Chemistry » Acid-Base Equilibria » Brønsted-Lowry Acids and Bases

Summarizing Brønsted-lowry Acids and Bases

Key Concepts and Summary

A compound that can donate a proton (a hydrogen ion) to another compound is called a Brønsted-Lowry acid. The compound that accepts the proton is called a Brønsted-Lowry base. The species remaining after a Brønsted-Lowry acid has lost a proton is the conjugate base of the acid. The species formed when a Brønsted-Lowry base gains a proton is the conjugate acid of the base.

Thus, an acid-base reaction occurs when a proton is transferred from an acid to a base, with formation of the conjugate base of the reactant acid and formation of the conjugate acid of the reactant base. Amphiprotic species can act as both proton donors and proton acceptors. Water is the most important amphiprotic species. It can form both the hydronium ion, H3O+, and the hydroxide ion, OH when it undergoes autoionization:

\({\text{2H}}_{2}\text{O}\left(l\right)\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}⇌\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}{\text{H}}_{3}{\text{O}}^{+}\left(aq\right)+{\text{OH}}^{\text{−}}\left(aq\right)\)

The ion product of water, Kw is the equilibrium constant for the autoionization reaction:

\({K}_{\text{w}}=\left[{\text{H}}_{3}{\text{O}}^{\text{+}}\right]\left[{\text{OH}}^{\text{−}}\right]=1.0\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}×\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}1{0}^{-14}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{at}\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}25\phantom{\rule{0.2em}{0ex}}\text{°C}\)

Key Equations

  • Kw = [H3O+][OH] = 1.0 \(×\) 10−14 (at 25 °C)

Glossary

acid ionization

reaction involving the transfer of a proton from an acid to water, yielding hydronium ions and the conjugate base of the acid

amphiprotic

species that may either gain or lose a proton in a reaction

amphoteric

species that can act as either an acid or a base

autoionization

reaction between identical species yielding ionic products; for water, this reaction involves transfer of protons to yield hydronium and hydroxide ions

base ionization

reaction involving the transfer of a proton from water to a base, yielding hydroxide ions and the conjugate acid of the base

Brønsted-Lowry acid

proton donor

Brønsted-Lowry base

proton acceptor

conjugate acid

substance formed when a base gains a proton

conjugate base

substance formed when an acid loses a proton

ion-product constant for water (Kw)

equilibrium constant for the autoionization of water

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