7. Complexation and Precipitation Equilibria

  1. Brian M. Tissue

Published Online: 7 JUN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118647042.ch7

Basics of Analytical Chemistry and Chemical Equilibria

Basics of Analytical Chemistry and Chemical Equilibria

How to Cite

Tissue, B. M. (2013) Complexation and Precipitation Equilibria, in Basics of Analytical Chemistry and Chemical Equilibria, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118647042.ch7

Author Information

  1. Virginia Tech, Department of Chemistry, Blacksburg, VA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 JUN 2013
  2. Published Print: 12 JUL 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470592083

Online ISBN: 9781118647042



  • aqueous solutions;
  • competing equilibria;
  • complex equilibria;
  • metal–ligand complexation;
  • molar solubility;
  • precipitation equilibria;
  • stepwise complexation


This chapter describes metal–ligand complexation and precipitation equilibria in detail. After a review of terminology, it discusses equilibria conventions and the use of equilibrium constants (stepwise and cumulative equilibrium constants) in quantitative calculations. Many analytical protocols add reagents or pH buffers to remove interferences or prevent competing equilibria. Many of these reagents are complexing agents, and comparing the formation constants allows one to choose appropriate reagents based on their relative strength in forming complexes. The chapter introduces equilibria with multiple competing pathways. These examples illustrate the pH dependence of complexation equilibria, which can determine appropriate experimental conditions for an analytical method. Recognizing and predicting the formation of complexes, precipitates, and competing equilibria is important to understand the chemistry of aqueous solutions in environmental, industrial, and biochemical systems.