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Chemical Systems and Equilibrium - Kidney Stones Project.docx

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Chemistry 1027A/B
Tom Haffie

April 24, 2012 1 Luke Kazman Chemical Systems and Equilibrium: Kidney Stones Kidney stones are solid, stone-like masses that form within the kidneys or ureters. Kidney stones differ in size, some stones may be as small as a grain of sand whereas others may be as 1 large as golf balls. However, most kidney stones are less than a third of an inch in diameter. Kidney stones are accumulations of salts, minerals and other substances commonly found in urine that form in the urinary tract. A small kidney stone may pass out of the body during urination without causing much pain. A larger kidney stone may get stuck in the ureter, the bladder, or the urethra which can actually block the flow of urine. When kidney stones begin to block the flow of urine this leads to many problems and can cause excruciating pain. Some kidney stones can become large enough to be life-threatening, requiring medical treatment by drugs, lasers, or surgery. 2 Kidney stones usually consist of insoluble calcium and magnesium compounds such as calcium oxalate (CaC O 2 4(s), calcium phosphate (Ca (PO3) 4 2(s) magnesium ammonium phosphate (MgNH PO ), or a mixture of these. The equilibrium reaction for the formation of calcium 4 4(s) 2+ 2- 3 oxalate kidney stones is represented by the equation: CaC O 2 4(s) Ca (aq)+ C 2 4 (aq). According to Le Châtelier's Principle a change in any of the factors that determine the equilibrium conditions of a system such as temperature, pressure, and concentration will shift the equilibrium in such a way to reduce the effect of the change. Therefore, an increase in concentration of either Ca 2+ ions or C O 2- ions pushes the system in the reverse direction so (aq) 2 4 (aq) 2+ 2-
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