Problem: Calculate the pH of a blood plasma sample with a total CO2 concentration of 26.9mM and bicarbonate concentration of 25.6mM. The relative pKa of carbonic acid is 6.1.

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We're being asked to calculate the pH of a blood plasma sample with a total CO2 concentration of 26.9mM and bicarbonate concentration of 25.6mM.

Dissolved CO2 reacts with water to form H2CO3 (carbonic acid):

CO2(aq) + H2O(l) ⇌ H2CO3(aq) 

On the other hand, carbonic acid dissociates to form bicarbonate:

H2CO3(aq) + H2O(l) ⇌ HCO3-(aq) + H3O+(aq)

These two reactions would be in equilibrium with each other and we can get an overall reaction:

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Problem Details

Calculate the pH of a blood plasma sample with a total CO2 concentration of 26.9mM and bicarbonate concentration of 25.6mM. The relative pKa of carbonic acid is 6.1.

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