Saturday, October 1, 2022
HomeChemistryBuffer Capability & Calculations | ChemTalk

Buffer Capability & Calculations | ChemTalk

Core Ideas

On this tutorial, you’ll be taught what a buffer capability is, and how you can calculate it. We may even offer you a walkthrough of an instance drawback.

Matters Coated in Different Articles

What’s Buffer Capability?

Buffers are proof against modifications in pH, however they aren’t invincible! Add sufficient acids or bases right into a buffer and its pH will change dramatically.

To grasp why this occurs, recall {that a} buffer is a weak acid and its conjugated base (or a weak base and its conjugated acid). Let’s check out an instance of 1 such buffer: acetic acid and its conjugated base, acetate.

CH3COOH(aq) ⇄ CH3COO(aq) + H+(aq)

Right here, after we add an acid to the buffer, the acetate will take in the added protons (H+) and kind acetic acid, stopping the H+ focus of the answer and consequentially its pH from altering an excessive amount of. Likewise, after we add a base to the buffer, the acetic acid will react with the bottom to kind acetate and water, stopping the rise of the OH focus. 

Nonetheless, these acetic acids and acetates are finite assets. After we add in an entire lot of acid or base, they may dissipate all the acetic acid and acetate of the buffer, thus making the buffer prone to dramatic pH change.

Buffer capability, then, is the quantity of acid or base we are able to add to the buffer earlier than its pH dramatically modifications. The upper the buffer capability of a buffer, the extra acid and base we are able to add to it earlier than its pH modifications considerably.

Normal Traits in Buffer Capability

The upper the focus of the weak acid and the conjugate base (or a weak base and a conjugate acid) a buffer has, the upper its buffer capability can be. For instance, a buffer with [weak acid] = 0.50 M (the [ ] denotes focus) and [conjugate base] = 0.30 M would have a better buffer capability than a buffer with [weak acid] = 0.050 M and [conjugate base] = 0.030 M.

If a buffer has a better focus of the weak acid than that of the conjugate base, then it would have a better capability for added base.

Likewise, if a buffer has a better focus of the conjugate base than that of the weak acid, then it would have a better capability for added acid. Blood, with its 20:1 ratio of bicarbonate to carbonic acid, is a good instance of any such buffer.

Find out how to Calculate Buffer Capability?

In additional rigorous phrases, buffer capability is outlined because the variety of moles of an acid or base that needs to be added to 1 liter of a buffer to trigger its pH to vary by 1 unit.

Due to this fact, to calculate buffer capability, we use the next system:

β = n / ΔpH

  • β is buffer capability (it’s unitless)
  • n is the variety of moles of an acid or base (that have been added to the buffer) per liter of the buffer
  • ΔpH is the distinction between the preliminary pH of the buffer and the pH of the buffer after the acid or base is added

Instance Downside of Buffer Capability


We’re given 600 mL of a sodium phosphate buffer with a pH of seven.39. We then add to it 150 mL of 0.2 M HCl, which supplies the buffer resolution a brand new pH of seven.03. What’s the buffer capability of our sodium phosphate buffer?


First, we discover n by dividing the variety of moles of HCl we added to the buffer by the preliminary quantity of the buffer (in liter, don’t neglect!).

Variety of moles of HCl = 0.2 M × 0.150 L = 0.03 mol

n = 0.03 moles / 0.600 L = 0.05 mol/L

Then, following the buffer capability system, we divide n by the change in pH of the sodium phosphate resolution.

ΔpH = |7.03 – 7.39| = 0.36

β = 0.05 mol/L / 0.36 = 0.14

Thus, the buffer capability of our sodium phosphate resolution is 0.14.

Additional Readings



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments