The solubility product constant (Ksp)

The solubilityof ionic solids in water varies depending on a number of factors like lattice enthalpy of the salt and tha solvation enthalpy of the ions in a solution. As a general rule, for a salt to be able to dissolve in a particular solvent, its solvation enthalpy must be greater than its lattice enthalpy. Each salt has its characteristic solubility, which depends on temperature. We can classify salts on the basis of their solubility in three categories.
Soluble - Solubility > 0.1 M
Slightly soluble - 0.01 M < solubility < 0.1M
Sparingly soluble – solubility < 0.01M
We have now consider the equilibrium between the sparingly soluble ionic salt and its saturated aqueous solution. A solution which remains in contact with excess of the solute is said to be saturated. The amount of a solvent () in 100 ml or 1L) to form a saturated solution at a given temperature is termed as the solubility of the solute in the solvent at that temperature.
For a sparingly soluble salts like AgCl,PbI2, BaSO4 etc. Ionisation is very small and concentration of the salt may be considered as constant. Thus, for AgCl,
AgCl <========> Ag+ + Cl-
K = [Ag+][Cl-]/[AgCl]
For a pure solid substance the concentration remains constant and we can write
Ksp = K[AgCl]
Where Ksp is the solubility product constant or solubility product.
If S represents solubility of AgCl (in mol L-1)
Then [Ag+]= [Cl-] = S molL-1
Ksp = [Ag+][cl-] = S2
S = √Ksp
A solubility product constant expression is the product of the chemical equation for a solubility equilibrium, with each term raised to the power given by the coefficient in the chemical equation.
For BaSO4 (binary solute giving two ions)
BaSO4 <=======> Ba2++ SO42-
Ksp = [Ba2+][SO42-] = S2
For PbI2 (Ternary solute giving three ions)
PbI2 <=======> Pb2+ + 2I-
Ksp = [Pb2+][I-]2 = (s)(2s)2 = 4S3
For Al(OH)3 (Quaternary solute giving four ions)
Al(OH)3 <=======> Al3+ + 3OH-
Ksp = [Al3+][OH-]3 = (S)(3S)3 = 27Ss4
For a solute AxBy, (giving (x+y) ions)
Ksp = [Ay+]x [Bx-]y = (xS)x (yS)y = XxYy(S)(x+y)
Precipitation reactions
For the sparingly soluble solute AB,
AB <=======> A+ +B-
Q is the equilibrium constant with the given [A+] and [B-]
Q = [A+][B-]
When applied to solubility product, Q is generally called the ionic product. Precipitation occurs if Q>Ksp, then solution is said to be super saturated and precipitation cannot occur if Qsp (a case of unsaturated solution) and a solution is just saturated if Q=Ksp.

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