ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What are Buffers?

Updated on August 30, 2016
Source

Below are some notes on buffers that can be used for an understanding or refresher that is helpful and useful for the sciences; specifically biology, chemistry, and biochemistry.

What is a Buffer?

Buffer/ Buffer Solution = a solution that resists changes in pH when small to medium amounts of a strong acid or a strong base are added. This solution is made up of a weak acid and its conjugate base.

-Buffers are important and critical to life.

-Buffers are both naturally occurring and can be synthesized in the laboratory.


An example of a naturally occurring buffer is the buffering system in blood that based on the dissociation of carbonic acid (H2CO3).

H2CO3 <--> H+ + HCO3-

How Do Buffers Work?

The way buffers interact is dependent upon the characteristics of the weak acids and the conjugate bases that are in the buffer.

Depending on whether [OH-] or [H+] is added to the solution, the conjugate base or the weak acid will form.

When [OH-] or [H+] are added, they are "used up" when adding it to a buffer. By doing this, the pH is able to maintain some stability and the pH maintains more stability than if the same acid or base had been added to a solution that did not have a buffer.

Buffer Effects

To Buffer Solution:
Adding [H+]
Adding [OH-]
Reacts:
w/conjugate base
w/weak acid
Forms:
the weak acid
water + conjugate base

How to Figure Out the Effect of a Buffer?

When buffer is added, the new pH can be calculated using the values of the acid concentration and the conjugate base concentration in the Henderson-Hasselbach equation (referenced in "Notes on Acids, Bases, and pH").

How Are Buffers Selected?

Buffers are selected based on the optimal pH range that needs to be maintained and what will be given off and used up in the buffer.

pH Values and Base/Acid Ratios for Buffers

If the pH equals:
The ratio of base form/acid form equals:
pKa -3
1/1000
pKa -2
1/100
pKa -1
1/10
pKa
1/1
pKa +1
10/1
pKa +2
100/1
pKa +3
1000/1
This table is based off of Table 2.7 in "Biochemistry" by Mary K. Campbell and Shawn O. Farrel; 7th edition.

High buffering capacity= buffer solution that contains greater amounts of both acid and base.

Low buffering capacity= buffer solution that contains low concentrations of both acid form and base form.

What is Buffering Capacity?

Buffering capacity=how much concentrations of acid and/or base a buffer is able to form.

Zwitterions=compounds that have both a positive and negative charge, and are electrically neutral in solution.

Zwitterions and Buffer Use

Zwitterions can be used as buffers. In use, they are not as likely to affect the biochemical reactions than when using other buffers.

Source Information

The information used for this hub was taken from the following sources:

"Biochemistry" by Mary K. Campbell and Shawn O. Farrel; 7th edition.

My biochemistry lectures at school.

Knowledge and notes taken from previous courses in chemistry and biology.

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)