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# Chapter 15 Worksheet 1

Bronsted-Lowry definition of acids and bases, pH scale, strong acids and bases

## Bronsted-Lowry definition of acids and bases

An acid is a proton donor and a base is a proton acceptor. An acid-base reaction involves the transfer
of a proton from an acid to a base. A reaction between an acid and a base always produces another
acid and another base.

## HA(aq) + H2O(l) = H3O+(aq) + A-(aq) Keq = Ka = [H3O+]eq[A-]eq/[HA]eq

acid 1 base 1 acid 2 base 2

Ka is the equilibrium constant for the reaction of an acid with water. It is called the acid-ionization
constant. The size of Ka is a measure of acid strength.

Often, H+ (hydrogen ion) is used as shorthand for H3O+ (hydronium ion) and acid ionization reactions are
written as:

## HA(aq) = H+(aq) + A-(aq)

Examples:

HCl (aq) + H2O (l) H3O+ (aq) + Cl- (aq) Ka is large; strong acid
acid 1 base 1 acid 2 base 2

CH3COOH (aq) + H2O (l) = H3O+ (aq) + CH3COO- (aq) Ka = 1.8 x 10-5; weak acid
acid 1 base 1 acid 2 base 2

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Consider the reaction of a generic base (A-) with water

## A- (aq) + H2O (l) = HA (aq) + OH- (aq) Keq = Kb = [HA]eq[OH-]eq / [A-]eq

Kb is the equilibrium constant for the reaction of a base with water. It called the base-ionization
constant. The size of Kb is a measure of base strength.

Examples:

## H- (aq) + H2O (l) H2 (aq) + OH-(aq) Kb is large, strong base

base 1 acid 1 acid 2 base 2

## NH3(aq) + H2O(l) = NH4+(aq) + OH-(aq) Kb = 1.8 x 10-5; weak base

base 1 acid 1 acid 2 base 2

Notice that water can act as an acid or a base! Substances of this type are called amphiprotic or
amphoteric.

Of course, any acid can react with any base. For example:

## CH3COOH(aq) + NH3(aq) = NH4+(aq) + CH3COO-(aq)

acid 1 base 1 acid 2 base 2

In every acid-base reaction, the position of the equilibrium favors transfer of the proton from the
stronger acid to the stronger base.

An acid and base that differ only in the presence or absence of a proton are called a conjugate acid-base
pair.

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1. Complete the table and circle all amphiprotic (amphoteric) substances:

Conjugate Conjugate
Acid strength Ka Kb Base strength
acid base
HCl 0
Strong H2SO4 0 Negligible
- -16
~20 NO ~5 x 10

## Base strength increases

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Moderately 1.0 H2O 1.0 x 10-14
strong
HSO4- 1.2 x 10-2 8.3 x 10-13
Acid strength increases

## 7.5 x 10-3 H2PO4- 1.3 x 10-12

HF 7.2 x 10-4 1.4 x 10-11
CH3COOH 1.8 x 10-5 5.5 x 10-10 Weak
4.2 x 10-7 HCO3 - 2.4 x 10-8
Weak H2PO4 -
6.2 x 10 -8 1.6 x 10-7
5.5 x 10-10 NH3 1.8 x 10-5
HCO3- 4.8 x 10-11 2.1 x 10-4
HPO42- 3.6 x 10-13 2.7 x 10-2
Moderately
H2O 1.0 x 10-14 1.0
strong
0 O2-
Negligible Strong
H2 0
2. What do you notice about the relative strength of an acid and its conjugate base?

## Types of acids and bases

Notice that an acid can be a cation, an anion, or have no charge. Only uncharged acids are named
with the word acid.

## There are two types of weak bases:

1. Anions that are conjugate bases of weak acids (CH3COO-, HPO42-, F-, etc.)
2. Uncharged molecules that contain lone pairs of electrons. Many weak bases contain
nitrogen (NH3, amines). The proton binds through the lone pair on the nitrogen. Their
conjugate acids are cations.

## Notice that the conjugate base of a polyprotic acid is amphiprotic (amphoteric).

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3. Complete the following acid base reactions, indicate the conjugate acid-base pairs, and state whether
the reaction has a large or small equilibrium constant.

a. CH3COOH(aq) + NH3(aq) =

## d. HCO3- (aq) + H2O (l) =

(HCO3- is amphoteric!)

## e. NH3 (aq) + H2O (l) =

4. a. The equilibrium constant for which of the above reactions is an example of either a Ka (acid
ionization constant) or a Kb (base ionization constant)?

b. Write the balanced equation for the reaction whose equilibrium constant is the Ka for
phosphoric acid.

c. Write the balanced equation for the reaction whose equilibrium constant is the Kb for the
dihydrogen phosphate ion.

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Autoionization (dissociation) of water and the pH scale:

H2O(l) + H2O(l) = H3O +(aq) + OH-(aq) [also written as: H2O(l) = H+(aq) + OH-(aq)]

## Kw is called the ionization constant or ion-product constant for water

For ANY solution, if you know the concentration of either the hydrogen ion or the hydroxide ion then
you know the concentration of the other! They are
ALWAYS related by the equation above!

MEMORIZE THIS!!

gives:

Thus, pH = 7

## If [H3O+] >[OH-], then pH < 7 and the solution is acidic

If [H3O+] <[OH-], then pH > 7 and the solution is basic
If [H3O+] =[OH-], then pH = 7 and the solution is neutral

## [H3O+] (M) pH pOH [OH-] (M) Acidic or

Basic?
3.2 x 10-8
4.20
5.50
7.8 x 10-2

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Strong acids and bases (MEMORIZE THESE!!)

According to the Bronsted-Lowry definition, the reactions of strong acids and bases with water go to
completion (very large equilibrium constants).

## Hydrochloric Acid HCl

Hydrobromic Acid HBr
Hydroiodic Acid HI
(HF is a weak acid; well disuss this later)
Chloric Acid HClO3 (Your textbook does not consider this to be a strong acid, Ka = )
Perchloric Acid HClO4
Nitric Acid HNO3
Sulfuric Acid H2SO4 (Only first ionization goes to completion)

Hydride ion H-
Oxide ion O2-

## Hydroxide ion OH-

Note: According to the Arrhenius definition of a base, soluble metal hydroxides (NaOH, KOH, etc.)
are classified as strong bases since they are strong electrolytes. According to the Bronsted-Lowry
definition, they are not bases at all! It is the resulting OH- ion that is the base and it is only a
moderately strong base.

6. Consider what happens when the strong acid, nitric acid (HNO3), reacts with water.

a. Write the balanced equation for the ionization reaction. (There are two ways to write it.)

## c. What can we say about the size of Ka for this reaction?

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d. What is the pH of a 0.00325 M solution of nitric acid?

## e. What is the concentration of nitric acid if the pH is 1.5?

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7. Consider what happens when Ca(OH)2, dissolves in water.

## a. Write the balanced equation for the reaction.

b. What can we say about the size of the equilibrium constant for this reaction?