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What Are Strong Acids?

Referencing Styles : MLA | Pages : 1

In Chemistry, a strong acid refers to the type of acids, which undergo the process of complete ionisation or dissociation in a solution which consists of water. A proton always gets lost by a strong acid, when it is put in water. Many of the strong acids have a negative pKa value, which is an indicator that the acid is strong. They provide the highest number of hydrogen ions when they are placed in any solutions. One of the most important fact, which needs to be kept in mind is that the acid, which can give off the certain number of protons or hydrogen ions. Many students come across a question as to why is the hydrogen ions or the protons seen, when the topic ‘Strong Acids’ pop up. A simple answer to this question could be that a hydrogen ion is nothing but a proton. If a glance at the periodic table is given, it would be seen that the element which stands as number one is Hydrogen. From this it can be inferred that it has got one proton and hence Hydrogen is a proton. Furthermore, there arises a question that regards to the reason why do the strong acids undergo the process of dissociation so well. A few influents that come into the picture are as follows:

Atomic Radius: The increase in acidity increases with the increase in the atomic radius. For example, Hydrogen Iodide is an acid which is quite stronger than the hydrochloric Acid
Electronegativity: The strength of the acidity of a certain acid also can be determined by the electronegativity of a certain conjugate base in the same period of the periodic table.
Electrical Charge: Acidity increases with the positivity of the charge of an atom, or if framed differently, a proton is easier to be taken from a neutral species apart from a proton which has a negative charge.
Equilibrium: With the ionisation of an acid, the conjugate base reaches its equilibrium. The water as a base is much stronger in comparison to the conjugate base of the strong acid.
Solvency: In most of the applications, the discussion of strong acids is in relation to the water as solvent.


It is not necessary that all strong acids are corrosive in nature. Fluorosulfuric acid used to be the strongest acids in the world, though it has been seen that the carborane super acids are even stronger than the fluorosyulfuric acids. They are a million times stronger than the concentrated sulphuric acid. One of the different parameter of the acid strength happens to be the super acids, which undergo the process of the release of the protons readily. Keeping the fact aside that the Carborane super acid is the strongest acid in the world, it is not highly corrosive in nature. The concept of corrosiveness arrives from the part of the acid which is negatively charged. When the proton has an interaction with the oxygen, the silicon atom is attacked by the fluoride ion in the silica glass.

How do they catalyse certain reactions?

The Strong Acids catalyse certain reactions with the help of the process called catalysis. Catalysis refers to the process, which involves the chemical reaction being accelerated by a catalyst. A catalyst refers to a substance, which helps in the speeding up the rate of a certain reaction, which does not involve the substance itself. There exist three types of catalysts and associated catalytic reaction, which are biocatalysts also known as enzymes, heterogeneous catalysts and homogeneous catalyst. The rate of the reaction tends to increase in the presence of a catalyst. A homogeneous catalyst refers to the one which shares the dispersal of the same phase of molecules as that of its reactant. On the other hand, a heterogeneous catalyst refers to the one which does not share the dispersal of the same phase of molecules as that of its reactant. They are mainly categorised as liquids or gases, which the solid catalyst absorbs. There exists a third category under which the other bio catalysts and enzymes are considered. There are a multiple chemical transformations, which involve the participation of a catalyst. The reaction product is provided with an alternative pathway of reaction which is done by the catalyst. The process of catalysis undergoes with the help of a mechanism which is as under.


Generally, the reaction of the catalysis takes place between one or more reactants, for the formation of the intermediates which give the product of the final reaction subsequently. The following is a reaction scheme, where C is the catalyst, P and Qrepresent the reactants and R represents the product of the reaction of P and Q.


P+C→PC                                          (1)
Q+PC→PQC                                     (2)
PQC→CR                                         (3)
CR→C+R                                         (4)


However, the reaction 1 consumes the catalyst, which is derived from reaction 4 in order to avoid its occurrence in the overall equation of the reaction.

P+Q→R

As a reaction generates a catalyst, it just needs small amounts in order to increase the rate of reaction. The presence of a catalyst is generally seen in the equation of rate, like the first step is the rate determining step, P+C→PC the catalysed reaction will be second order with the equation of rate r=kcat[P] [C], with which is the catalyst concentration proportionate to. However [C] remains constant in the reaction, in order to make the reaction, a pseudo-first order: r=kobs[P], where kobs = kcat[C].

In the elementary reaction of the catalysts, their extent of the reaction is not changed. They are not affected by the chemical equilibrium of the respective reaction. The reason behind the mechanism is that the rate of both the reverse as well as the forward reaction is affected. The catalyst helps in the stabilisation of the transition state over the stabilisation of the starting material. The kinetic barrier gets decreased due to the decrease of the difference in the energy between the transition state and the starting material. However, the energy between the products and the starting material or the energy which is available does not differ.


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