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Determination of pKa of humic acids by means of UV/VIS spectrometry

By Romana Kratochvílová


The behaviour of humic acids in aqueous solutions is closely connected to the content of acid functional groups and their dissociation abilities. The titration methods are the most often used for the research of acid-base characteristics of humic acids, their results should lead to the determination of the content of functional groups and their pKa. However the determined values depend on many factors including the titration speed. The spectrophotometric determination of dissociation constant was used in this diploma thesis. Reliability of this method was confirmed in bachelor thesis where is mentioned that spectrophotometric determination of pKa corresponds with realistic dissociation behaviour of humic acids in the water much more better than values obtained from titration methods. The principle of newly used spectrophotometry method is the preparation of humic acids solutions in three different media with different pH values. Acid groups of humic acids are practically completely dissociated in intensely basic environment and the measured absorbance is caused by anion of „humate“. On the contrary their dissociation in acid environment is suppressed so much that we measure the absorbance of non-dissociated molecules of humic acids. Deionized water was used like neutral solvent. Water was replaced by acetic buffer in this thesis because of water’s properties which have significant influence on solutions' pH. Buffer was used for diluting or for solubilisation and in these both cases more stable pH values were occurred. The aim of this diploma thesis is investigate UV/VIS spectra of various solutions of humic acids with different values of pH and determinate mean value of pKa of humic acids which could be used like comparison of dissociation behaviours for vary samples. Values of acid dissociation constant were determined from measured dates and compared with values obtained by titration method. The UV/VIS spectra gained in combination with the results of pH measuring and the conductivity next showed the differences in the behaviour of differently prepared samples of humic acids

Topics: UV/VIS spectrophotometry; dissociation; humic acids; disociace; huminové kyseliny; polyelektrolyty; UV/VIS spektrofotometrie; polyelectrolytes
Publisher: Vysoké učení technické v Brně. Fakulta chemická
Year: 2012
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