Question #19915

Do your best to explain the reason for the shape of the pH curve.

Expert's answer

pH curve generally contain the volume of the titrant as the independent variable and the pH of the solution as the dependent variable (because it changes depending on the composition of the two solutions). The equivalence point on the graph is where all of the starting solution (usually an acid) has been neutralized by the titrant (usually a base). It can be calculated precisely by finding the second derivative of the titration curve and computing the points of inflection (where the graph changes concavity); however, in most cases, simple visual inspection of the curve will suffice (in the curve given to the right, both equivalence points are visible, after roughly 15 and 30 mL of NaOH solution has been titrated into the oxalic acid solution. To calculate the acid dissociation constant (pK_{a}), one must find the volume at the half-equivalence point, that is where half the amount of titrant has been added to form the next compound (here, sodium hydrogen oxalate, then disodium oxalate). Halfway between each equivalence point, at 7.5 mL and 22.5 mL, the pH observed was about 1.5 and 4, giving the pK_{a}.

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