Once formed, the conjugate base of an acidic substance (i.e., the anion of that acid) would also be capable of reacting with
Because aqueous solutions of anions are commonly prepared by the dissolution of a salt containing that anion, reactions of
the type described by Equation 8 are often termed hydrolysis reactions. Equation 8 is necessarily characterized by a base ionization constant expression:
and a corresponding pK
defined in the usual manner.
However, because these ionic equilibria are taking place in aqueous media, the autoionization of water:
must also be considered. The equilibrium constant for this reaction would be:
In aqueous solutions, the concentration of water is effectively a constant (55.55 M), and so Equation 11 simplifies to:
is known as the autoionization constant of water and is sometimes identified as the ion product of water. The magnitude of
is very small, being equal to 1.007 X 10–14 at a temperature of 25 °C (15). Substitution of Equation 12 into Equation 9 yields the relation:
However, the concentration terms in Equation 13 constitute the ionization constant expression for the conjugate acid of the
conjugate base, providing the very useful relation regarding the relative strengths of conjugate acids and bases:
The same relation between ionization constants of a conjugate acid–base pair can be developed if one were to begin with the
conjugate acid of a basic substance, so Equation 14 is recognized as a general property of conjugate acid–base pairs.
Ionic equilibria of salts
Salts are chemical compounds formed by the transfer of a proton from an acid (HA) to a base (B) capable of accepting that