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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 8 Issue 1 (2003) pp 22-27

Extreme Values in Chemistry: Buffer Capacity

Manuel A. P. Segurado

Centro de Electroquímica e Cinética da Universidade de Lisboa,Faculdade de Farmácia, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto, 1649-003 Lisboa, Portugal,
Received July 12, 2002. Accepted October 5, 2002

Published online: 14 November 2002

Abstract. Initially chemical phenomena and the quantitative laws associated with them are discussed, focusing on the important role of mathematical modeling. The lack of an interdisciplinary interface between mathematics and chemistry is acknowledged and the importance of functions is emphasized—it is essential to have a rigorous understanding of the analytical properties characteristic of each class of function before trying to use them for modeling in chemistry or in any other field. A good example for this is provided by the determination of extremes; however, the investigation of maxima and minima in most chemistry textbooks is not done rigorously—it is based exclusively on the condition f'(x) = 0. Chemical applications of the extreme values of functions are discussed and buffer capacity is used as an example of these applications.

Key Words:  In the Classroom; instrumental analysis; electrochemistry

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Issue date: February 1, 2003

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