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Acids, Bases and pH

pdated version of this lesson is available at Visionlearning: Acids & Bases Water is a funny substance. It makes possible much of the chemistry that goes on in our bodies and all around us. But most people take for granted the chemical properties of water. We've already learned that water molecules are constantly in motion. And keep in mind that each water molecule carries a dipole, or net charge, across the molecule. As we saw in the atomic bonding lesson, this dipole causes each molecule to behave like a little magnet with a positive and negative end. This dipole causes water molecules to be attracted to each other; the positive hydrogen is attracted to the negative oxygen of a nearby molecule. The MathMol Water and Ice page has put together an excellent simulation of the attraction between 2 water molecules that you can view by clicking here (~160k movie) (Note: white = H, red = O). Because the oxygen atom in water tends to monopolize the electrons in the molecule, the hydrogen protons are only loosely held to the molecule. The attraction between adjacent water molecules allows them to swap hydrogen protons. In fact, many molecules that contain hydrogen can swap protons with water molecules. A simulation of a proton transfer between a molecule of water and a molecule of formic acid is available by clicking here (~158k; white = H, red = O). When one water molecule picks up a positively charged hydrogen proton it momentarily becomes positively charged. The water molecule that looses the proton momentarily becomes negatively charged (the hydrogen's 1 electron remains behind). This is simulated in the animation available below:
(~47k animation opens in a new window)

The result of this proton exchange is that at any given moment 2 water molecules out of every 1 billion are split into a positively charged H3O+ (called hydronium) ion and a negatively charge OH(called hydroxide) ion. In a sample of pure water, the concentration of hydronium ions is equal to 1 x 10-7 moles per liter (0.0000001 moles per liter). In pure water, the number of hydronium ions equals the number of hydroxide ions, so the concentration of hydroxide ions must also equal 1 x 10-7 moles per liter (moles per liter can be abbreviated: M). This equilibrium between hydronium and hydroxide ions can shift if we mix other substances with water. When the compound HCl is dissolved in water it separates into 2 ions: a positively charged hydrogen proton and a negatively charged chlorine ion. The positively charged hydrogen proton (H+) combines with water and increases the concentration of H3O+ ions, shifting the equilibrium we discussed earlier. Some of these H3O+ ions recombine with the OH- ions, and our sample becomes acidic because it contains more H3O+ ions than OH- ions. The original compound that we added, HCl, is said to be an acid because it donates protons (H+) to the mixture. Shown below are 2 solutions. On the left is a solution of pure water in which the concentration of hydronium ions equals the concentration of hydroxide ions. On the right is the same solution after addition of small amount of acid. The number of hydronium ions now exceeds the number of hydroxide ions.

Neutral Solution: [H3O+] = [OH-]

Acid Solution: [H3O+] > [OH-]

An acid can be defined as a proton donor, a chemical that increases the concentration of hydronium ions in solution. Conversely, we can define a base as a proton acceptor, a chemical that reduces the concentration of hydronium ions in solution (and increases the concentration of hydroxide ions). Acid-base chemistry is an important part of everyday life. The excess hydronium ions in acids give them interesting properties. Acids can react with metals and other materials. The strong acid HCl is produced in your stomach to help digest food. In dilute concentrations, acids are responsible for the sour taste of lemons, limes, vinegar and other substances. Bases are also very reactive. The strong base NaOH is used in many household cleaning agents such as oven cleaner and drain clogremover. But how do we measure the concentration of an acid or base? The acidity (or basicity) of a solution is measured using the pH scale. The pH scale corresponds to the concentration of hydronium ions in a solution. In fact, if you take the exponent of the H3O+ concentration and remove the negative sign, you have the pH of a solution. For example, in pure water the concentration of hydronium ions is 1 x 10-7 M. Thus, the pH of a solution of pure water is 7. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, where 7 is considered neutral ([H3O+] = [OH-]), below 7 acidic and above 7 basic. The further from 7 you are on the pH scale, the more acidic or basic the solution. For example, a solution with a pH = 1 has a hydronium ion concentration of 1 x 10-1 M (0.1 M). The table below further illustrates the relationship between hydronium ion concentration and pH.

[H3O+] 1 X 100 1 X 10-1 1 X 10-2 1 X 10-3 1 X 10-4 1 X 10-5 1 X 10-6 1 X 10-7

pH [OH-] 0 1 X 10-14 1 1 X 10-13 2 1 X 10-12 3 1 X 10-11 4 1 X 10-10 5 1 X 10-9 6 1 X 10-8 7 1 X 10-7

Example HCl (4%) Stomach acid Lemon juice Vinegar Soda Rainwater (unpolluted) Milk Pure water

1 1 1 1 1 1 1

10-8 -9 X 10 -10 X 10 -11 X 10 -12 X 10 -13 X 10 -14 X 10


8 9 10 11 12 13

1 1 1 1 1 1 1

10-6 -5 X 10 -4 X 10 -3 X 10 -2 X 10 -1 X 10 0 X 10

Egg whites Baking Soda Ammonia Drano NaOH (4%)

Copyright 1998-1999, All Rights Reserved, Anthony Carpi The water-dimer animation is courtesy of the MathMol site The formic acid/proton transfer animation is property of the van Gunsteren Group

The pH of a solution is a measure of the molar concentration of hydrogen ions in the solution and as such is a measure of the acidity or basicity of the solution. The letters pH stand for "power of hydrogen" and the numerical value is defined as the negative base 10 logarithm of the molar concentration of hydrogen ions.

pH = -log10[H+]
The measurement of the pH of a sample can be done by measuring the cell potential of that sample in reference to a standard hydrogen electrode, as in the accepted procedure for measuring standard electrode potentials. This procedure would give a value of zero for a 1 Molar solution of H+ ions, so that defines the zero of the pH scale. The cell potential for any other value of H+ concentration can be obtained with the use of the Nernst equation. For a solution at 25C this gives

Ecell = -0.0592 log10[H+]


pH = Ecell/0.0592
For this expression, a base change from the natural log to the base 10 logarithm was made in the Nernst equation.

In practice, the pH is not usually measured in this way because it requires hydrogen gas at standard pressure, and the platinum electrode used in the standard hydrogen electrode is easily fouled by the presence of other substances in the solution (Ebbing). Fortunately, other practical electrode configurations can be calibrated to read the H+ ion concentration. Laboratory pH meters are often made with a glass electrode consisting of a silver wire coated with silver chloride immersed in dilute hydrochloric acid. The electrode solution is separated from the solution to be measured by a thin glass membrane. The potential which develops across that glass membrane can be shown to be proportional to the hydrogen ion concentrations on the two surfaces. In the measurement instrument, a cell is made with the other electrode commonly being a mercurymercury chloride electrode. The cell potential is then linearly proportional to the pH and the meter can then be calibrated to read directly in pH.

Measurement of pH A simple way to tell if a solution is acidic or basic is to test a drop of the solution with litmus paper. You have already done this in previous chemistry experiments. Litmus is a natural vegetable dye that changes color in response to hydrogen ion concentration. Blue litmus turns red in the presence of acid; red litmus turns blue in the presence of base. Other than those changes, litmus does not indicate even approximate pH values. Litmus paper moistened with distilled water may also be used to test for the presence of acidic gases such as SO2 and for the basic gas NH3. Indicator or pH papers supplied by various manufacturers are impregnated with several dyes and turn a range of colors in response to pH changes in the range 0 to 12 or 0 to 14. The color of the test strip is compared to a standard card to get a pH reading to within one unit. Short range papers exist that measure pH across a one or two unit range to within 0.1 unit. These papers may not work well in deeply colored or turbid solutions that mask the dye colors. Soluble indicator dyes are also used to determine solution pHs. Indicators were once widely used to signal endpoints in acid-base titrations. For instance, phenolphthalein indicator is deep pink above pH 10 and colorless below pH 8.2. Phenolphthalein solution added to a solution of unknown pH can tell you whether the solution pH is above or below about 8.2. Several dyes can be used with separate samples of the same solution to narrow the range of a solution pH value. Neutral red is pink below pH 6.8 and yellow above pH 8.0. If a solution gives no color with phenolphthalein and a yellow color with methyl red, then its pH must lie between 8.0 and 8.2. Thymol blue may be used to verify or narrow down these results since thymol blue is yellow below 8.0 and green in the pH range 8.0 to 9.6. The most accurate and precise instrument for measuring pH is the pH meter. A pH meter assembly consists of two probes, called the pH electrode and the reference electrode (sometimes combined into one housing), and an electronic meter with reads in the range 0 to 14 to a precision of

0.01 or even 0.001 pH units. Most pH meters read reliably to 0.1 unit; achieving a precision of 0.01 or more requires a more expensive meter, careful calibration and well cared-for electrodes. Examples of pH Values The pH of a solution is a measure of the molar concentration of hydrogen ions in the solution and as such is a measure of the acidity or basicity of the solution. The letters pH stand for "power of hydrogen" and numerical value for pH is just the negative of the power of 10 of the molar concentration of H+ ions. The usual range of pH values encountered is between 0 and 14, with 0 being the value for concentrated hydrochloric acid (1 M HCl), 7 the value for pure water (neutral pH), and 14 being the value for concentrated sodium hydroxide (1 M NaOH). It is possible to get a pH of -1 with 10 M HCl, but that is about a practical limit of acidity. At the other extreme, a 10 M solution of NaOH would have a pH of 15. In pure water, the molar concentration of H+ ions is 10-7 M and the concentration of OH- ions is also 10-7 M. Actually, when looked at in detail, it is more accurate to classify the concentrations as those of [H3O]+ and [OH]-. The product of the positive and negative ion concentrations is 10-14 in any aqueous solution at 25C. An important example of pH is that of the blood. Its nominal value of pH = 7.4 is regulated very accurately by the body. If the pH of the blood gets outside the range 7.35 to 7.45 the results can be serious and even fatal. If you measure the pH of tap water with a pH meter, you may be surprised at how far from a pH of 7 it is because of dissolved substances in the water. Distilled water is necessary to get a pH near 7. Meters for pH measurement can give precise numerical values, but approximate values can be obtained with various indicators. Red and blue litmus paper has been one of the common indicators. Red litmus paper turns blue at a basic pH of about 5, and blue litmus paper turns red at an acid pH of about 8. Neither changes color if the pH is nearly neutral. Litmus is an organic compound derived from lichens. Phenolpthalein is also a common indicator, being colorless in solution at pH below 8 and turning pink for pH above 8

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxx The mass density or density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is (the Greek letter rho). In some cases (for instance, in the United States oil and gas industry), density is also defined as its weight per unit volume;[1] although, this quantity is more properly called specific weight. Different materials usually have different densities, so density is an important concept regarding buoyancy, purity and packaging. Osmium and iridium are the densest known metal elements at standard conditions for temperature and pressure but not the densest materials. Less dense fluids float on more dense fluids if they do not mix. This concept can be extended, with some care, to less dense solids floating on more dense fluids. If the average density (including any air below the waterline) of an object is less than water (1000 kg/m3) it will float in water and if it is more than water's it will sink in water. In some cases density is expressed as the dimensionless quantities specific gravity (SG) or relative density (RD), in which case it is expressed in multiples of the density of some other standard material, usually water or air/gas. (For example, a specific gravity less than one means that the substance floats in water.) The mass density of a material varies with temperature and pressure. (The variance is typically small for solids and liquids and much greater for gasses.) Increasing the pressure on an object decreases the volume of the object and therefore increase its density. Increasing the temperature of a substance (with some exceptions) decreases its density by increasing the volume of that substance. In most materials, heating the bottom of a fluid results in convection of the heat from bottom to top of the

fluid due to the decrease of the density of the heated fluid. This causes it to rise relative to more dense unheated material. The reciprocal of the density of a substance is called its specific volume, a representation commonly used in thermodynamics. Density is an intensive property in that increasing the amount of a substance does not increase its density; rather it increases its mass .The higher the density, the
tighter the particles are packed inside the substance. Density is a physical property constant at a given temperature and density can help to identify a substance. (soli liq gas)


(hydrogen bonding)

chromatography filtration

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx24 .01.12 van der Waals forces, relatively weak electric forces that attract neutral molecules to one another in gases, in liquefied and solidified gases, and in almost all organic liquids and solids. The forces are named for the Dutch physicist Johannes van der Waals, who in 1873 first postulated these intermolecular forces in developing a theory to account for the properties of real gases. Solids that are held together by van der Waals forces characteristically have lower melting points and are softer than those held together by the stronger ionic, covalent, and metallic bonds.
A weak force of attraction between electrically neutral molecules that collide with or pass very close to each other. The van der Waals force is caused by the attraction between electron-rich regions of one molecule and electron-poor regions of another (the attraction between the molecules seen as electric dipoles). The attraction is much weaker than a chemical bond. Van der Waals forces are the intermolecular forces that cause molecules to cohere in liquid and solid states of matter, and are responsible for surface tension and capillary action.


hydrogen bond
(Chemistry) a weak chemical bond between an electronegative atom, such as fluorine, oxygen, or nitrogen, and a hydrogen atom bound to another electronegative atom. Hydrogen bonds are responsible for the properties of water and many biological molecules A chemical bond formed between an electropositive atom (typically hydrogen) and a strongly electronegative atom, such as oxygen or nitrogen. Hydrogen bonds are responsible for the bonding of water molecules in liquid and solid states, and are weaker than covalent and ionic bonds. Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

melting point
The temperature at which a solid, given sufficient heat, becomes a liquid. For a given substance, the melting point of its solid form is the same as the freezing point of its liquid form, and depends on such factors as the purity of the substance and the surrounding pressure. The melting point of ice at a pressure of one atmosphere is 0C (32F); that of iron is 1,535C (2,795F). 1. The temperature at which a solid becomes a liquid at standard atmospheric pressure. 2. The temperature at which a solid and its liquid are in equilibrium, at any fixed pressure. cccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc

boiling point
The temperature at which a liquid changes to a vapor or gas. This temperature stays the same until all the liquid has vaporized. As the temperature of a liquid rises, the pressure of escaping vapor also rises, and at the boiling point the pressure of the escaping vapor is equal to that exerted on the liquid by the surrounding air, causing bubbles to form. Typically boiling points are measured at sea level. At higher altitudes, where atmospheric pressure is lower, boiling points are lower. The boiling point of water at sea level is 100C (212F), while at the top of Mount Everest it is 71C (159.8F). The temperature at which a liquid boils at a given pressure, usually atmospheric pressure at sea level; the temperature at which the vapour pressure of a liquid equals the external pressure. Vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

The resistance of a substance to flow. For example, water has a lower viscosity than molasses and flows more easily. Viscosity is related to the concept of shear force; it can be understood as the effect of different layers of the fluid exerting shearing force on each other, or on other surfaces, as they move against each other. Viscosity lies behind the skin friction component of drag. Kinematic viscosity is a measure of the rate at which momentum is transferred through a fluid. It is measured in stokes. Dynamic viscosity is a measure of the ratio of the stress on a region of a fluid to the rate of change of strain it undergoes. It is equal to the kinematic viscosity times the density of the fluid. It is measured in pascal-seconds or poises.

Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms (and for fluids only), viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity. Put simply, the less viscous the fluid is, the greater its ease of movement (fluidity).[1] Viscosity describes a fluid's internal resistance to flow and may be thought of as a measure of fluid friction. For example, high-viscosity felsic magma will create a tall, steep stratovolcano, because it cannot flow far before it cools, while low-viscosity mafic lava will create a wide, shallow-sloped shield volcano. All real fluids (except superfluids) have some resistance to stress and therefore are viscous, but a fluid which has no resistance to shear stress is known as an ideal fluid or inviscid fluid.