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Buffers are typically a solution containing a weak acid and its conjugate base or a weak base and its conjugate acid. Their overall effect, when subjugated to the introduction of either a strong acid or strong acid, is to lessen the degree by which the pH of the solution is affected. For instance, if a buffer solution of acetic acid and acetate is mixed with sodium hydroxide, the resulting pH would be less basic than what you would expect if the sodium hydroxide was mixed in a container of just water.
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