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Properties of acids – revision notes on a few properties of acids

In this post, we will discuss a few important properties of acids.

Acids react with metals

Acids react with metals that are above copper in the reactivity series to form a salt and hydrogen.

metal + acid → salt + hydrogen
For example, Zn + 2HCl → ZnCl2 + H2

Acids react with bases

Acids react with bases (such as metal oxides and hydroxides) to form a salt and water. These reactions are called neutralisations.
base + acid → salt + water

For example, when the black copper oxide is added to warm dilute nitric acid, the black solid disappears and a blue solution of copper nitrate forms.
copper oxide + nitric acid → copper nitrate + water
CuO + 2HNO3 → Cu(NO3)2 + H2O

Acids react with carbonates

Acids react with carbonates to give a salt plus carbon dioxide and water.
carbonate + acid → salt + CO2 + H2O

This explains why the sulfuric acid in acid rain ‘attacks’ buildings made of limestone (calcium carbonate).

calcium carbonate + sulfuric acid → calcium sulfate + carbon dioxide + water

CaCO3 + H2SO4 → CaSO4 + CO2 + H2O

Acid solutions conduct electricity and are decomposed by it

Their conducting property shows that solutions of acids contain ions. All acids produce hydrogen at the cathode during electrolysis. This suggests that all acids contain H+ ions.

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