Why It Matters: Acid-Based Equilibria

Outline of Acid-Based Equilibria

  • Brønsted-Lowry Acids and Bases
  • pH and pOH
  • Relative Strengths of Acids and Bases
  • Hydrolysis of Salts
  • Polyprotic Acids
  • Buffers
  • Acid-Base Titrations
A photograph is shown of a pond formed in a sinkhole. Layers of limestone with trees and shrubs surround the murky green water of the pond.

Figure 1. Sinkholes such as this are the result of reactions between acidic groundwaters and basic rock formations, like limestone. (credit: modification of work by Emil Kehnel)

Liquid water is essential to life on our planet, and chemistry involving the characteristic ions of water, H+ and OH−, is widely encountered in nature and society. As introduced in another chapter of this text, acid-base chemistry involves the transfer of hydrogen ions from donors (acids) to acceptors (bases). These H+ transfer reactions are reversible, and the equilibria established by acid-base systems are essential aspects of phenomena ranging from sinkhole formation (Figure 1) to oxygen transport in the human body. This module will further explore acid-base chemistry with an emphasis on the equilibrium aspects of this important reaction class.