This forum topic is for students to self-organize study groups, etc.
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ICE tables are usually used when you are given the initial concentration of a certain substance in the reaction and need to identify the concentration of another substance(usually hydronium or hydroxide ions you need to calculate pH or pOH).
While trying to find equilibrium concentrations based on initial concentrations is definitely a factor in deciding whether to use an ICE table, there are also other points to consider. Most importantly, its best to make sure whether the acid or base on the reactants side is weak or strong. If the acid/base is strong, then they will be nearly 100% converted, making the ICE table unnecessary. However, it is when the acid/base is weak that the table comes into play.
You would only need to use an ICE table if you are specifically asked to get from initial concentrations to equilibrium concentrations or vise versa. Usually you can go through a problem and if you think you need ICE table then you can try it out but if you don't have enough information for it or it doesn't bring you any new information you can usually figure out if its necessary or not. If they provide you with a Ka or Kb value and initial concentrations, there is a good chance you will need ICE table to find the equilibrium values.
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