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Chemicals and Solvents

Chemicals and Solvents

What Is An Acid? Definition, Types, Examples, Uses, & Facts

Acids play an important role in chemical reactions, our lives, and in the lives of many organisms. Here, we will cover what an acid is, how acids are classified, the characteristics of acids, acid examples, and the different acid types.

What is an acid?

An acid is any chemical that, when placed in a solution, releases hydrogen ions, which are atoms with a tiny positive electric charge. The positively charged particles are also known as protons. The protons react easily with anything that will take them. These charges cause the ions to react with bases.

How do we classify acids?

Acids are typically classified based on five factors. These factors include the source, whether or not oxygen is present, concentration, strength, and basicity.

Acids that are classified based on their source are broken down into two categories. Organic acids originate from organic materials such as animals and plants. Mineral acids are sourced from minerals and are known as inorganic acids. Mineral acids don’t contain carbon.

Acids classified based on the presence of oxygen are Oxy-acids and Hydracids. Oxy-acids are acids that consist of oxygen and Hydracids consist of hydrogen and other elements, but do not contain any oxygen.

When mixed with water, acids generate hydrogen ions. Acid strength is based on the concentration of these hydrogen ions in the solution. The larger the number of hydrogen ions, the stronger the acid. The fewer number of hydrogen ions, the weaker the acid. Strong acids can be dissociated almost completely in water, while acids that don’t dissociate completely are weak acids. The strongest acid in the world is fluoroantimonic acid. It consists of antimony, hydrogen, and fluorine. Water is the weakest.

When the acid is based on concentration, the acid is either a concentrated acid or a diluted acid. A concentrated acid has a large percentage of acid dissolved in the solution. A diluted acid has a low percentage of acid dissolved in the solution.

The basicity of an acid refers to the number of hydrogen ions that can be replaced in the acid. An acid that has one hydrogen ion is a monobasic acid. Monobasic acids mix with one hydroxyl group of the base to form water and salt. Dibasic acids share two hydroxyl groups, dissociate in two steps, and provide hydrogen salt and normal salt. Acids that can combine with three hydroxyl groups are tribasic acids. Tribasic acids produce three different types of salt and have three replaceable hydrogen ions.

What are 5 characteristics of acids?

Acids have some interesting characteristics. Here are five characteristics of acids:

  1. Acids are sour or tart
  2. They change the color of litmus from blue to red
  3. Their pH level ranges from 0-6
  4. Their acidity is lost when combined with alkalines
  5. They produce hydrogen gas when reacting with metals

What are the 3 types of acids?

Acids are divided into three major types:

1. Binary acids

Binary acids consist of a hydrogen bond to an atom that is nonmetal and are written in a H-A form.

2. Oxyacids

Oxyacids have one or more O-H bonds. The hydrogen atom which is bonded to oxygen is the only atom that contributes to the acidity.

3.Carboxylic acids

Carboxylic acids, the hydrogen atom in the carboxyl group is the only atom that ionizes and contributes to acidity.

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 the 7 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.
  • Lactic acid. When milk sours, it contains lactic acid.

  • What does pH stand for?

    To determine if something is an acid or base, a pH scale is used. pH stands for potential hydrogen. The pH scale runs from 0-14. A pH of 7 is neutral which is the pH of water. Anything that has a pH lower than 7 is an acid and higher than 7 are bases.

    How do you categorize acids and bases?

    Acids and bases interact with each other and form salt and water. When determining if a solution is an acid or a base, you need to count the hydrogens on each substance before and after the reaction. If that number has decreased, it is an acid, which means it donates hydrogen ions. If that number of hydrogens has increased, then the substance is a base and accepts hydrogen ions.

    Where to purchase acids?

    For over 40 years, Lab Pro has been committed to providing a wide selection of acid types and acid examples 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.