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VII: Solubility and Precipitation Equilibria

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    Solubility equilibrium is a type of dynamic equilibrium. It exists when a chemical compound in the solid state is in chemical equilibrium with a solution of that compound. The solid may dissolve unchanged, with dissociation or with chemical reaction with another constituent of the solvent, such as acid or alkali. Each type of equilibrium is characterized by a temperature-dependent equilibrium constant. Solubility equilibria are important in pharmaceutical, environmental and many other scenarios.

    • 7.1: The Nature of Solubility Equilibria
      Dissolution of a salt in water is a chemical process that is governed by the same laws of chemical equilibrium that apply to any other reaction. There are, however, a number of special aspects of of these equilibria that set them somewhat apart from the more general ones devoted specifically to chemical equilibrium. These include such topics as the common ion effect, the influence of pH on solubility, supersaturation, and some special characteristics of particularly important solubility systems.
    • 7.2: Ionic Equilibria between Solids and Solutions
      We begin our discussion of solubility and complexation equilibria—those associated with the formation of complex ions—by developing quantitative methods for describing dissolution and precipitation reactions of ionic compounds in aqueous solution. Just as with acid–base equilibria, we can describe the concentrations of ions in equilibrium with an ionic solid using an equilibrium constant expression.
    • 7.3: Precipitation and the Solubility Product
      The solubility product (Ksp) is used to calculate equilibrium concentrations of the ions in solution, whereas the ion product (Q) describes concentrations that are not necessarily at equilibrium. The equilibrium constant for a dissolution reaction, called the solubility product (Ksp), is a measure of the solubility of a compound. Whereas solubility is usually expressed in terms of mass of solute per 100 mL of solvent, Ksp is defined in terms of the molar concentrations of the component ions.
    • 7.4: The Effects of pH on Solubility
      The common-ion effect is used to describe the effect on an equilibrium involving a substance that adds an ion that is a part of the equilibrium.
    • 7.5: Complex Ions and Solubility
      Ion-pair formation, the incomplete dissociation of molecular solutes, the formation of complex ions, and changes in pH all affect solubility. There are four explanations why the solubility of a compound can differ from the solubility indicated by the concentrations of ions: (1) ion pair formation, in which an anion and a cation are in intimate contact in solution and not separated by solvent, (2) the incomplete dissociation of molecular solutes, (3) the formation of complex ions, and (4) changes
    • 7.6: A Deeper Look - Selective Precipitation of Ions
      A mixture of metal ions in a solution can be separated by precipitation with anions such as \(\ce{Cl-}\), \(\ce{Br-}\), \(\ce{SO4^2-}\), \(\ce{CO3^2-}\), \(\ce{S^2-}\), \(\ce{Cr2O4^2-}\), \(\ce{PO4^2-}\), \(\ce{OH-}\) etc. When a metal ion or a group of metal ions form insoluble salts with a particular anion, they can be separated from others by precipitation. We can also separate the anions by precipitating them with appropriate metal ions.

    VII: Solubility and Precipitation Equilibria is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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