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In class, he also said that if your Ka is less than 10^(-3), then you can generally approximate by ignoring the "-x" term but you might want to justify it on the test by explaining that since x is less than 5% of the initial concentration, it's considered a negligible difference so it can be "ignored."
Does it have to do with using significant figures? Like when we round our answer to a significant figure, the difference in our answer that a -X would have provided does not even make a difference in our final rounded answer?
I doubt there's any science behind it being 5%. Scientists are lazy so they just choose a good number to go by and stick with that. The 5% is just something for us to follow as to whether or not to use the quadratic formula.
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