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8.13: Arrhenius Acids and Bases: Introduction to the Reactions of Arrhenius Acids

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  • The previous seven sections of this chapter were devoted to writing and identifying the chemical formulas and chemical names of Arrhenius acids and Arrhenius bases, which are defined as proton, H+1, and hydroxide ion, OH–1, donors, respectively, in water.  Specifically, three "shortcut" patterns were presented and applied for the hydrohalogenated, "HX," and polyatomic, "HNPoly," Arrhenius acids and metal hydroxide Arrhenius bases, which are generically-symbolized as "M(OH)Y."  However, since the complete definitions of Arrhenius acids and bases were not utilized to develop these patterns, applying these symbolisms to classify a particular chemical as an Arrhenius acid or an Arrhenius base occasionally generates misleading or erroneous results, as exemplified by Exercise 8.12.2.  Consequently, each acid/base classification that was determined by comparing these patterns to a particular chemical formula was verified by writing a solution equation for that substance and then comparing the generated symbolic information to the chemical and behavioral criteria that are established in the definitions of Arrhenius acids and Arrhenius bases.

    Writing and identifying the chemical formulas and chemical names of Arrhenius acids and Arrhenius bases are both intrinsically-valuable chemical skills.  However, chemists are primarily interested in studying the reactivity of chemicals.  Therefore, recognizing the chemical formula of an Arrhenius substance as a reactant in a chemical equation is an essential application of the formula-writing processes that were discussed in the previous sections of this chapter.  Recall that, because the protons, H+1, and hydroxide ions, OH–1, that are generated during the dissociation of Arrhenius acids and Arrhenius bases, respectively, are analyzed as independent chemical entities, the reactivity of an Arrhenius substance is limited, but predictable.  The following sections of this chapter will describe the three most common reactions of Arrhenius chemicals.  Each of these transformations can be symbolically-represented using a generic reactivity pattern, which, in turn, can be applied to predict the products that are generated during a specific chemical reaction.