Determining Acid Equilibrium Constants by Means of Chromatic Parameters

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A method has been developed for the determination of acid-base equilibrium constants, which is applicable to compounds that absorb in the visible. The tristimulus (X, Y, Z) and the colorimetric coordinate values (L*, a*, b*) of the chromatic space CIELAB 1976 are calculated by means of the transmittances of the entire spectral range. The curves, in the a,b plane, of chromatic differences vs. pH intersect at a pH value agreeing with the pK a ; this configuration occurs because a chromatic equilibrium of both species takes place at this point, which corresponds to the chemical equilibrium. With this method, the acidity constants are found easily and quickly, and they yield very good results. The validity of the method has been tested with the acid-base indicator bromophenol blue, obtaining pK a ; = 3.943 at 25 °C; this result is compared with those obtained through the usual spectrophotometric methods. Also, thermodynamic magnitudes obtained from pK a values at different temperatures from 20 to 70 °C have been determined, resulting in ΔH 0 = -(13.93 ± 0.88) kJ mol-1, ΔS 0 = -(122.6 ± 2.8) J K-1 mol-1.

Keywords: Bromophenol blue; Chromatic parameters of the CIE L*, a*, b* system; Thermodynamic values; pKa by chromatic coordinates method

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Departamento Química Física, Universidad Cádiz, Apdo 40, 11510 Puerto Real, Cádiz, Spain

Publication date: October 1, 1996

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