acceptor (does
not have OH as an anion).
3) An acid will react with some metals to form Hydrogen gas (wait
until redox to see which metals):
2 HCl(aq) + Mg(s) H2(g) + MgCl2(aq)
This can be used as a test for an acid.

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

4) An acid that is reacted with a carbonate or a hydrogen carbonate
is a traditional acid/base reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas:
2 HNO3(aq) + CaCO3(s) H2O(l) + CO2(g) + Ca(NO3)2(aq)
HI(aq) + NaHCO3(s) H2O(l) + CO2(g) + NaI(aq)
This is used as a test for carbonates in minerals such as limestone
5) Lewis Acid/Base reaction
The lewis acid, BF3 (electron poor, not a full octet) is
accepting the electron pair from the lewis base F
(electron rich) that is donating the electron pair.
A lewis acid-base reaction usually produces a covalent
bond where both of the electrons in the bond came from one
species. Complexes with ligands are usually lewis acid-base
Brnsted-Lowry acids and bases must come in pairs. Many of
them are also reactions that from an equilibrium.
HF + H2O F + H3O+
Here HF is acting as the acid and water is acting as the base.
However, this is a reversible reaction.
HF and F are called a conjugate acid/base pair.
Similarly, H2O and H3O+ are also a conjugate acid/base pair.
A conjugate acid/base pair differ by one proton. An acid as a
reactant, must have a base as a product.

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

Ex 1
Identify the acid-base conjugate pairs in the following equilibria:
PO43- + H2O HPO42- + OH

NH4+ + H2O H3O+ + NH3

HCN + H2O H3O+ + CN

Follow Up Problems
18.4, 13
18.2, 5, 7, 37, 38, 43, 45, 47, 49, 133, 137

IB Chemistry ABS Water and pH

Most of our acid/base chemistry is carried out in aqueous
environments. Water is an amphiprotic substance.
An amphiprotic substance can act as an acid and a base. In
previous examples, we saw water acting as a Brnsted-Lowry acid
and a base:
PO43- + H2O HPO42- + OH
NH4+ + H2O H3O+ + NH3
Water can act as an acid and a base with itself: auto-ionization.
2 H2O(l) H3O+(aq) + OH(aq)
Every water solution will have some H3O+ and some OH
The equilibrium constant for this reaction is:
Kw = [H3O+][OH]

At 25C, Kw = 1.0 x 10-14

A pure water solution at 25C will have

Kw = [H3O+][OH] = 1.0 x 10-14

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

In pure water the only source of these ions is:
2 H2O(l) H3O+(aq) + OH(aq)
Then, [H3O+] = [OH] = 1.0 x 10-7 M
The solution is still neutral because: [H3O+] = [OH]
An Acid solution has [H3O+] > [OH]
A basic solution has [H3O+] < [OH]
Ex 1
Use Le Chtelier's Principal and the Kw expression to explain the
changes to [H3O+] and [OH] as an acid and a base is added to pure

Acidity and basicity is measured by a logarithmic scale. The pH

scale is based on the power of Hydrogen.
pH = -log[H3O+]
pH has no units.
The pH of a neutral water solution at 25C is
-log(1.0 x 10-7M) = 7.00
Note: In pH, only numbers after the decimal are significant.

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts



Acidic or basic

1.0 M (100 M)

102 M

104 M

1.0 x 105 M

5.0 x 107 M

1.0 x 107 M

109 M

2.0 x 1011 M

4.0 x 1014 M

Each change of a pH value is a 10x change in acid strength.

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

To convert pH back to [H3O+],

[H3O+] = 10-pH

The prefix p means to take the negative log of a value.

pKw = -logKw.
pOH = -log[OH]
Kw = [H3O+][OH] = 1.0 x 10-14
Taking the negative log of this gives:
pKw = pH + pOH = 14.00

K =[H O+ ][OH ]

[H 3O + ] !#####

pH= log[H O ]

! pOH= log[OH ]
pH + pOH = 14



3.5 x 10

[OH ]





6.805 x 10

The value of Kw varies with temperature.
The auto-ionization of water is an endothermic process. The
equilibrium shifts to the products side as temperature increases.
Ex 2
a) What is the pH of neutral water at 50C

b) The pOH of a neutral water sample is 6.40. What is the

temperature of this sample?

Follow Up Problems 18.2, 3,

Problems 18.21, 27, 29, 36, 40

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

IB Chemistry ABS Acid Solutions

Acids are characterized by the degree that they dissociate (ionize)
in water.
A strong acid will dissociate completely in water. It will be a
strong electrolyte.
A weak acid will only dissociate partially in water; it will form an
equilibrium. It will be a weak electrolyte.
Be careful with these words. Concentrated and dilute refer to
The strong acids you need to know are:
HCl, HBr, HI, H2SO4, HNO3.
These will dissociate completely in water
HCl(aq) + H2O(l) H3O+(aq) + Cl(aq)
Ex 1:
Calculate the pH of a 0.200 M HCl solution.

Calculate the pOH of a 7.15 x 10-5M HNO3 solution.

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

A weak acid solution will form an equilibrium with water. There
are many weak acids, some are given on Table 16, and in the
appendix of your text.
We will use a generic weak acid HA

[H 3O + ][A - ]
Ka =

HA(aq) + H2O(l) H3O+(aq) + A(aq)

Ka is the equilibrium constant for a weak acid reacting
with water.
You only need to dissociate one proton in any question.
In IB, Ka values will have units of kmol/m3.
pKa values are used in the IB Data Booklet.
pKa = -logKa. (no units)
Often, units are omitted from Ka values.
Ex 2:
Find the pH of a 0.100 M HF solution.
Note the assumption.

Ka = 6.8 x 10-4

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

Ex 3:
A 0.035 M solution of an unknown acid has a pH of 5.80. What is
the pKa of this acid?

Ex 4:
How could you determine if a 0.50 M acid solution is a strong or
weak acid solution?

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

Ex 5:
A solution of benzoic acid has a pH of 5.10. What is the
concentration of the solution?

Follow Up Problems 18.6, 7

Problems 18.25(a), 59, 60, 63, 65, 67, 71

IB Chemistry ABS Basic Solutions

Bases also fall into the categories of strong and weak.
Strong bases are group 1 hydroxides and Ba(OH)2.
There are many weak bases including ammonia and methyl amine.
(Nitrogen with a lone pair of electrons)
Strong bases dissociate completely in water.
Ex 1:
Find the pH of a 2.0 M NaOH solution.

Find the pOH of a 0.015 M Ba(OH)2 solution.


IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

A weak base solution dissociates partially in water.
NH3(aq) + H2O(l) OH(aq) + NH4+(aq)
[NH 4 + ][OH - ]
Kb =
[NH 3 ]

This is the equilibrium expression for a weak base reacting with

Ex 2:
A 0.25 M solution of an unknown base has a pH of 11.80. What is
the dissociation constant value for this weak base?

For a weak acid HA:

Ka =

For its conjugate base A:

Ka ! K b =

[H 3O + ][A - ]

Kb =

[HA][OH - ]
[A ]

[H 3O + ][A - ] [HA][OH - ]

[A ]

K a ! K b =K w

= [H 3O + ][OH - ]=K w

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

It is very important to remember to use the Ka value of the
conjugate acid of the weak base.
To find the Kb of HCO3, we must use the the Ka value of the
conjugate acid: H2CO3.
Ex 3:
What is the pH of a 0.038 M solution of acetate ions (CH3COO).

What are the trends in acid base


Follow Up Problems 18.9, 10

18.25(b), 83, 86, 88, 90, 94, 96, 98,
100, 102


IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

IB Chemistry ABS Salt Solutions

Many aqueous ions form acidic or basic solutions.
Cations can form neutral or acidic solutions.
Ammonium (NH4+) is a weak acid, it will form an acidic solution.
Cations that are small and highly charged can form acidic
The water molecules have electrons pulled away from the OH
bond, making it weaker and the solution acidic.
The higher the charge density, the greater the acidity. Al3+, Fe3+,
and Cr3+ have notable acidity. These are small highly charged
ions. Fe2+ or Cu2+ would have a much lower acidity.
Alkali metals do not form acidic solutions.
Cations with a 2+ charge only form very slightly acidic solutions if
the ion is very small.
Anions can form acidic or basic or neutral solutions.
The conjugate base of a strong acid will form a neutral solution:
Cl, Br, I, NO3
The anion can be the conjugate base of a weak acid: a weak base.
These anions are weak bases and will make a solution basic: F,
NO2, CH3COO, CO32.
Ex 1: Indicate if the following solutions will be acidic, basic or
a) NaF
b) AlCl3
c) NH4NO3



e) MgI


IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

An anion can also be amphiprotic: HCO3, HSO3.
If an ion is amphiprotic, it acts like an acid and a base. We must
determine which reaction is predominant.
Compare the Ka of the acid to the Kb of the base.
The larger equilibrium constant will be the predominant reaction.
Ex 2: Are HCO3, HSO3 acidic or basic?

A solution can form with a cation that is acidic, and an anion that
is basic.
The predominant reaction is determined by comparing the Ka and
the Kb.
Ex 3: Predict the acidity/basicity of:

b) NH4CN


d) Al(NO3)3


Follow Up Problems 18.11, 12

Problems 18.117, 119, 121, 123, 127


IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

IB Chemistry ABS Buffers/Indicators

A buffer is an application of Le Chtelier's Principle to acid/base
A buffer is a mixture of a weak acid and its conjugate base that
minimize the change in pH upon the addition of small amounts of
strong acid or base.
Buffers are very important in many biological systems.
Consider an acetic acid buffer:
What happens with the addition of a small amount of strong acid?
Strong base?

Describe three ways to make this buffer.


IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

A buffer is a weak acid equilibrium. For:
HA + H2O H3O+ + A

Ka =

If [HA] = [A] then Ka = [H3O+] and pH = pKa

The appropriate acid for a specific pH buffer can be chosen by pKa
For a buffer, the pH can be calculated from the concentrations of
the acid and the conjugate base.
Ka =

[H 3O + ][A - ]

Taking the -log of both


[H 3O + ]=K a

[A - ]

pH = pKa + log


Ex 1:
What is the pH of a buffer with 0.20 moles of H2CO3 and 0.35
moles of HCO3?

What would happen to the pH is 0.010 moles of OH is added to

the buffer?

How would you prepare a buffer at a pH of 11.0?


[H 3O + ][A - ]

IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

The optimum pH of blood is 7.35.
Haemoglobin in blood binds with oxygen through the following
HHb + O2 + H2O H3O+ + HbO2
What happens if blood pH gets too high or low?

Main buffers in blood are H2CO3/HCO3 and H2PO4/HPO42

An acid/base indicator is a weak acid/ conjugate base mixture
where the acid and base have different colours.
Bromophenol blue has a yellow and blue colour.
HBrph + H2O H3O+ + Brph
With the addition of acid, the equilibrium shifts left, becomes
With the addition of base, the equilibrium shifts right, becomes
In the middle of the colour change (green)
[HBrph] = [Brph].
Ka = [H3O+]
[H 3O + ][Brph - ]
Ka =
Indicators are added to titrations to
determine the endpoint of the titration.
They are added in such small amounts that they do not affect the
the titration.

There is a table in your IB data booklet that outlines the pH range

and colour change for different indicators.

Follow Up Problems 19.1, 2

Problems 19.2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 19, 27, 33, 39, 40, 41, 48


IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

IB Chemistry ABS Titration curves

The pH scale is logarithmic. One drop of HCl may change the pH
of a solution from 7.0 to 5.0 (1.0x10-7M to 1.0x10-5M) yet have no
measurable affect on a solution at a pH of 1.0 (0.1 M)
During a titration the pH will change around the neutral solution
very quickly.
A strong
acid/strong base
titration will
reach the
equivalence point
at pH = 7.0.
A titration of a
strong acid with a
strong base (base
in the burette):
Similarly, a
strong base
titrated with a
strong acid:
An indicator for this titration must change in the range of
pH 3 - 11.
What indicators would be suitable?


IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

There are three important differences with weak acid/base
1. The initial pH will be different because the weak acid/base
only dissociates partially.
2. A buffer will form as part of the weak acid or base has been
converted into its conjugate.
3. The pH at the equivalence point will not be 7.0. At the
equivalence point, there is a conjugate acid/base to alter the

To determine the pH at the

equivalence point, remember the
species that are present.
A weak acid will be reacted to its
conjugate base: the solution will be
A weak base will be reacted to its
conjugate acid: the solution will be
The indicator must be chosen


IB Chemistry Acids Bases and Salts

A titration of a weak acid with a weak base, will have two buffers.
There will be no clear equivalence point, and the titration will not
be useful
Draw a weak acid/weak base titration curve

The buffer region can be used to calculate the K value of the weak
acid or base.
If a weak acid titration used 20.00 mL of base to reach the
equivalence point, then at 10.00 mL, half of the acid will be
converted to the conjugate base.

Ka =

[H 3O + ][A - ]

K a = [H 3O + ]


Follow Up Problems 19.3(e)

Problems 19.42, 44, 46, 50, 58
Sketch all titration curves for these problems