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Chemistry 18.

Experiment 5: Common Ion Effect
Group 5 (TF)
Sheryl Salazar and Carla Guico

Submitted to: Prof. Julius Nunez

In this experiment, different situations are observed to support a special case of Le Chatelier’s
principle in equilibrium systems. The “Common ion effect” is tested through changes in ionization, buffering
effect in solutions, and variability of the solubility constant. In the first part of the experiment, different
solutions of strong and weak acids and bases are compared to similar solutions with an added common ion
by measuring their pH values. In the second part, different mixtures of acids and bases were tested for the
presence of buffering effect that are depicted in the amount of change in the pH value when added an acidic
or basic solution. On the last activity, the solubility of benzoic acid crystals in a solution with sodium
benzoate is compared to its experimental value from the past experiment.

Key concepts: Common Ion Effect, Buffer Solutions, Solubility, Precipitation, Weak electrolyte (acid/base),
pH value

opens the system to freely exchange protons

Introduction among the acid/base, conjugate base/acid,
hydrogen and hydroxide ions, and water. Once a
Common ion effect is a special event of small amount of acid is added, it initially ionizes to
Le Chateliers principle depicted in equilibrium hydrogen ions which are consumed by the
solutions. A “common ion” is portrayed as a present conjugate base in the system. While and
similar ionized element of a compound present in added base ionizes to hydroxide ions and
two different solutions mixed together. Usually a consumed by the present acid in the solution. By
solution containing a “common ion” relatively is suppressing the formation and addition of
added to a system in equilibria. In such event, the hydrogen and hydroxide ions, the pH value of the
original system shifts or adjusts the reaction system is retained.
present to consume the added ion. Usually in
weak acid or bases, the ionization in the solution Experimental
is suppressed by the presence of the added
common ion since the system strives to retain is On the first part of the experiment, the following
equilibrium by shifting back and forming the acid solutions were prepared and the pH level of each
or basic compound again. This results to the solution was determined by the use of a pH
change in pH value of the solution because of the meter.
lessened value of hydrogen or hydroxide ions. In REAGENTS
relation to strong acidic and basic solutions, this
effect is not highly observed since it is difficult for 10 mL 0.1 M HCl + 2 mL H2O
an almost completely ionized system to divert 10 mL 0.1 M HCl + 2 mL 0.1 M NaCl
back to the formation of its reactants.
This is the principle behind buffer 10 mL 0.1 M HAc + 2 mL H2O
solutions. In definition, buffer solutions are 10 mL 0.1 M HOAc + 2 mL 0.1 M NaOAc
solutions made up of a weak acid or base and its
conjugate base or acid respectively. Each must 10 mL 0.1 M NaOH + 2 mL H2O
contain the same volume and molarity to form a 10 mL 0.1 M NaOH + 2 mL 0.1 M NaCl
buffer solution. Given this, buffer solutions are
Table 1-Part A. Effect on the Ionization of
expected to be in a state of equilibrium in which it
Acids/ Bases
will resist any changes in its pH value. There are
two types of buffer solutions; acidic, made up of a
For the next part of the experiment, the pH of
weak acid and conjugate base (pH less than 7,)
distilled H2O was determined and 10 mL of the
and alkaline, made up of a weak base and
liquid was placed in a test tube. 6 M of HCl was
conjugate acid (pH greater than 7,) buffer
added and the pH of the mixture was determined.
solutions. Buffer solutions act upon an added
Then, a drop of 6 M of NaOH and 10 mL of H2O
base or acid solution to its system by removing
was mixed in a test tube and the pH of the
any new formed hydrogen ions or hydroxide ions
solution was measured. The following solutions
thus neutralizing the added solution.
were prepared:
In a buffer system, there are three types
of chemical reaction present: Auto ionization of
water, Acid dissociation, and Hydrolysis. This

Chem 18.1 Experiment 5: Common ion Effect
SOLUTION pH obtained after the addition of a drop of 6 M
HCl was 2.96. On the other hand, the measured
A. 10 mL 0.5 M HOAc + 10 mL 0.5 M NaOAc pH for the solution of a drop of 6 M NaOH and 10
B. 10 mL 0.5 M HCl + 10 mL 0.5 M NaCl mL H2O was 11.57. The results of the pH values
obtained for different solutions and those which
C. 10 mL 0.5 M HNO3 + 10 mL 0.5 M NaNO3 exhibited buffering action are shown below.
D. 10 mL 0.5 M NaH2PO4 + 10 mL 0.5 M
NaH2PO4 pH after
pH of pH after
E. 10 mL 0.5 M NH4OH + 10 mL 0.5 M NH4Cl Solution original addition Conclusion
Table 2-Part B. Buffering Effect solution of HCl
A 5.00 4.72 5.11 B B
The pH levels of these solutions were determined B 2.03 1.64 2.13 NB NB
and each solution was divided into two equal C 1.47 1.92 2.02 NB NB
parts. One part of each solution was added with a D 7.41 7.14 7.52 B B
drop of 6 M HCl then the pH of each solution was E 9.12 8.96 9.12 B B
measured. The other part was added with a drop Black= experimental
of 6 M NaOH and likewise, the pH of each Red= theoretical
solution was also measured. Solutions which
exhibited buffering action were identified. Table 4-Experimental pH variations on
buffering effect
The last part of the experiment is the effect of
common ion on the solubility of slightly soluble For the last part of the experiment, the following
salts wherein 50 mL of distilled water was placed results were calculated.
in a 100-mL beaker then, 0.5 g of sodium
benzoate was added and heated to about 40˚C.
After that, benzoic acid crystals were added using Volume of 0.01 M NaOH 37mL
a small amount at a time, stirred after each Solubility of benzoic acid
addition until the crystals no longer dissolve. The in water (from the 0.0051 M
mixture was cooled with stirring to room previous experiment)
temperature and then filtered with the filtrate Solubility of benzoic acid
collected in a clean beaker. 10 mL of the filtrate in sodium benzoate 1.478 x 10-3 M
was collected with the use of a pipet into a 50 mL solution
Erlenmeyer flask added with 2 drops of
phenolphthalein. The solution was then titrated Discussions
with 0.01 M NaOH to a light pink end-point.
In the first part of the experiment, effect on the
Results ionization of acids/bases, it can be seen that the
first solution has a low pH value which is
For the first part of the experiment which is the expected since HCl, a strong acid, is present. Its
effect on the ionization of acids/bases, the mixture with water did not affect the pH of the
following results were obtained for the pH of each solution since it is neutral, having a pH of 7.00.
solution. Similarly, the second solution got a low pH value
which is also due to the presence of HCl and
REAGENTS pH because the addition of extra Cl- ions does not
10 mL 0.1 M HCl + 2 mL 1.73 affect the concentration of H+. The pH of the
H2O fourth solution is expected to be higher than the
10 mL 0.1 M HCl + 2 mL 2.45 pH of the third one since acetic acid is present, a
0.1 M NaCl weak acid and dissociates to a lesser extent. The
10 mL 0.1 M HAc + 2 mL 3.45 addition of acetate ions from NaOAc which is a
H2O strong electrolyte will cause the reaction to shift
10 mL 0.1 M HOAc + 2 mL 3.49 towards the opposite of dissociation, therefore
0.1 M NaOAc causing the pH to increase. The pH values of the
10 mL 0.1 M NaOH + 2 mL 11.47 fifth and sixth solutions are expected to be high
H2O due to the presence of the strong base, NaOH. It
can be observed that both pH values are close to
10 mL 0.1 M NaOH + 2 mL 11.41
each other since NaOH dissociates completely
0.1 M NaCl
and is not affected by the presence of any other
Table 3-Experimental pH of the effect on the
ionization of acids/bases
In the next part of the experiment which is the
buffering effect, some of the experimental results
On the second part of the experiment, the
we got do not agree with the theoretical results
obtained pH of distilled water was 7.00 and the
Chem 18.1 Experiment 5: Common ion Effect
which actually tell which of the solutions exhibit = 0.07576 M
buffering action. Some solutions were determined
to be buffers because based on its definition, Ksp = 2.25 x 10-4 M = [C6H5COO-][H+] =
buffers are solutions which resist a change in pH (0.07576+x)(x)
when small amounts of acid or base are added.
Buffers contain an acidic species to neutralize *we assume that 0.07576 + x = 0.07576
OH- ions and a basic species to neutralize H+
ions. However, these two species must be able 1.12 x 10-4 = (0.07576)(x)
to coexist in a solution without completely x = 1.478 x 10-3
neutralizing each other. Their behavior is based
on establishing excesses of both the original acid • Calculations – Theoretical
or base, and the conjugate (generally obtained by Ksp = [C6H5COO-][H+] = 2.25 x 10-4 M
adding a salt). For the hypothetical pair HA (a
weak acid) and NaA (a salt containing the ion A-, C6H5COOH ⇔ C6H5COO- + H+
the conjugate base of HA) this system of
reactions is relevant in aqueous solution: Initial - 0.07576 0
HA(aq) + H2O(ℓ) ⇔H3O+(aq) + A-(aq) Change - +x +x
NaA(s) → Na+(aq) + A-(aq) Equilibrium - 0.07576+x x
The presence of excess A- (the "common ion")
causes a shift in the equilibrium of the first =0.5 g NaOAc x 1 mole NaOAc/132 g
reaction and sets up the required condition for NaOAc = 0.003788 moles
buffering behavior.
 Given the following reaction: Molarity = 0.003788 moles/0.050 L
HX⇔H+ + X- = 0.07576 M
where Ka = [H+][X-]
[HX] Ksp = 2.25 x 10-4 M = [C6H5COO-][H+] =
For this reaction, the pH depends on the acid (0.07576+x)(x)
dissociation constant and the ratio of the *we assume that 0.07576 + x = 0.07576
concentrations of the conjugate acid-base pair.
Consequently, it can be observed that when the 2.25 x 10-4 M = (0.07576)(x)
concentration of HX and X- ions are equal, the pH x = 2.97 x 10-3
becomes equal to the pKa of the solution. Thus
buffers whose acid form has a pKa that is close to
the desired pH is often used. When strong acids Experimental - 1.478 x 10-3
are added to the buffer solution, the strong acid Theoretical - 2.97 x 10-3
will react and be neutralized by the base present Percent yield = 49.76%
in the buffer. When strong bases are added to the
buffered solution, the strong base will react and Application
be neutralized with the weak acid present in the
buffer. In biological systems, buffer solutions are
essential to perform bodily functions and one
For the last part of the experiment, the effect of example of this system is the blood. The blood
common ion on the solubility of slightly soluble consists of buffers that able it to retain
salts, the presence of C6H5COO- in the solution homeostasis in the body. In relation to this buffer
theoretically reduces the solubility of C6H5COOH, systems are incorporated in intravenous
shifting the solubility equilibrium to the left. This medication to ensure that the medication will not
reduction in solubility is also due to the common disturb the equilibrium in the body. Also essential
ion effect. Generally speaking, the presence of a pH value is required for a certain effectiveness of
second solute that gives a common ion decreases the drug is attained.
the solubilty of a slightly soluble salt.
Conclusion and Recommendation/s
• Calculations – Experimental
Ksp = [C6H5COO-][H+] This experiment concludes that the
C6H5COOH ⇔ C6H5COO- + H+ common ion effect suppresses the ionization of a
Initial - 0.07576 0 weak electrolyte but does not affect strong
Change - +x +x electrolytes. The reversibility of the reactions of
Equilibrium - 0.07576 x weak electrolytes makes it able to shift backward
in the addition of a common ion. It is also present
=0.5 g NaOAc x 1 mole NaOAc/132 g in the principle of buffer solutions. The common
NaOAc = 0.003788 moles ions added to buffer systems are in the forms of
hydrogen and hydroxide ions. In initial reactions
Molarity = 0.003788 moles/0.050 L the buffer solutions react to these ions,

Chem 18.1 Experiment 5: Common ion Effect
consuming them and forming its former reactants.
Thus by hindering the formation of new ions of
hydrogen and hydroxide, the pH value is
maintained. In solubility, the common ion added
results to the precipitation of the initial salt
dissolved in the system concluding a decrease in
it solubility.
Recommendations applicable to this
experiment would be a better accuracy in
measuring the different reagents and to practice
ideal cleanliness in handling these to avoid
contamination in the solution thus avoiding false


Casiday, R., Frey, R. (n.d.). pH Regulation drug

exercise. Retrieved July 15, 2010 from

Chang, R. (2008). General Chemistry: The

essential concepts, 5th ed. New York:
McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

Handout on buffer solutions. (2001). Retrieved

July 15, 2010 from

Chem 18.1 Experiment 5: Common ion Effect