For an N-protic acid–base system, the set of nonlinear equations (i.e., mass action and balance laws) provides a simple analytical solution/formula for any integer N ≥ 1. The approach is applicable for the general case of zwitterionic acids HN
(e.g., amino acids, NTA, and EDTA), which includes (i) the “ordinary acids” as a special case (Z = 0) and (ii) surface complexation. Examples are presented for N = 1 to 6. The high-N perspective allows the classification of equivalence points (including isoionic and isoelectric points). Principally, there are two main approaches to N-protic acids: one from hydrochemistry and one “outside inorganic hydrochemistry”. They differ in many ways: the choice of the reference state (either HN
A or A−N
), the reaction type (dissociation or association), the type/nature of the acidity constants, and the structure of the formulas. Once the (nonlinear) conversion between the two approaches is established, we obtain a systematics of acidity constants (macroscopic, microscopic, cumulative, and Simms). Finally, from the viewpoint of statistical mechanics (canonical isothermal–isobaric ensemble), buffer capacities, buffer intensities, and higher pH derivatives are actually fluctuations in the form of variance, skewness, and kurtosis.
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