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Chemicals and Solvents

Chemicals and Solvents

Quick Guide To Naming Acids

Acids are essential to many chemical processes. Reactions involving acids are determined by the transfer of protons or single H+ ions. The acidity of a solution depends upon the concentration of hydrogen ions. Here, we will cover the definition of an acid, the rules for naming acids, how to write formulas for acids, acids used in industry, and acids found in nature.

What is an acid?

An acid is a molecular compound that consists of at least one hydrogen atom and when it is dissolved in water, it produces hydrogen ions. Since acids are molecular, in their pure state, their structure consists of individual molecules. However, when dissolved in water, the chemical bond shared between the hydrogen atom and the remainder of the molecules break. This leaves a hydrogen ion that is positively charged and an anion.

What are the 3 rules for naming acids?

Since acids consist of hydrogen, the name of the acid depends upon the anion that goes with it. The anions are either monatomic or polyatomic. Monatomic ions end in ‘ide’ and most polyatomic ions end in ‘ate’ or ‘ite’. The anion’s suffix determines how the acid is named.

The three suffixes lead to the following three rules:

  1. If the anion ends in ‘ide’, the name of the acid begins with the ‘hydro’ prefix. The root of the anion followed by ‘ic’ goes in between the prefix and the suffix.       Ex. hydrochloric acid
  2. If the anion ends in ‘ate’, the acid name is the root followed by the suffix ‘ic’. There isn’t a prefix.     Ex. sulfuric acid
  3. If the anion ends in ‘ite’, the acid name is the root followed by the ‘ous’ suffix. There is no prefix.      Ex. nitrous acid

How do you write formulas for acids?

When writing formulas for acids, you need to remember that acids are electrically neutral. That’s why the anion charge of the formula has to be balanced out with the H+ ions which carry a single negative charge. The number of positively-charged hydrogen ions must be equal to the number of negative charges on the anion.

What are the four most common types of acids used in industry?

The four types of acids used in industry have a few things in common. They have a sour taste, sour smell, are soluble in water, react with most metals, and are corrosive.

  • Nitric acid. Nitric acid is used in the food industry and in chemical manufacturing. In the food industry, it sterilizes canned food by killing bacteria that would end up spoiling the food. In chemical manufacturing, it is used to dissolve tars or resins or it can be combined with hydrogen peroxide to produce nitro hydrogen peroxide.
  • Hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is a colorless liquid and is used to make organic compounds found in fertilizers. It is also used to produce many other organic compounds.
  • Sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid are used as agents in wastewater treatment by breaking down contaminants into inert compounds.
  • Hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid is used to make herbicides, etching glass & metal, refrigerants, pharmaceuticals, plastics, aluminum, high-octane gas, fluorescent light bulbs, and electrical components.

  • What are some types of acid in nature?

    There are also many acids that are found in nature. These include the following:

  • Citric acid. Citric acid is found in lemons and limes.
  • Malic acid. Malic acid is found in unripe apples, cherries, grapes, watermelon, broccoli, and carrots.
  • Tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is mostly found in grapes.
  • Acetic acid. Acetic acid is found in vinegar.
  • Oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is found in black tea, soy, cocoa, almonds, Brazil nuts, potato skins, beets, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, kale, and spinach.
  • Caffeic acid. Caffeic acid is found in coffee, fruits, vegetables, and olive oil.

  • For over 40 years, Lab Pro has been committed to providing acids for biomedical laboratories in California and worldwide. Come visit the biggest Lab Supply showroom in California, or contact us online or at 888-452-2776.