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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Write chemical equations and equilibrium expressions representing solubility equilibria
  • Carry out equilibrium computations involving solubility, equilibrium expressions, and solute concentrations

The preservation of medical laboratory blood samples, mining of sea water for magnesium, formulation of over-the-counter medicines such as Milk of Magnesia and antacids, and treating the presence of hard water in your home’s water supply are just a few of the many tasks that involve controlling the equilibrium between a slightly soluble ionic solid and an aqueous solution of its ions.

In some cases, we want to prevent dissolution from occurring. Tooth decay, for example, occurs when the calcium hydroxylapatite, which has the formula Ca 5 (PO 4 ) 3 (OH), in our teeth dissolves. The dissolution process is aided when bacteria in our mouths feast on the sugars in our diets to produce lactic acid, which reacts with the hydroxide ions in the calcium hydroxylapatite. Preventing the dissolution prevents the decay. On the other hand, sometimes we want a substance to dissolve. We want the calcium carbonate in a chewable antacid to dissolve because the CO 3 2− ions produced in this process help soothe an upset stomach.

In this section, we will find out how we can control the dissolution of a slightly soluble ionic solid by the application of Le Châtelier’s principle. We will also learn how to use the equilibrium constant of the reaction to determine the concentration of ions present in a solution.

The solubility product constant

Silver chloride is what’s known as a sparingly soluble ionic solid ( [link] ). Recall from the solubility rules in an earlier chapter that halides of Ag + are not normally soluble. However, when we add an excess of solid AgCl to water, it dissolves to a small extent and produces a mixture consisting of a very dilute solution of Ag + and Cl ions in equilibrium with undissolved silver chloride:

AgCl ( s ) precipitation dissolution Ag + ( a q ) + Cl ( a q )

This equilibrium, like other equilibria, is dynamic; some of the solid AgCl continues to dissolve, but at the same time, Ag + and Cl ions in the solution combine to produce an equal amount of the solid. At equilibrium, the opposing processes have equal rates.

Two beakers are shown with a bidirectional arrow between them. Both beakers are just over half filled with a clear, colorless liquid. The beaker on the left shows a cubic structure composed of alternating green and slightly larger grey spheres. Evenly distributed in the region outside, 11 space filling models are shown. These are each composed of a central red sphere with two smaller white spheres attached in a bent arrangement. In the beaker on the right, the green and grey spheres are no longer connected in a cubic structure. Nine green spheres, 10 grey spheres, and 11 red and white molecules are evenly mixed and distributed throughout the liquid in the beaker.
Silver chloride is a sparingly soluble ionic solid. When it is added to water, it dissolves slightly and produces a mixture consisting of a very dilute solution of Ag + and Cl ions in equilibrium with undissolved silver chloride.

The equilibrium constant for the equilibrium between a slightly soluble ionic solid and a solution of its ions is called the solubility product ( K sp )    of the solid. Recall from the chapter on solutions and colloids that we use an ion’s concentration as an approximation of its activity in a dilute solution. For silver chloride, at equilibrium:

AgCl ( s ) Ag + ( a q ) + Cl ( a q ) K sp = [ Ag + ( a q ) ] [ Cl ( a q ) ]

When looking at dissolution reactions such as this, the solid is listed as a reactant, whereas the ions are listed as products. The solubility product constant, as with every equilibrium constant expression, is written as the product of the concentrations of each of the ions, raised to the power of their stoichiometric coefficients. Here, the solubility product constant is equal to Ag + and Cl when a solution of silver chloride is in equilibrium with undissolved AgCl. There is no denominator representing the reactants in this equilibrium expression since the reactant is a pure solid; therefore [AgCl] does not appear in the expression for K sp .

Questions & Answers

what are oxidation numbers
Idowu Reply
pls what is electrolysis
Idowu Reply
Electrolysis is the process by which ionic substances are decomposed (broken down) into simpler substances when an electric current is passed through them. ... Electricity is the flow of electrons or ions. For electrolysis to work, the compound must contain ions.
what is the basicity of an atom
Eze Reply
basicity is the number of replaceable Hydrogen atoms in a Molecule. in H2SO4, the basicity is 2. in Hcl, the basicity is 1
how to solve oxidation number
Mr Reply
mention some examples of ester
Chinenye Reply
do you mean ether?
what do converging lines on a mass Spectra represent
Rozzi Reply
would I do to help me know this topic ?
what the physic?
Bassidi Reply
who is albert heistein?
similarities between elements in the same group and period
legend Reply
what is the ratio of hydrogen to oxulygen in carbohydrates
Nadeen Reply
what is poh and ph
Amarachi Reply
please what is the chemical configuration of sodium
2, 6, 2, 1
1s2, 2s2, 2px2, 2py2, 2pz2, 3s1
what is criteria purity
Austin Reply
cathode is a negative ion why is it that u said is negative
Michael Reply
cathode is a negative electrode while cation is a positive ion. cation move towards cathode plate.
CH3COOH +NaOH ,complete the equation
david Reply
compare and contrast the electrical conductivity of HCl and CH3cooH
Sa Reply
The must be in dissolved in water (aqueous). Electrical conductivity is measured in Siemens (s). HCl (aq) has higher conductivity, as it fully ionises (small portion of CH3COOH (aq) ionises) when dissolved in water. Thus, more free ions to carry charge.
HCl being an strong acid will fully ionize in water thus producing more mobile ions for electrical conduction than the carboxylic acid
differiante between a weak and a strong acid
how can I tell when an acid is weak or Strong
an aqueous solution of copper sulphate was electrolysed between graphite electrodes. state what was observed at the cathode
Bakanya Reply
write the equation for the reaction that took place at the anode
what is enthalpy of combustion
Enthalpy change of combustion: It is the enthalpy change when 1 mole of substance is combusted with excess oxygen under standard conditions. Elements are in their standard states. Conditions: pressure = 1 atm Temperature =25°C
Observation at Cathode: Cu metal deposit (pink/red solid).
Equation at Anode: (SO4)^2- + 4H^+ + 2e^- __> SO2 + 2H2O
Equation : CuSO4 -> Cu^2+ + SO4^2- equation at katode: 2Cu^2+ + 4e -> 2Cu equation at anode: 2H2O -> 4H+ + O2 +4e at the anode which reacts is water because SO4 ^ 2- cannot be electrolyzed in the anode
Practice Key Terms 4

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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