Comment on the electrical neutrality of strong acids. What is the equilibrium that defines the strength of an acid?

1 Answer
Jan 22, 2017

Answer:

All bulk materials are electrically neutral............

Explanation:

The parent acids, #HX#, #HNO_3#, #HClO_4#, #H_2SO_4#, #HOAc#............are all neutral entities. Of course in aqueous solution (and most of them are supplied as aqueous solutions), the following equilibrium occurs:

#HX(aq) + H_2O(l) rightleftharpoonsH_3O^(+) + X^-#

For stronger acids, the equilibrium lies to the RIGHT; for weaker acids the equilibrium lies to the LEFT as we face the page. The #"hydronium ion"#, #H_3O^+#, is conceived to be the #"acidium species"# in solution, a cluster of water molecules with an EXTRA #H^+#, i.e. #H_7O_3^+#, or #H_9O_4^+#; the extra #H^+# moves, or tunnels if you like as does a ball in a rugby maul. We write #H^+# or #H_3O^+# for convenience. Of course, with this positively charged species, there is a correpsonding negatively charged species, an anion.

There are other solvent systems we could use, but water is clearly the most convenient.