The Henderson Approximation and the Mass Action Law of Guldberg and Waage
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Using contemporary accounts, we describe the scope of the Henderson approximation, and its relationship to the mass action law of Guldberg & Waage. The Henderson approximation, apparently written in logarithmic form by Hasselbalch, has the same form as the mass action law, but has a completely different meaning and a much more restricted range of applicability. The Guldberg-Waage law is the fundamental mass action relationship valid for all chemical equilibria, whereas the Henderson approximation is useful only within a limited range of a sufficiently concentrated two-component buffer mixture.
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