What is a buffer solution simple definition?

What is Buffer Solution?

buffer solution definition

A buffer is a solution that resists pH changes when acidic or basic substances are added. It may neutralise little amounts of added acid or base, hence maintaining a somewhat steady pH in the solution. This is essential for processes and/or reactions that require stable pH ranges and this mechanism is known as buffer action.

The pH range and capacity of buffer solutions determine how much acid/base can be neutralised before the pH changes and how much the pH will change.

What is the composition of a buffer?

A buffer must be composed of either a. a weak acid and its conjugate base, or b. a weak base and its conjugate acid, in order to successfully maintain a pH range. When producing a buffer, the usage of one or the other is determined only by the desired pH. For instance, the following substances in the solution could operate as buffers:

Acetic acid (weak organic acid with the formula CH3COOH) and its conjugate base, the acetate anion (CH3COO-), such as sodium acetate (CH3COONa)
Pyridine (weak base with the formula C5H5N) and a salt containing its conjugate acid, the pyridinium cation (C5H5NH+), for instance, Pyridinium Chloride.
Ammonia (weak base with the formula NH3) and a salt containing its conjugate acid, the ammonium cation, such as Ammonium Hydroxide, are ionic compounds (NH4OH)

Buffer solution examples in real life

Buffers are commonly employed in daily life:

  • For instance, rash-preventing baby lotions are buffered
  • The development of bacteria is buffered to maintain a pH level of 6.
  • Frequently, laundry detergents contain buffers that keep their components from degrading.
  • Blood in the human body is buffered at pH 7.4, even though we consume a large amount of weak acid and base.

Characteristics of buffer solution

The following are characteristics of buffer solution:

  • It has certain pH requirements. Even after prolonged storage, its pH remains unchanged.
  • The pH value of the solution does not change upon dilution. In addition, the solution does not change when a small amount of acid or base is added. A solution that resists pH change and contains a little amount of acid or base is a buffer solution.

Do you know

What is Buffer action?

buffer action definition

Types of Buffer Solutions

buffer solution preparation

The two main types of buffers are acidic and basic (alkaline) buffer solutions.

Acidic Buffer

Solutions with a pH below 7 that contain a weak acid and one of its salts are acidic buffers. For instance, a mixture of acetic acid and sodium acetate with a pH of around 4.75 functions as a buffer solution.

acidic buffer

Basic Buffer

Basic buffers have a pH greater than 7 and consist of a weak base and one of its salts. For instance, a mixture of ammonium chloride and ammonium hydroxide with a pH of around 9.25 functions as a buffer solution. Numerous substances are pH-maintained with the use of buffer solutions.

basic buffer


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Buffer Solution and its Types

Frequently Asked Questions-FAQ

What is buffer solution and give example?

When a small amount of a strong acid or strong base is given to a buffer solution, the pH remains stable. A solution of acetic acid and sodium acetate, CH3COOH + CH3COONa, is an example of a weak acid and its salt buffer.

Do buffer solutions have a constant pH?

The buffer range is the pH range within which a buffer neutralises added acids and bases while maintaining a reasonably constant pH.

How many types of buffer solutions are there?

There are two kinds of buffer solutions: acidic and basic.

An acidic buffer solution consists of weak acid and its salts including strong bases. For example, a solution containing the weak acid CH3COOH and its salt CH3COONa is an acidic buffer solution.
A solution comprising a weak base and its salts of strong acids is known as a basic buffer solution. E.g., A solution containing NH4OH as a weak base and its salt, NH4CL, is an essential buffer solution.


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