Hi I am freshly squeezed from a lemon! I am lemonade
taste sour? Yes!
Conduct electricity? Yes!
react with metals, bases, and carbonates? Yes!
The baking soda (a base) and the lemon juice (an acid) combine to release Carbon Dioxide gas. The liquid soap turns the bubbles into a foam that often erupts right out of the glass.
So I am lemon juice, and I am ACIDIC!
An acid can do all 3 things mentioned above!
An acid has pH less than 7!
Rain, wine et-cetera et-cetera all contain different acids! Rain’s acidity comes from dissolved carbon dioxide, while wine’s acidity comes from fermented grapes!
They all have pH below 7, so what is pH?
pH measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in something!
What are hydrogen ions?
First let us see what all acids have in common!
They all have H in them!
When in water, the H splits apart from the acid to become H+ ions! They left their electrons behind with their acid pal to form a negatively charged ion.
Why do you need water to be present to have H+ ions?
Because water has the ability to attract the H from the acid to split from the acid!
the hydronium (H3O+) here is the same as H+!
H+ ions are the big deal that makes acids who they are!
If you are an acid, you will react with metals, and other stuff… and that is all because your H+ ions are attacking those guys!!!
H+ makes an acid incredibly powerful
A really powerful acid releases all the H immediately to form lots and lots of H+ ions when it dissolves in water.
Whereas a weak acid does not release all of its H to form H+ ions, it may hold on to its H! 🙂
Compare the 2 pictures above, can you see that there are more H+ ions per unit volume for strong acids compared to weak acids?
This means that strong acids have a higher concentration of H+ ions than weak acids.
Recall that pH measures amount of H+?
Can you see that a strong acid contains a really large amount of H+ ions?
This explains why chemists need to take precautions when working with strong acids!