Problem: 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?

FREE Expert Solution

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 + H2 HCO3- + H3O+


Whenever we have a conjugate base and weak acid, we have a buffer.


We will use the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation

pH = pKa + log(conjugate baseweak acid)


Derive the ratio of HCO3- to H2CO3


(conjugate baseweak acid) = 10pH - pKa


where HCO3- is the conjugate base and H2CO3 is the weak acid


93% (66 ratings)
View Complete Written Solution
Problem Details

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?

Frequently Asked Questions

What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Henderson Hasselbalch Equation concept. If you need more Henderson Hasselbalch Equation practice, you can also practice Henderson Hasselbalch Equation practice problems.