Video: EC17-18-S2-Q19B

Why is it not possible to distinguish between ammonium acetate and sodium chloride solutions using pH indicators?

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Video Transcript

Why is it not possible to distinguish between ammonium acetate and sodium chloride solutions using pH indicators?

Firstly, pH indicators have different colors in particular pH ranges, depending on the indicator. They are therefore useful for showing solutions have different pHs. Ammonium acetate is a combination of the ions ammonium and acetate. Ammonium is a weak acid, and the acetate anion is a weak base. The effect of these two ions in solution cancel out roughly, and the solution is overall neutral, with a pH of about seven.

Sodium chloride in solution dissociates to form sodium+ and Cl– ions. These ions are both neutral in solution. Therefore, the solution is neutral and the pH is equal to seven. Since these two solutions would have the same pH, pH indicators would be the same color and therefore would not differentiate one from the other.

Therefore, it is not possible to distinguish between ammonium acetate and sodium chloride solutions using pH indicators because the two salt solutions are neutral and therefore have the same pH. Therefore, pH indicators would have the same color in both solutions.

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