Problem: Which of the following solutions can act as a buffer?a) KCN/HCN, b) Na2SO4/NaHSO4c) NH3/NH4NO3d) NaI/HI

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We’re being asked to determine which of the given solutions can act as a buffer.


Recall that a buffer can be composed of the following:

weak base and its conjugate acid
weak acid and its conjugate base
weak acid and a strong base 

▪ concentration of weak acid > concentration of strong base

weak base and a strong acid 

concentration of weak base > concentration of strong acid


The maximum buffering capacity of a solution is when the pH of the solution is equal to pKa and the buffer range of a solution is pH = pKa ± 1

 maximum buffering capacity:              pH = pKa

 buffering range:              pH = pKa ± 1

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Problem Details

Which of the following solutions can act as a buffer?

a) KCN/HCN, 

b) Na2SO4/NaHSO4

c) NH3/NH4NO3

d) NaI/HI

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