We are being asked to determine the ratio of HCO3- to H2CO3 in
a. the blood of pH 7.4
b. an exhausted marathon runner whose blood pH is 7.2
H2CO3 is a weak acid (and based on the Bronsted-Lowry definition, an acid is a proton (H+) donor. Once H2CO3 loses its proton, its conjugate base is formed)
H2CO3 + H2O ⇋ HCO3- + H3O+
Whenever we have a conjugate base and weak acid, we have a buffer.
We will use the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation
Derive the ratio of HCO3- to H2CO3
where HCO3- is the conjugate base and H2CO3 is the weak acid
A. What is the ratio of HCO3- to H2CO3 in the blood of pH 7.4?
B. What is the ratio of HCO3-- to H2CO3 in an exhausted marathon runner whose blood pH is 7.2?
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