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Topic: Electrical conductivity of a solution  (Read 6138 times)

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Offline Rutherford

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Electrical conductivity of a solution
« on: April 15, 2012, 07:53:07 AM »
Why the electrical conductivity of a H2SO4 solution, after increasing the concentration of H2SO4, first increases and then decreases?
H2SO4 :rarrow: 2H++SO42-
When the concentration of H2SO4 increaces, the concentration of the ions increases too, but why does the electrical conductivity decrease if the concentration of H2SO4 keeps increasing?

Offline Arkcon

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 08:00:51 AM »
The arrow you used only points one way.  Does that describe what really happens?
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline Rutherford

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 08:20:01 AM »
But H2SO4 is a strong acid. If I add more H2SO4 more ions will be produced and the electrical conductivity raises, I think.

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 09:19:47 AM »
But H2SO4 is a strong acid.

How strong? What about HSO4-?
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Offline Rutherford

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 09:31:27 AM »
Ok, then:
H2SO4:rarrow: HSO4-+H+
HSO4-::equil:: SO42-+H+
Is this the solution: if I add more H2SO4 more H+ ions are produced so they shift the 2nd reaction to left?

Offline Arkcon

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2012, 09:53:55 AM »
Yes.  Does pure H2SO4 conduct electricity?  Is it an ionic compound?
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.

Offline Rutherford

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2012, 11:52:14 AM »
It shouldn't, but I suppose that the electrical conductivity decrease is very small. Thank you both for help.

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2012, 03:48:06 PM »
Be ready for a surprise. Pure sulfuric acid is amphiprotic:

2H2SO4 <-> HSO4- + H3SO4+

Ionic product for this reaction is defined as

K = [HSO4-][H3SO4+]

and not that small. With pK=2.9 pure acid must be quite ionized.
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Offline Rutherford

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2012, 04:43:53 PM »
Wow, never heard about that. So there are HSO4-,SO42-,H+ and H3SO4+ ions in the solution and 3 reactions are occuring.

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 05:01:56 PM »
When you add water it is water that gets protonated, you will not see H3SO4+ in the solution, but in pure acid.
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Offline Rutherford

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2012, 03:56:49 AM »
And what would happen with the electrical conductivity if I used HCl? Same as H2SO4?

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2012, 04:17:47 AM »
Is HCl a diprotic acid? Can HCl be obtained as a pure acid (not as a water solution)?
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Offline Rutherford

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2012, 05:03:49 AM »
I think it can be obtained. Isn't diprotic, so the electrical conductivity should always increase?

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2012, 06:06:35 AM »
I think it can be obtained.

Don't think - check. This is one of a basic properties of the hydrochloric acid.

Quote
Isn't diprotic, so the electrical conductivity should always increase?

Diproticity is only a part of the problem, I mentioned it just to show you you can't directly compare both acids.

Initially the more concentrated the sulfuric acid, the more ions in the solution, so the lower the resistance. However, once concentration of water in acid gets low, amount of ions gets lower as well, so the conductivity falls and resistance goes up.

Now check how concentrated HCl gets and try to apply similar reasoning - will it work?
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Offline Rutherford

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Re: Electrical conductivity of a solution
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2012, 06:20:26 AM »
The more concentrated HCl is, the more ions in the solution are (bigger conductivity). You said that pure HCl can't be obtained, so the conductivity would increase to a level, then after increasing the concentration of HCl it should start to decrease (because there are less ions) and then it remains at a point (because pure HCl can't be obtained). Correct?
Why pure HCl doesn't exist? If there is no water, HCl won't dissociate and I thought that it should exist. But HCl is initially a gass, so it needs to be dissolved in water to make the acid. Is this the reason?

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