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7: Acids and Bases

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    Chapter Objectives

    This chapter provides a review of the more advanced material covered in a standard introductory chemistry course through a discussion of the following topics:

    • the use of electronegativity to determine bond polarity, and the application of this knowledge to determine whether a given molecule possesses a dipole moment.
    • the drawing and interpretation of organic chemical structures.
    • the concept and determination of formal charge.
    • resonance and drawing of resonance forms
    • the Brønsted-Lowry and Lewis definitions of acids and bases, acidity constants and acid-base reactions.
    • acid-base equilibria

    • 7.1: Acids and Bases - The Brønsted-Lowry Definition
      In 1923, chemists Johannes Brønsted and Martin Lowry independently developed definitions of acids and bases based on compounds abilities to either donate or accept protons (H+ ions). Here, acids are defined as being able to donate protons in the form of hydrogen ions; whereas bases are defined as being able to accept protons. This took the Arrhenius definition one step further as water is no longer required to be present in the solution for acid and base reactions to occur.
    • 7.2: Acid and Base Strength
      The relative acidity of different compounds or functional groups – in other words, their relative capacity to donate a proton to a common base under identical conditions – is quantified by a number called the dissociation constant, abbreviated Ka. The common base chosen for comparison is water.
    • 7.3: Predicting Acid-Base Reactions from pKa Values
      pKa values can be used to predict the equilibrium of an acid-base reaction.  The equilibrium will favor the side with the weaker acid.
    • 7.4: Organic Acids and Organic Bases
      In the absence of pKa values, the relative strength of an organic acid can be predicted based on the stability of the conjugate base that it forms.  The acid that forms the more stable conjugate base will be the stronger acid.  The common factors that affect the conjugate base's stability are 1) the size and electronegativity of the the atom that has lost the proton, 2) resonance effects, 3) inductive effects, and 4) solvation effects.
    • 7.5: Acids and Bases - The Lewis Definition
      A broader definition is provided by the Lewis theory of acids and bases, in which a Lewis acid is an electron-pair acceptor and a Lewis base is an electron-pair donor. This definition covers Brønsted-Lowry proton transfer reactions, but also includes reactions in which no proton transfer is involved.

    7: Acids and Bases is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Steven Farmer & Dietmar Kennepohl.