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Chem 3 Acids and Bases Lecture Notes Part 1 c!

e-γoT 2010

Properties of Acids and Bases


Acids Bases
• Sour taste (e.g. acetic acid, citric acid) • Bitter taste
• Cause color changes in plants • Cause color changes in plants
• Reacts with certain metals (Zn, Mg, Fe) to produce • Feel slippery
H2 gas
2HCl(aq) + Mg(s)  MgCl2(aq) + H2(g)
• Reacts with carbonates and bicarbonates to produce • Aqueous base solutions conduct electricity
carbon dioxide gas
HCl(aq) + NaHCO3(s)  NaCl(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)
• Aqueous acid solutions conduct electricity • Becomes less alkaline when combined with acids
• Lose their acidity when combined with bases

The Operational Definition of Acids and Bases


H2O  H+ + OH-
This reaction is the basis for an operational definition of acids and bases.
• An acid is any substance that increases the concentration of the H+ ion when it dissolves in water.
• A base is any substance that increases the concentration of the OH- ion when it dissolves in water.
These definitions tie the theory of acids and bases to a simple laboratory test for acids and bases. To decide whether a
compound is an acid or a base, we dissolve it in water and test the solution to see whether the H+ or OH- ion
concentration has increased.

The Conceptual Definition of Acids and Bases

The Arrhenius Definition of Acids and Bases

• In Arrhenius’ study of electrolytic dissociation, he proposed that in aqueous solution, a strong electrolyte exists
only in the form of ions, whereas weak electrolytes exist partly as ions and partly s molecules.
• Three years later Arrhenius extended this theory by suggesting that acids are neutral compounds that ionize
when they dissolve in water to give H+ ions and a corresponding negative ion.
• Arrhenius argued that bases are neutral compounds that either dissociate or ionize in water to give OH- ions and
a positive ion.

An Arrhenius acid is therefore any substance that ionizes when it dissolves in water to give the H+, or hydrogen ion.
An Arrhenius base is any substance that gives the OH-, or hydroxide, ion when it dissolves in water.

Ex. HCl  H+(aq) + Cl-(aq) NaOH  Na+(aq) + OH-(aq)

The Arrhenius theory has several disadvantages.


• It can be applied only to reactions that occur in water because it defines acids and bases in terms of what
happens when compounds dissolve in water.
• It doesn't explain why some compounds in which hydrogen has an oxidation number of +1 (such as HCl) dissolve
in water to give acidic solutions, whereas others (such as CH4) do not.
• Only the compounds that contain the OH- ion can be classified as Arrhenius bases. The Arrhenius theory can't
explain why other compounds (such as Na2CO3) have the characteristic properties of bases.
Chem 3 Acids and Bases Lecture Notes Part 1 c!e-γoT 2010

The Brønsted Definition of Acids and Bases

The Brønsted, or Brønsted-Lowry, model is based on a simple assumption: Acids donate H+ ions to another ion or
molecule, which acts as a base.

Ex. HCl + H2O  H3O+(aq) + Cl-(aq)

• A Brønsted acid is therefore any substance (such as HCl) that can donate an H+ ion to a base.
• A Brønsted base is any substance (such as H2O) that can accept an H+ ion from an acid.

Acids can be neutral molecules, positive ions or negative ions. The Brønsted theory therefore expands the number of
potential acids.

The Brønsted model expands the list of potential bases to include any ion or molecule that contains one or more pairs of
nonbonding valence electrons.

Conjugate acid-base pair is defined as an acid and its conjugate base or a base and its conjugate acid.

Ex. CH3COOH(aq) + H2O(l)  CH3COO- (aq) + H3O+(aq)


Acid 1 base 2 base 1 acid 2

Strengths of Acids and Bases

• The strength of an acid is determined by the extent to which its molecule undergoes ionization.
• Strong acids ionize completely. (HCl, HBr, HI, HNO3, H2SO4, HClO3, HClO4)
e.g. HCl  H+ + Cl-
• Weak acids partially ionize.
e.g. CH3COOH  CH3COO- + H+

• If an acid is strong, its conjugate base has no measurable strength. Within a series of weak acids, the stronger
the acid, the weaker its conjugate base and vice versa

• H3O+ is the strongest acid that can exist in aqueous solution. Acids stronger than H3O+ reacts with water to
produce H3O+ and their conjugate bases.

• The OH- is the strongest base that can exist in aqueous solution. Bases stronger than OH- reacts with water to
produce OH- and their conjugate acids.

Amphoterism/Autoprotolysis/Self-Ionization

OH-  H2O  H3O+


conjugate base conjugate acid

Water is an example of group of substances that are said to be AMPHIPHROTIC or AMPHOTERIC. These are
compounds capable of acting as an acid or as a base.

Other examples include ammonia, H2PO4-, Al(OH)3, etc.


Chem 3 Acids and Bases Lecture Notes Part 1 c!e-γoT 2010

Lewis Acids and Bases

A Lewis acid is a species ( an atom, ion, or molecule) that can accept a pair of electrons.

A Lewis base is an electron pair donor.

Examples of Lewis acids


• Molecules possessing an atom with less than an octet of electrons

BF3 + F-  BF4-

• Cations such as (M3+), Be2+, Li+, Mg2+ acts as lewis acids.

Ag+ + 2NH3  [Ag(NH3)2]+

• Molecules in which the central atom has an available d orbitals and may acquire more than an octet of
electrons

SF4 + 2F-  SF62-

• Molecules with multiple bond between atom of dissimilar electronegativities.

CO2 + H2O  H2CO3