Submitted by Sheila Smith / University of Michigan- Dearborn on Sun, 10/18/2009 - 08:26
My Notes

This is a simple in class exercise to review acid- base equilibria and to lead the students to thinking about metals as both Lewis and Bronsted- Lowry acids. I use it as a discussion starter when I introduce the role of metals in biological acid/base chemistry in my upper division inorganic course, but it can be used at any level once acid-base equilibria has been covered.

Attachment Size
Bioinorg_MetalsinAcidBase.pdf 23.41 KB
Learning Goals

A student should be able to relate a pKa to a Ka and calculate from that the concentration of components at equilibrium. A student should be able to relate the magnitude of Ka to the strength of the acid.

Equipment needs


Time Required
10 minutes


Evaluation Methods

Primary assessment is based on the quality of the ensuing discussion. Secondary assessment can be done by asking a related but different question on a exam.

Evaluation Results

Once students (at the jr/sr level) "remember" how to do acid base equilibria, this leads into a very nice discussion of the different ways that metal ions can affect the acidity of a system.

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Betsy Jamieson / Smith College
I would consider using this in both my bioinorganic and my regular biochemistry class.  The biochem text we use (Berg, Tymoczko, & Stryer) has a section about the role of metal ions in biology.   I think this is a great way to get biochem students to remember their basic chemistry and introduce them to a bit of inorganic chem at the same time.  
Tue, 10/27/2009 - 20:25 Permalink