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Buffers

Buffers

Lab Tool - Round Bottom FlasksIntroduction: Buffers are essential to balancing pH values in a solution in a way that allows certain reactions to progress and that allows enzymes to stay active for different applications. In many therapeutic pharmaceuticals, certain pH values are necessary to maintain and even extend shelf lives, as well as to maintain certain pH values so as to not damage certain body tissues. In the production of bread, the production of carbon dioxide may affect the pH with the production of carbonic acid; therefore, the use of buffers like milk and flour help to ensure that fermentation is not adversely affected.

To approximate the pH value of a buffer solution, a relationship known as the Henderson-Hasselbach equation can be used:

[math]pH = pK_a + "log" "A"^-/"HA"[/math],

where [math]pK_a[/math] is the negative log of the acid ionization constant, HA is a weak acid, and [math]"A"^"-"[/math] is the conjugate base of the weak acid.

A buffer requires that the molarity of the buffer be at least one-hundred times that of the acid ionization constant and that there be no strong acids or bases involved in the buffer solution.


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