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ACTIVITY pH Measurement and Buffer Section Schedule


2 Capacity
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ACTIVITY 2
pH Measurement and Buffer Capacity

INTRODUCTION

A. Measurement of pH
The measurement of pH is an important laboratory procedure because the pH of a solution
affects the activity of biological molecules. Body fluids have a normal pH range that allows biochemical
activities to occur. A deviation from the normal pH ranges indicates disorder. Following are the normal
pH range of some body fluids:
Fluid pH
Gastric juice 1.0 – 3.0
Urine 5.5 – 7.0
Saliva 6.5 – 7.5
Blood 7.35 – 7.45
Intestinal secretions 7.7
Pancreatic juice 8

The pH scale that we are familiar with today was developed by Soren Sorensen in 1909. pH is
defined as the negative logarithm of the concentration of the hydrogen ions in moles per liter. The values
of pH ranges between 0 and 14. An aqueous solution is acidic if the pH < 7, while at pH > 7 it is basic or
alkaline. PH 7 for water is known to be neutral at room temperatures. Acid solutions have a greater
concentration of hydronium ions than the hydroxide ion, while basic solutions have a greater
concentration of the hydroxide ions than the hydronium ions.
The pH of a solution is measured using a pH meter or a calorimetric indicator. The pH meter is
based on the concept that the voltage of an electric current passing through a solution changes according
to the pH of the solution. A colorimetric indicator is a chemical dye which changes color at certain
hydrogen ion concentrations.

http://jchemed.chem.wisc.edu http://catalog.miniscience.com www.bbc.co.uk


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B. Buffers
Buffers protect the living system, from large changes in pH when an acid or a base is added to
the system. The pH must be regulated because the enzymes that catalyze metabolic reactions work only
within a narrow pH range. An abrupt change in the pH may slow down or stop the action of enzymes. A
buffer solution consists of a weak acid and its conjugate base that resist change in pH upon addition of
small amounts either acid or base.
Standard buffer solutions are prepared from weak acids and the salts of weak acids. The pH of a
buffer can be determined using the following formula:
Since HA  H+ + A –

Then Ka =
  
H A 
= H    
A
HA  HA 

We can take the logarithm of both sides pKa = pH – log


A 

HA 
Thus, pH = pKa + log
A 

HA 

OBJECTIVES
1. To be able to measure the pH of sample solutions using the pH paper.
2. To differentiate changes in pH in unbuffered and buffered solutions.

MATERIALS
pH paper, wash bottle, stirring rod, petri dish (2), 25 ml graduated cylinder (1), 25 mL pipette (2),
aspirator, 400 ml beaker (1) , 100 ml beaker(3), pH meter, dropper (2)

REAGENTS
aspirin tablet, baking soda, milk of magnesia, urine (infant’s and adult’s), vinegar, albumin, liquid
detergent, 0.1M NaCl, 0.1M H3PO4, 0.1M H2CO3, 0.1M NaC2H3O2, distilled water 1.0M HCl, 1.0M
NaOH, 0.1M HC2H3O2

PROCEDURE

I. pH measurement of common acids, bases and salts


1. Place about 25 mL of the solutions listed in the table in separate, clean, dry beakers.
2. Measure the pH of each solution using a pH meter. Record the pH of each solution in the data
table.

II. pH measurement of common household chemicals


1. Place a half cm length of pH paper strips on a petri dish.
2. Wet each of the pH paper with a solution listed in the table using a stirring rod. Be sure you wash
with distilled water and dry the stirring rod before using in the next solution.
3. Record the pH of each of the solutions listed in the table by comparing the color with the color
chart in the pH paper container.

III. Buffer action

A. Preparation of buffer solution and addition of acid


1. Pipet 25.00 mL of 0.1 M sodium acetate, NaC2H3O2, into a clean 100 mL beaker. Pipet 25.00
mL of 0.1 M acetic acid, H2C2H3O2, into the same beaker and mix the solutions. A buffer solution
have just been prepared.
2. Measure the pH of this buffer and record the value in the data table.
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3. Add 5 drops of 1.0 M HCl to the buffer one drop at a time. Swirl the solution after each addition.
Measure the pH after each drop is added, and record the pH on the data table. Wait for several
seconds for the displayed pH value to stabilize.

4. Before proceeding to step B, add 5 drops of 1.0 M NaOH to the buffer solution to compensate for
the 5 drops of 1.0 M HCl added before. Stir the solution well and measure its pH. It should be
the same as that of the original buffer solution.

B. Addition of base to a buffer solution


5. Add 5 drops of 1.0 M NaOH to the buffer solution one drop at a time. Swirl the solution after
each addition. Measure the pH after each drop is added and record the pH on the data table.

C. Addition of acid and base to unbuffered solution


6. Place about 25 mL distilled water into a clean 100 mL beaker. Measure the pH of the water and
record in the data table. Add 5 drops of 1.0 M HCl one drop at a time. Swirl the solution after
each addition. Measure the pH after each drop is added and record the pH on the data table.
7. Place about 25 mL distilled water into another clean 100 mL beaker. Measure the pH of the
water and record in the data table. Add 5 drops of 1.0 M NaOH one drop at a time. Swirl the
solution after each addition. Measure the pH after each drop is added and record the pH on the
data table.