Buffered solutions are quite important in chemical and biological systems. A buffer allows for the maintenance of a fairly narrow range of pH even while another reaction is producing acids or bases. Because a buffer is a mixture of a weak acid and its conjugate base, it can react with either acid or base to remove the acid or base from solution. The functional pH range of a buffer is described in the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation.
In order to solve problems with buffered solutions, it is essential to have an intuitive grasp of which acid-base reactions are most likely to occur. In this section, we will learn how to determine which reactions are most likely to occur in buffer problems. The following material is focused on problem solving and will require close attention to details in problems and solutions presented.