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Author Topic: Reaction nomenclature of acid catalysts  (Read 1276 times)

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Fzang

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Reaction nomenclature of acid catalysts
« on: February 05, 2011, 11:56:54 PM »

When you need to use an acid catalyst in a reaction, when is it "suitable" to write either

H3O+, HCl, H+, H2SO4, etc etc etc...

To me it seems like you roll a dice and decide whether you want to write HCl sometimes or just H+. Is there any sense in this at all, besides "I use H2SO4 because obviously I need a strong acid."
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Fzang

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Re: Reaction nomenclature of acid catalysts
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2011, 09:56:14 AM »

So.. uh, *Ignore me, I am impatient*.
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justgladtobeme

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Re: Reaction nomenclature of acid catalysts
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2011, 03:47:48 PM »

It actually is important to distinguish between the acid catalyst.  It determines the other molecules in solution available for other reactions or as by-products.  For example:

H3O+ : Water that has been acidified; water available as base.
HCl : H+ source; H3O+ won't be present unless water is; Cl- anion available as weak base.
H+ : This designates any acid source, HCl, H2SO4, etc.
H2SO4 : See HCl.

So, writing H3O+ in a situation where only H+ is needed, and it would be detrimental to have H2O as a base in solution, would be incorrect.

Hope this helps.
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stewie griffin

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Re: Reaction nomenclature of acid catalysts
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2011, 02:20:50 AM »

If you used anhydrous acid (as jstgladtobeme points out), then your choice of acid should be clearly indicated.
For example, suppose you are doing a reaction in diethyl ether and you need some anhydrous acid. HCl is more soluble in diethyl ether than is H2SO4. So one would most likely choose HCl for their reaction, and that should be made clear.
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