Standard Electrode Potential of Fe2+/Fe3+

1. Apr 22, 2012

elemis

If I try to determine the standard electrode potential of

Fe2+ -------> Fe3+ + e-

What would be the concentrations of Fe ions ?

Would I mix 1 mol/dm3 of Fe2+ and 1 mol/dm3 of Fe3+ ions ?

2. Apr 23, 2012

Staff: Mentor

More or less.

Standard means all substances involved are in standard condition, which further means their activities equal 1. Unfortunately, it doesn't mean their concentrations equal 1 M, although that's a reasonable first approximation.

3. Apr 23, 2012

elemis

Am I right or wrong ?

You seem to be hinting I am wrong so what would the concentrations need to be ?

I realise we are aiming for all concentrations to be 1 mol/dm3....

4. Apr 23, 2012

Staff: Mentor

This is not easy.

Using 1 M solutions you will not get the correct result. Actual definition of the standard solution is "hypothetical 1 M solution exhibiting infinitely dilute solution behavior" (see http://goldbook.iupac.org/S05925.html). Hypothetical, as such solution doesn't exist - when the concentrations is 1 M, it is rather obvious substance can't behave as if it was infinitely dilute.

As such thing as standard solution doesn't exist, standard electrode potentials are not measured using a standard solution, but extrapolated from known real solutions.

5. Jun 2, 2013

fergus1

you would have to mix 2x 2mdm-3 to get one solution with concentration 1mdm-3 for each ion.

6. Jun 2, 2013

Staff: Mentor

Getting 1M solution is not a problem, problem is, 1M solution won't work as you expect it to do.

7. Jun 2, 2013

fergus1

what is the best approximation?

8. Jun 2, 2013

Staff: Mentor

I am afraid there is no easy way of dealing with the problem.

The best way is probably to prepare series of solutions containing diluted ions, measure the potential in each one, calculate ionic strength of these solutions and activity coefficients, and to extrapolate to solutions with activities equal 1. Unfortunately we don't have a good theory allowing calculations of activity coefficients from the first principles in solutions with ionic strength above 0.1 (which is quite diluted).