Buffer

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Description

A chemical or combination of chemicals that minimizes the change in pH of a solution when an acid or alkali is added. Buffers are usually a weak acid (or base) paired with its conjugate salt. Many natural substances, such as sea water, soil and blood contain buffers. Examples of buffer pairs are:

- Acetic acid / sodium acetate: buffers at 4.6

- Monobasic potassium phosphate / dibasic sodium phosphate: buffers at 6.8

- Ammonium chloride / ammonium hydroxide: buffers at 9.2

- Sodium bicarbonate / sodium carbonate: buffers at 10.0

Synonyms and Related Terms

"Puffer (Deut.); tampon (Fr.); pH buffer; buffers

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Richard C. Wolbers, Nanette T. Sterman, Chris Stavroudis, Notes for Workshop on New Methods in the Cleaning of Paintings, J.Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 1990
  • Bernard Toale, The Art of Papermaking, Davis Publications, Portland OR, 1983
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998