CHMA11H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Acid Strength, Nitric Acid, Sulfuric Acid

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CHMA11 Lecture 8: The Acid Ionization Constant (Ka)
- Characterizing Acid Strength
o Strong and weak acids are defined based on their ability to dissociate into its
component ions
Strong acids: will completely ionize in solution
Weak acids: will partially ionize in solution
The strength of an acid can be represented by equilibrium of said acid
If equilibrium of the acid lies far to the right, the acid is said to be
strong
o It will completely ionize
If equilibrium of the acid lies far to the left, the acid is said to be
weak
o Only a small percentage of it will ionize
The range of acid strength is continuous but for most purposes
the categories of strong or weak are useful
o Strong vs Weak Acids
Strong acids
There are 6 key strong acids
o HCl, HBr, HI, HNO3, HClO4, H2SO4
Monoprotic Acids: acids containing only one ionisable proton
o HCl, HBr, HI, HNO3, HClO4
Diprotic Acids: acids containing two ionisable protons
o H2SO4
Weak acids
There are 6 key weak acids
o HF, CH3COOH, HCOOH, H2SO3, H2CO3, H3PO4
Denoting between strong and weak acids
The degree to which an acid is strong or weak depends on the
attraction between the anion of the acid (the conjugate base) and
the hydrogen ion relative to the attraction of these ions to water
o If the attraction between the anion and hydrogen is weak,
then the reaction favors the forward direction and the
complete dissociation of the acid is enabled
The acid is thus deemed strong
o If the attraction between the anion and hydrogen is strong
then the reaction favors the reverse direction
Enables only partial dissociation of the acid
The acid is thus deemed weak
The stronger the acid, the weaker the conjugate base and vice
versa
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