What is Buffer Solution?
A buffer solution is a mixture of a weak acid and its conjugate base (the resulting substance when an acid’s hydrogen is removed) in water, and in some cases a weak base and its conjugate acid in water. This solution is resistant to changes in its pH level when mixed with small amount of acids or bases or upon dilution. A buffer solution serves a similar function as a buffering agent for certain solutions, to manage its pH at a certain level and maintain it at that level.
There are common examples of buffering agents which are used in normal activities and one of these is the compound borax. Borax is used in swimming pools to maintain a certain pH value in the water. Buffer solutions are also important in developing prints for photography, and it also has practical applications in food processing.
In the human body, buffer solutions play an important role in regulating the pH levels of the blood. Blood plasma must be maintained at a pH level of around 7.4, and a combination of carbonic acid and bicarbonate ensures this balance is achieved, enabling enzymes to work. In medicine, certain medications contain buffering agents in order to maintain its pH while passing through the highly acidic stomach juices, i.e. aspirin and antacids.