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Determination of the Dissociation Constant of Weak Acid

Alex and Chris Group


Alex’s Lab Report

Alex Bowen
2/14/08
AP Chemistry
Lap Report
Purpose:

The purpose of this lab is to determine the Ka value by titrating to the end point of various
Weak Acids using the fact that the concentration of conjugate base and weak acid are
equal by getting the pH.
Procedure:

Weigh out approximately 0.2 grams of the acid which will be tested. The exact mass in
not vital to the experiment because we are interested in the concentrations not the mass.
Next measure our precisely 50.0 mL of DI water into a beaker. After that add the acid and
stir it to dissolve, mixing well. Pour half the solution, 25.0 mL into an Erlenmeyer Flask.
Put three drops of Phenolphthalein into the acidic solution. Then get a pipet of NaOH
(Sodium Hydroxide) into the flask and swirl the flask. Continue to add NaOH until a
constant pink color persists, constant is more than five seconds. Now the beaker has
exactly half the original acid, which is in its undissociated form, which is denoted HA.
The flask now contains an equal amount of the acid formed by the neutralization. This
formula is represented below1. Remix the contents of the flask and the beaker and mix the
solution. Using pH-paper check the pH of the solution when the concentration of the
weak acid and conjugate base are equal. The measured pH is equal to the pKa of the acid.
Use this to calculate the Ka.

1 : OH − + HA ←
→ H 2 O + A −

Data and Results:

Data Table 1

Actual
Acid Formula Ka pKa Experimental pH Actual Ka pH Percent Error
-5 -5
KHP KHC8H4O4 3.16 * 10 4.5 4.5 2.51 * 10 4.6 2.17%
Unknown #1 HSO3- 3.16 * 10-8 7.5 7.5 6.4 * 10-8 7.19 4.13%
- -2 -2
Unknown #2 HSO4 1.78 * 10 1.75 1.75 1.2 * 10 1.92 8.85%
Unknown #3 H2PO4- 3.16 * 10-8 7.5 7.5 6.2 * 10-8 7.21 3.87%

Calculations:

BaseEquation − 10 − pH = K a
1 − K a = 10 − 4.5 = 3.16 ∗ 10 −5
2 − K a = 10 −7.5 = 3.16 ∗ 10 −8
3 − K a = 10 −1.75 = 1.78 ∗ 10 − 2
4 − K a = 10 −7.5 = 3.16 ∗ 10 −8
Discussion Questions:

1.

→ Na + + HSO4
a. NaHSO4 
b. HSO4 − ← 2−
→ H + + SO4
2− −
c. K a = [ H + ][ SO4 ] /[ HSO4 ]
d. When you find the concentration of the conjugate base (SO42-) and the
weak acid (HSO4-) are equal the concentration of (H+), and by extension
pH is equal to the pKa.
2. It is not necessary to know the exact mass of the acid to determine the Ka because
to find the end point only the concentrations are relevant.
3. Because the only thing that must be known about the concentrations is that they
reach the endpoint, where the OH- and H+ concentrations are equal.
4. Because it is required to mix the strong base with each acid in half the original
acid.
5. Henderson-Hasselbalch Equation:
pH = pK a + log( A − / HA)
When the concentration of the conjugate base and weak acid are equal the log of 1
is zero. So the pH and pKa are equal.

Conclusions:

After doing this lab I learned that when determining the Ka of a substance when using
equal concentrations of a weak acid and conjugate base that the pH and p Ka are the same
number. And by using the function Ka = 10-pH an acid’s Ka is rather simple to find.