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Published: Kem. Ind. 69 (3-4) (2020) 183–194
Paper reference number: KUI-54/2019
Paper type: Professional paper / Chemistry in Teaching
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Buffers in Education. I. Measuring the pH and the Fundamentals of Buffer Theory

D. Dabić and D. Petrin


Buffers are of high importance for pH measurement and control, which is crucial in many everyday scientific and industrial activities. The aim of this article was to elucidate the physicochemical parameters of buffers. Explained are the process and background of pH electrode calibration, as are described the problems that may arise in pH measurement, and their solutions. The focus of this article is the application and assessment of this knowledge in education through examples and numerical problems. The practical examples facilitate the learning of basic concepts related to pH and buffers. We clarify the correct definition of pH value, the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation and its limitations, the use of visual indicators with buffers, the connection between Le Chatelier’s principle and buffers, and what is important in pH measurement. A special mention is given to the influence of temperature in pH electrode calibration, pH measurement, and expressing the pH value. Finally, we suggest how to further improve the students’ knowledge and skills through questions on problems related to pH value and buffers.

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buffers, pH, glass electrode, pH meter, Henderson-Hasselbach equation, chemical education