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Determination of Ka of Weak Acids

I. II. Date: March 5, 2012 Purpose: To measure the pKa value for ionization of two unknown weak acids by using solutions containing equal molar amounts of the weak acids and their conjugate bases which are prepared by half-neutralization of the acid. Procedure: Refer to Lab Sheet. Results: Trial pH Avg. pH pKa Unknown Identity Sample #1 3.4 3.4 3.4 Acetylsalicylic Acid Sample #2 X Sample #1 5.2 5.2 5.2 Potassium hydrogen phthalate Sample #2 X Sample #1 4.2 4.2 4.2 Potassium hydrogen tartrate Sample #2 X Sample #1 7.0 7.0 7.0 Potassium dihydrogen phosphate Sample #2 X Sample #1 2.4 2.4 2.4 Potassium hydrogen sulfate Sample #2 X Post-Lab Questions 1. Average the pH readings for each trial to calculate the average pKa value for the unknown weak acids and enter answers in the Data table


Unknown A B C D E V.

2. Comment on the precision of the pKa determinations. Describe sources of experimental error and their likely effect on the measured pKa values. i. The acid not fully dissolving in to the water would result in a no effect pKa value because the NaOH would neutralize the amount of the dissolved acid present. ii. Faulty pH meter would result in an unknown effect in the pKa value because it is not properly calibrated. iii. Overshooting the endpoint would result in a higher pKa value because the amount of base would be higher. iv. An inaccurate and imprecise water level at the beginning or at the transfer to two sets of 50 mL would result in no effect pKa value because the NaOH would neutralize the amount of dissolved acid present.

v. Having too much or too little solute would result in no overall effect on the pKa value because the NaOH would neutralize what is present. 3. The following table lists the identities of the unknowns in this experiment. Complete the table by calculating the pKa value for each acid. Note: pKa = -logKa Acid Potassium dihydrogen phosphate Potassium hydrogen sulfate Potassium hydrogen phthalate Potassium hydrogen tartrate Acetylsalicylic acid Formula KH2PO4 KHSO4 KHC8H4O4 KHC4H4O6 2-CH3CO2C6H4COOH Ka Ka2 of H3PO4 = 6.2 x 10-8 Ka2 of H2SO4 = 1.0 x 10-2 Ka2 of H2C8H4O4 = 3.9 x 106

pKa 7.21 2.00 5.41 4.34 3.49

Ka2 of H2C4H4O6 = 4.6 x 105

Ka = 3.2 x 10-4

4. Compare the experimental pKa value for each unknown with the literature value reported in Question 3. Determine the probable identity of each unknown and enter the answers in the Date Table. i. In the first Data Table above. 5. Write separate equations for each unknown potassium salt dissolving in water and for the ionization reaction of the weak acid anion that each of these salts contains. i. KHSO4 K+ + HSO4 HSO4 + H2O SO4 + H3O+ ii. KH2PO4 K+ + H2PO4 H2PO4 + H2O HPO4 + H3O+ iii. KHC8H4O4 K+ + HC8H4O4 HC8H4O4 + H2O C8H4O4 + H3O+ + iv. KHC8H4O6 K + HC8H4O6 HC8H4O6 + H2O C8H4O6 + H3O+ v. 2-CH3CO2C6H4COOH H+ + 2-CH3CO2C6H4COO 6. Why was it not necessary to know the exact mass of each acid sample? i. It is not necessary because there are equal amounts of the acid and its conjugate base existing at the endpoint. 7. Why was it not necessary to know the exact concentration of the sodium hydroxide solution? i. It is not necessary because it does not matter how much base one has as long as one neutralizes the acid to reach the endpoint when the indicator changes color. At the endpoint, one has an equimolar amount of the acid and its conjugate base.

8. Why was it necessary to measure the exact volume of distilled water used to dissolve the acid, as well as the exact volume of the solution transferred from the beaker to the Erlenmeyer flask? i. It is necessary because one needs to ensure that equal amounts of the acid and its conjugate base are in the two beakers for each trial, if two trials were to happen, in order to eliminate a possible source of error and varied results.