# Which is a stronger acid: acetic acid or hydrochloric acid?

Jul 5, 2017

The mineral acid, $H C l$, is a much stronger acid than $\text{acetic acid}$.

#### Explanation:

And how do we assess this? How else but by reference to its acid base equilibrium in water..........

$H X \left(a q\right) + {H}_{2} O \left(l\right) \rightarrow {H}_{3} {O}^{+} \left(a q\right) + {X}^{-}$

${K}_{a} = \frac{\left[{H}_{3} {O}^{+}\right] \left[{X}^{-}\right]}{\left[H X\right]}$

For $\text{acetic acid}$..........${K}_{a} = 1.73 \times {10}^{-} 5$.

For $\text{HCl}$..........${K}_{a} = 1.3 \times {10}^{6}$.

So hydrochloric acid is over 10 orders of magnitude STRONGER.