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9.

3 - The Acidic Environment

Section #3
Acids & pH
Acids occur in many foods, drinks and even within our stomachs

Acids & pH

Classification of Acids
Acids are classified as being either Strong Acids or Weak Acids. This is based upon the nature of the equilibrium system that they establish when they are dissolved in water. HA H+ + A-

i. Strong Acids
Shows very high levels of dissociation into ions.
Equilibrium favors Forward Reaction

ii. Weak Acids


Shows very low levels of dissociation into ions.
Equilibrium favors Reverse Reaction

HA
100% dissociation in solution

H+

A-

HA
low% dissociation in solution

H+

A-

Acids & pH

Strong Acids
There are several acids that are classified as strong acids, however the most commonly encountered strong acids in the HSC are

i. Hydrochloric Acid
HCl - Molecular Weight = 36.46 g.mol-1 Also known as Muriatic Acid. Small amounts of hydrochloric acid are secreted by cells in the lining of the stomach to aid in food digestion. Ionizes in solution according to the equation

H - Cl

HCl

H+

Cl-

It is classified as monoprotic acid

Acids & pH
ii. Sulfuric Acid O HO S O OH
H2SO4 - Molecular Weight =

98.08 g.mol-1 Ionizes in solution according to the equations

H2SO4 HSO4-

H+ H+

+ +

HSO4SO42-

Sulfuric acid undergoes two stages of ionisation. Hence it is classified as a

diprotic acid

Acids & pH
iii. Nitric Acid
HNO3 - Molecular Weight =

63.01 g.mol-1 Ionizes in solution according to the equation

HNO3

H+

NO3-

Acids & pH

Weak Acids
There are several acids that are classified as weak acids, however the most commonly encountered weak acids in the HSC are

i. Methanoic Acid
O H C OH

HCOOH - Molecular Weight = 46.03 g.mol-1


Also known as Formic Acid Ionizes in solution according to the equation COOH-

HCOOH

H+

Acids & pH
ii. Ethanoic Acid
CH3COOH - Molecular Weight

O
H H C H C OH

= 60.05 g.mol-1 Also known as Acetic Acid

Ionizes in solution according to the equation


CH3COO-

CH3COOH

H+

Acids & pH
iii. Citric Acid

C6H8O7 - Molecular Weight = 192.13 g.mol-1


Systematic name is

2-hydroxypropane-1,2,3-tricarboxylic

OH

Ionizes in solution according to the equations


H+(aq) H+(aq) + + C3H5O(COOH)2COO-(aq) C3H5O(COOH)(COO)22-(aq) + C3H5O(COO)33-(aq)

H2 C
CO OH

CO OH

CH2 CO OH

C3H5O(COOH)3(aq) C3H5O(COOH)2COO-(aq) C3H5O(COOH)(COO)22-(aq)

H+(aq)

Acids & pH

Ions in Water
Ions do not simply float around in liquid water. Remember from the preliminary course, when NaCl crystals dissolve in water, the ions become surrounded by water molecules

Acids & pH
It is precisely due to this fact we use the subscript (aq) to indicate dissolved ions in solution

NaCl(s)

Na+(aq)

OH-(aq)

Similarly, the ions produced by the dissociation of acids are not simply floating around.
In fact the H+ ions piggy back upon water molecules, forming Hydronium Ions H3O+.
+

Hydronium Ion H3O+

Acids & pH
The H+ ion bonds to the water molecule through a special type of covalent bonding called a Coordinate Bond (more on this in the Chemistry of Art). Hence, H+(aq) and H3O+(aq) can be used interchangeably. Therefore the equations for the ionisation of acids can be written form) as
(in a more correct

i. Hydrochloric Acid
HCl(g) + H2O(l) H3O+(aq) + Cl-(aq)

ii. Sulfuric Acid


H2SO4(l) HSO4-(aq) + + H2O(l) H2O(l) H3O+(aq) H3O+(aq) + + HSO4-(aq) SO42-(aq)

Acids & pH
iii. Nitric Acid
HNO3(l) + H2O(l) H3O+(aq) + NO3-(aq)

iv. Methanoic Acid


HCOOH(l) + H2O(l) H3O+(aq) + COOH-(aq)

v. Ethanoic Acid
CH3COOH(l) + H2O(l) H3O+(aq) + CH3COO-(aq)

vi. Citric Acid


C3H5O(COOH)3(aq) C3H5O(COOH)2COO-(aq) + + H2O(l) H2O(l) H3O+(aq) H3O+(aq) + + C3H5O(COOH)2COO-(aq) C3H5O(COOH)(COO)22-(aq)

C3H5O(COOH)(COO)22-(aq)

H2O(l)

H3O+(aq)

C3H5O(COO)33-(aq)

Acids & pH

Visualizing Strong & Weak Acids


The ionisation of strong & weak acids can be easily visualized. Weak acids exhibit a very small degree of dissociation in solution

Example 100% of the HCl molecules in Hydrochloric Acid will dissociate in solution

Acids & pH
Weak acids exhibit a very small degree of dissociation in solution

Example 1% of the CH3COOH molecules in Acetic Acid will dissociate in solution

Acids & pH

Concentrated & Dilute Acidic Solutions


The terms Concentrated and Dilute refer to the amounts of substances (in this case Acids & Bases) dissolved into certain volumes of a solvent (in the HSC the solvent is mostly water). Remember that the concentration of a solution is given by the equation # mol Volume (L)

Concentration =

Therefore, a concentrated solution can be created when a large amount of material is dissolved in a relatively small amount of solvent. Likewise, a dilute solution can be created when a small amount of material is dissolved in a relatively large amount of solvent.

Acids & pH
Example

Concentrated HCl
(a strong acid)

(a strong acid)

Diluted HCl

Acids & pH
Example

Concentrated CH3COOH
(a weak acid)

Diluted CH3COOH
(a weak acid)

Acids & pH

Acid Equilibria
When an acid dissolves in water an Acid Equilibrium is setup HX H+ + X-

The Acid Dissociation Constant for this system is [H+] [X-] [HX]

Ka =

The stronger an acid is, the more it dissociates producing more H+ and XHence the stronger acid is the larger its Ka value will be. Strong acids completely dissociate in solution so their Ka values approach infinity!

Acids & pH

Self Ionisation of Water


Pure water can act an extremely weak acid H2O(l) H+(aq) + OH-(aq)

Therefore
Ka = [H+] [OH-]

[H2O]

What is the concentration of water in water???

Exactly how chemists get around this is not on your course however using mathematical processes we gain a special constant called the Ion Product Constant of Water, Kw. Kw = [H+] [OH-] at 25C Kw = 1.0 10-14

Hence the [H+] of pure water is 1.0 10-7, this is important when we consider

Acids & pH

pH
pH is a measure of the strength of an acidic solution. pH = -log10[H+] Hence the pH of pure water is pH = -log10[1.0 10-7] pH = 7 Calculation steps
1. Enter the concentration using the EXP button
making sure you push equals at the end.

Examining the equation

2. Push the log button


making sure you push equals at the end. 3. Push the plus/minus button making sure you push equals at the end.

[H+] = 1.0 10-7 g pH = 7


[H+] > 1.0 10-7 g pH < 7

[H+]

< 1.0

10-7

g pH > 7

Acids & pH

pOH
pOH is a measure of the strength of an alkaline solution.

pOH = -log10[OH-]
pH & pOH are related by

pH + pOH = 14
Hence the pH of 0.1M NaOH is NaOH Na+(aq) [OH-] = 0.1 + OH-(aq) pOH = -log10[0.1] pOH = 1 pH = 13

Acids & pH

The pH Scale
So, the pH scale is as follows

pOH

It is possible to have pH values smaller that 0 and larger than 14!

It is very important to note that if a solution changes its pH by one unit on the pH scale, there is a ten fold change in the H+ concentration.

Acids & pH

pH of Acids of Equal Concentrations


Consider the following situation

strong acid 100% dissociation

HCl 0.1M

CH3COOH 0.1M

weak acid 1% dissociation

[H+] = 0.1 pH = -log10[0.1] pH = 1

[H+] = 0.001 pH = -log10[0.001] pH = 3