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# How to Calculate the pH of Sodium Phosphate

Calculating the pH of solutions is not a trivial matter and is an exercise generally reserved for college-level chemistry courses. Nonetheless, such calculations can be carried out with access to the appropriate acid dissociation constants (commonly called Ka values). Sodium phosphate is not a single compound, but generically refers to any of three different salts of phosphoric acid: sodium dihydrogen phosphate NaH2PO4nH2O (n = 2 or 0) , disodium hydrogen phosphate (Na2HPO4 ), or trisodium phosphate (Na3PO4, to the dodecahydrate,Na3PO412H2O ). All three salts are solid compounds that are soluble in water, but the calculations of their pH values differ slightly.
1 Obtain the Ka for phosphoric acid from a reference source. In this case, the relevant value is Ka?, which corresponds to the equilibrium H?PO?? + H?O ? HPO?? + H?O?

## Sodium Dihydrogen Phosphate and Disodium Hydrogen Phosphate

The Ka? for phosphoric acid is 6.17 x 10?? 2 Write the Ka expression for the equilibrium in step 1. Note that square-bracket notation represents the concentration of a given species in units of moles per liter (mol/L). In this case, Ka? = [HPO??][ H?O?] / [H?PO??] However, [HPO??] = [H?O?], so [H?O?] = Ka?[H?PO??]

## 3 Calculate the concentration (in mol/L) of the NaH?PO?. In general,

[NaH?PO?] = (g NaH?PO?) / (126.11 g/mol) / (L solution) For example, if 2.00 g of NaH?PO? is dissolved and diluted to 1.00 L, then [NaH?PO?] = (2.00 g) / (126.11 g/mol) / (1.00 L) = 0.0159 mol/L 4 Substitute the concentration determined in step 3 into the equation from step 2 an solve for [H? O?]: [H?O?] = 6.32 x 10?? (0.0159 mol/L) = 1.00 x 10?? Taking the square root of both sides gives [H?O?] = 3.17 x 10?? mol/L 5 Calculate the pH of the solution according to the pH equation, pH = -log[H?O?]: pH = -log[H?O?] = -log(3.17 x 10??) pH = 4.50 6 Calculate the pH of a solution of Na?HPO? by the same process, except using Ka? for H?PO? (Ka? = 4.79 x 10?). Trisodium Phosphate 7 Obtain the Kb for phosphate ion from a reference source. In this case, the relevant value is Ka?, which corresponds to the equilibrium PO?? + H?O ? HPO?? + OH? The Ka? for phosphoric acid is 4.50 x 10? and the Kb of PO?? is given by Kb = Kw / Ka = 1.0 x 10?? / 4.5 x 10? = 0.0222 8 Write the Kb expression for the equilibrium in step 1. In this case, Kb = [HPO??][OH?] / [PO??] However, [HPO??] = [OH?], so [OH?] = Ka[PO??] 9 Calculate the concentration (in moles per liter, mol/L) of the Na?PO?. In general, [Na?PO?] = (g Na?PO?) / (163.94 g/mol) / (L solution) Thus, for 2.00 g of Na?PO? that was dissolved and diluted to 1.00 L, [Na?PO?] = (2.00 g) / (163.94 g/mol) / (1.00 L) = 0.0122 mol/L 10 Substitute the concentration determined in step 3 into the equation from step 2 and solve for the hydroxide ion concentration, [OH?]: [OH?] = 0.0222 (0.0122 mol/L) = 2.71 x 10?? Taking the square root of both sides gives [OH?] = 0.0165 mol/L 11 Calculate the pOH of the solution according to the pOH equation, pOH = -log[OH?]: pOH = -log[OH?] = -log(0.0165) pOH = 1.78 And, because pH + pOH = 14.0, pH = 14 pOH = 14.0 1.78 = 12.2