When two aqueous solutions are mixed and a solid, the precipitate, is formed, a precipitation reaction has occurred. However, not all solutions that are mixed together will form a precipitate. If all substances present in the solution remain aqueous, no precipitate will have formed and everything remains as ions in the solution.
Solubility is the process of a solute dissolving in a solvent. Water is the universal solvent, meaning it can dissolve most substances. Of course, the golden rule of solubility is “like dissolves like,” meaning that polar solvents will dissolve polar solutes and nonpolar solvents will dissolve nonpolar solutes.
When calculating the solubility equilibrium of a reaction involving the dissociation of an ionic solid, Ksp is used. Ksp is the symbol that represents the solubility product constant. It is different for every ionic solid.
Ksp stands for the solubility product constant for an equilibrium expression. different ionic solids have different Ksp values. The Ksp can be calculated as ([concentration of product1]*[concentration of product 2])/[concentration of reactant]. However, when calculating the Ksp, since we do not include any solids or liquids in the expression, and Ksp is only used with solid compounds, we do not include the solid reactant in the expression. Thus we are left with the final equation of Ksp = [concentration of product 1]*[concentration of product 2]. Also when calculating Kspthe coefficients in the reaction are correlated to the exponents in the expression. In other words, the exponents in the expression, are the coefficients in the equation.
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Zumdahl, Steven S., and Susan A. Zumdahl. Chemistry. 7th Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007.