Solubility Equilibria

The equilibrium constant that represents the maximum amount of solid which can be dissolved in an aqueous solution is defined as the solubility product. The Solubility Equilibria are based on the assumption that the solids dissolve in water in order to give the basic particles from which they are formed.

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Solubility Equilibria

Each of the molecular solids dissolves to give an individual aqueous molecule such as

C12H22O11(S) —————> C12H22O11 (aq)

The ionic solids dissociate to give their respective positive and negative ions :

NaCl (s) ————————-> Na + (aq) + Cl (aq )

The ions formed from the dissociation of the ionic solids can also carry an electrical current which makes the salt solutions good conductors of electricity. However, molecular solids do not dissociate in water to give ions so as no electrical current can be carried.

Browse more Topics under Equilibrium


The ratio of the maximum amount of solute to the volume of the solvent in which the solute can dissolve. This is generally expressed in two ways i.e –

  1. Grams of solute per 100 g of water
  2. Moles of solute per litre of solution

A salt refers to be soluble if it dissolves in water to give a solution along with the concentration of at least 0.1 m at the room temperature. A salt is also considered to be insoluble if the concentration of an aqueous solution is less than 0.0001 m at the room temperature. Salts are considered to be slightly soluble; those between 0.0001 m and 0.1 m.

Solubility Equilibria

According to the principles of solubility equilibria, the salts have low solubilities in water. The reaction that can be considered for the dissociation of the salt AgCl is –

AgCl(s) ————— Ag+(aq) + Cl (aq)

However, the reverse reaction for the dissolving of the salt would be the precipitation of the ions to form a solid

Ag+(aq) + Cl (aq) —————–  AgCl(s)

When the rate at which AgCl dissolves is equal to the rate at which AgCl precipitates, the system has reached the solubility equilibria.

Acids, Bases and Salts

Solubility Product Equilibrium Constant (Ksp)

The product of the equilibrium concentrations of the ions in a saturated solution of a salt.  Each concentration in this is raised to the power of the respective coefficient of ion in the balanced equation. For example, the solubility product equilibrium constant for the dissociation of AgCl is:

Another example of a solubility product equilibrium constant where we can consider the reaction for the dissociation of CaF2 in water is :

The solubility product equilibrium constant for this reaction would be the product of the concentration of Ca2+ ion and the concentration of the F ion raised to the second power (squared):

Solved Examples for You

Question: In the atmosphere, SO2 and NO are oxidised to SO3 and NO2, respectively, which react with water to give H2SO4 and HNO3. The resultant solution is called acid rain. SO2 dissolves in water to form diprotic acid.



and for equilibrium,


Ka=Ka1×Ka2=10-9 at 300K.

  1. H2SO3 is less acidic than H2SO4
  2. HNO3 is less acidic than HNO2
  3. SO2(g) is reduced in the atmosphere during a thunderstorm
  4. CO2 gas develop more acidity in water than SO2

Solution: Option A. Sulphurous acid H2SO3 is less acidic than sulphuric acid H2SO4. When a proton is lost by sulphurous acid, the negative charge is delocalized on 3 O atoms and when a proton is lost by sulphuric acid, the negative charge is delocalized by 4 O atoms. Since the extent of delocalization in HSO-1 ion is less than the extent of delocalization in HSO-4, the stability of anion and the acidity of the acid in sulphurous acid is lower than in sulphuric acid.

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One response to “Acids, Bases and Salts”

  1. sylvester says:

    Thanks for this. It’s fantastic

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