Potassium hydrogen phthalate

Potassium hydrogen phthalate

Overview
Potassium hydrogen phthalate, often called simply KHP, is an acidic salt compound. It forms white powder, colorless crystals, a colorless solution, and an ionic solid
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

 that is the monopotassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

 salt of phthalic acid
Phthalic acid
Phthalic acid is an aromatic dicarboxylic acid, with formula C6H42. It is an isomer of isophthalic acid and terephthalic acid. Although phthalic acid is of modest commercial importance, the closely related derivative phthalic anhydride is a commodity chemical produced on a large...

. The hydrogen is slightly acid
Acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

ic, and it is often used as a primary standard
Primary standard
A primary standard in metrology is a standard that is accurate enough that it is not calibrated by or subordinate to other standards. Primary standards are defined via other quantities like length, mass and time. Primary standards are used to calibrate other standards referred to as working...

 for acid-base titration
Acid-base titration
An acid-base titration is the determination of the concentration of an acid or base by exactly neutralizing the acid/base with an acid or base of known concentration. This allows for quantitative analysis of the concentration of an unknown acid or base solution...

s because it is solid and air-stable, making it easy to weigh accurately. It is not hygroscopic. It is also used as a primary standard for calibrating pH meter
PH meter
A pH meter is an electronic instrument used for measuring the pH of a liquid...

s because, besides the properties just mentioned, its pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 in solution is very stable.

In water KHP dissociates completely giving the potassium cation (K+) and hydrogen phthalate anion (HP- or Hphthalate-).
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Encyclopedia
Potassium hydrogen phthalate, often called simply KHP, is an acidic salt compound. It forms white powder, colorless crystals, a colorless solution, and an ionic solid
Solid
Solid is one of the three classical states of matter . It is characterized by structural rigidity and resistance to changes of shape or volume. Unlike a liquid, a solid object does not flow to take on the shape of its container, nor does it expand to fill the entire volume available to it like a...

 that is the monopotassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

 salt of phthalic acid
Phthalic acid
Phthalic acid is an aromatic dicarboxylic acid, with formula C6H42. It is an isomer of isophthalic acid and terephthalic acid. Although phthalic acid is of modest commercial importance, the closely related derivative phthalic anhydride is a commodity chemical produced on a large...

. The hydrogen is slightly acid
Acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

ic, and it is often used as a primary standard
Primary standard
A primary standard in metrology is a standard that is accurate enough that it is not calibrated by or subordinate to other standards. Primary standards are defined via other quantities like length, mass and time. Primary standards are used to calibrate other standards referred to as working...

 for acid-base titration
Acid-base titration
An acid-base titration is the determination of the concentration of an acid or base by exactly neutralizing the acid/base with an acid or base of known concentration. This allows for quantitative analysis of the concentration of an unknown acid or base solution...

s because it is solid and air-stable, making it easy to weigh accurately. It is not hygroscopic. It is also used as a primary standard for calibrating pH meter
PH meter
A pH meter is an electronic instrument used for measuring the pH of a liquid...

s because, besides the properties just mentioned, its pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 in solution is very stable.

In water KHP dissociates completely giving the potassium cation (K+) and hydrogen phthalate anion (HP- or Hphthalate-). As a weak acid hydrogen phthalate reacts reversibly with water to give hydronium
Hydronium
In chemistry, a hydronium ion is the cation , a type of oxonium ion produced by protonation of water. This cation is often used to represent the nature of the proton in aqueous solution, where the proton is highly solvated...

 (H3O+) and phthalate ions.
HP- + H2O P2- + H3O+


KHP can be used as a buffering agent
Buffering agent
A buffering agent is a weak acid or base used to maintain the acidity of a solution at a chosen value. The function of a buffering agent is to prevent a rapid change in pH when acids or bases are added to the solution. Buffering agents have variable properties—some are more soluble than others;...

 (in combination with hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid is a solution of hydrogen chloride in water, that is a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid with many industrial uses. It is found naturally in gastric acid....

 (HCl) or sodium hydroxide (NaOH) depending on which side of pH 4.0 the buffer is to be) but should not be used as a buffer for decarboxylation
Decarboxylation
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide . Usually, decarboxylation refers to a reaction of carboxylic acids, removing a carbon atom from a carbon chain. The reverse process, which is the first chemical step in photosynthesis, is called carbonation, the addition of CO2 to...

reactions, as these will degrade the KHP and mop up the conjugation groups.