Conjugate acids and bases | Summary and Q&A

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September 8, 2009
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Conjugate acids and bases

TL;DR

This analysis explains acid-base reactions and conjugate pairs, highlighting the differences between weak and strong acids and bases.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the difference between weak acids and strong acids in terms of their conjugate bases?

Conjugate bases of strong acids are neutral and have no impact on the pH of a solution. Conjugate bases of weak acids, however, are weak bases and can increase the concentration of hydroxide ions, making the solution more basic.

Q: How does the disassociation of weak bases differ from that of weak acids?

Weak bases disassociate by gaining hydrogen ions from the surrounding medium. This forms a conjugate acid and increases the concentration of hydronium ions (H3O+). Weak acids, on the other hand, disassociate by losing a hydrogen ion, forming a conjugate base.

Q: Can you provide an example of a strong acid and its conjugate base?

Hydrogen chloride (HCl) is a strong acid, and its conjugate base is the chloride ion (Cl-). The conjugate base does not impact the pH of a solution since it is neutral.

Q: How does the pH of a solution change when a weak acid is present?

Weak acids can disassociate and increase the concentration of hydronium ions, making the solution more acidic and lowering the pH. The conjugate base of a weak acid is a weak base and can increase the concentration of hydroxide ions, making the solution more basic and increasing the pH.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Acidic and basic reactions involve the disassociation of weak acids or the formation of weak bases in aqueous solutions.

  • When weak acids disassociate, they produce hydrogen ions (H+) and create a conjugate base. Similarly, when weak bases react, they gain hydrogen ions and form a conjugate acid.

  • Strong acids have conjugate bases that are neutral, while weak acids have conjugate bases that are weak bases and can increase the concentration of hydroxide ions (OH-) in solution.

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