How do acids and bases neutralize each other?

1 Answer
Nov 28, 2015

Answer:

The basic mantra: ACID + BASE #rarr# SALT + WATER.

Explanation:

For say, hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide, we would write:

Hydrochloric acid + sodium hydroxide #rarr# Sodium choride + water.

But, of course, we can use symbols:

#NaOH(aq) + HCl(aq) rarr NaCl(aq) + H_2O(l)#

And we can be even more succinct than this:

#H^+ + OH^(-) rarr H_2O(l)#, inasmuch as the #Na^+(aq)# and #Cl^(-)(aq)# ions were along for the ride; this last reaction could also be referred to as the net ionic equation.

Now some acids have 2 equiv #H^+# to contribute, e.g. sulfuric acid, #H_2SO_4#. To represent its acid base reaction, its neutralization reaction, I would write:

#H_2SO_4(aq) + 2NaOH(aq) rarr 2H_2O(l) + Na_2SO_4(aq)#

Your turn now, can you write equivalent reactions for the neutralization of nitric acid, #HNO_3#, with potassium hydroxide?