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Objective, Experiment 11: Determining the pKa of a weak acid

The objective of this experiment is to titrate a weak acid to determine its pKa value. There are 14 steps in this experiment. For more information on pKa click and when the online textbook opens, go to page 2. Note · The pKa value is a measure of the strength of a weak acid.

Step1, Experiment 11 Drag an empty beaker onto the pH meter. Step 2, Experiment 11 Pour approximately 3 mL of the weak acid solution into the empty beaker. Right-click the beaker, click Properties and record the chemical name, volume, concentration, and pH in your lab notebook. Step 3, Experiment 11 · Record the volume and concentration of the strong base in the burette.

Step 4, Experiment 11 · Add the strong base one drop at a time. Record the volume of the liquid in the burette and the pH of the solution in the beaker every few drops. · Record the results after every drop when the pH starts rising rapidly.

Step 5, Experiment 11 When the pH exceeds 10, right-click the burette then click Drip Fast and continue recording results until the pH reaches approximately 12.5. Step 6, Experiment 11 · Plot the results in your lab notebook with pH on the y - axis and volume of titrant on the y - axis. Step 7, Experiment 11 · Note · If this is your first attempt at performing a titration your graph may appear rough in comparison with the ChemLab graph which is plotted at every drop. Join the points on your graph to create a smooth curve.

Step 8, Experiment 11 Now that you have observed the approximate volume at which to expect the equivalence point in this titration, perform the titration again and try to increase the accuracy of your results. · Titrate at a slow pace near the equivalence point to accurately determine the volume and pH of the endpoint. · The use of the correct pH indicator will signal the endpoint of titration with a color change. Which pH indicator would best signal the end point of this titration? Click . Step 9, Experiment 11 · Reset the lab and repeat the experiment with the selected indicator.

Step 10, Experiment 11 · You can determine the equivalence point with the pH meter, the ChemLab graph or by using this formula: .


· The point at which the solution changed color is called the endpoint. If your endpoint does not match your equivalence point within a few drops, then repeat the experiment with a different pH indicator. Step 11, Experiment 11


Determine the equivalence point of the curve and record this value.

Step 12, Experiment 11

· Draw a vertical line on the curve at the point which is exactly half the volume of the equivalence point.

What is the pH on the titration curve at this volume? Step 13, Experiment 11 · Note · Half way to the equivalence point half the weak acid has been converted to its conjugate base. Therefore, [conjugate base]=[weak acid] at that point, and the equation reduces to pH=pKa. The pH on the graph at the half way point equals the pKa for the weak acid. · For more information on the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation click , and when the online textbook opens, go to page 30. Step 14, Experiment 11 · Right click the ChemLab screen anywhere except over a ChemLab object and click Acids/Bases. Click a different weak acid and determine its pKa. Use this pH value and the buffer equation to calculate the pKa of the acid.