# Why does neutralization occur?

May 14, 2014

A neutralization reaction is very much like a double replacement reaction. However, in a neutralization reaction, the reactants are always an acid and a base and the products are always a salt and water.

The basic reaction for a double replacement react takes the following format:

$A B + C D \to C B + A D$

We will look at an example as Sulfuric Acid and Potassium Hydroxide neutralize each other in the following reaction:

${H}_{2} S {O}_{4} + 2 K O H \to {K}_{2} S {O}_{4} + 2 {H}_{2} O$

In a neutralization reaction between an acid and a base, the typical outcome is a salt formed by the positive ion from the base and the negative ion from the acid. In this case, the positive potassium ion (${K}^{+}$) and the polyatomic sulfate ($S {O}_{4}$) together form the salt ${K}_{2} S {O}_{4}$.

The positive hydrogen (${H}^{+}$) from the acid and the negative hydroxide ion ($O {H}^{-}$) from the base form the water molecule $H O H$ or ${H}_{2} O$.