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OCR A-level Chemistry Strong and weak acids

Strong and weak acids

This page covers the following topics:

Acids are solutions which act as a source of H⁺ ions. To be classified as a strong acid, the substance must completely dissociate into its ions in solution, represented by a single arrow in the reaction equation. Strong acids can be identified by their very low pH, usually below pH 1.

Strong acids

Weak acids only partially dissociate into its ions in solution, represented by a equilibrium arrow. Weak acids can be identified by their pH, usually between pH 3-5. Carboxylic acids are a great example of weak acids.

Weak acids

pH is a measure of the concentration of protons in a solution, shown in the equation below. The logarithmic relationship between pH and [H⁺] means that a change in proton concentration by a factor of 10 is equivalent to a change in pH of 1.

pH and concentration

There are many key terms used to describe an acid. An acid can be dilute or concentrated, describing the concentration of an acid in water. An acid can also be strong or weak, describing the ability of an acid to donate protons. This is distinguished using the acids pH.

Acid terms

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Do strong acids have a high or low concentration of H⁺ ions in solution?

OCR A-level Chemistry Strong and weak acids Do strong acids have a high or low concentration of H⁺ ions in solution?
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Calculate the pH of concentrated 2 M nitric acid correct to 1 decimal place.

OCR A-level Chemistry Strong and weak acids Calculate the pH of concentrated 2 M nitric acid correct to 1 decimal place.
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3

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What is the definition of a weak acid?

OCR A-level Chemistry Strong and weak acids What is the definition of a weak acid?
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4

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Is methanoic acid classified as a weak or strong acid?

OCR A-level Chemistry Strong and weak acids Is methanoic acid classified as a weak or strong acid?
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5

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What is the pH of stomach acid? Is this an example of a weak or strong acid?

OCR A-level Chemistry Strong and weak acids What is the pH of stomach acid? Is this an example of a weak or strong acid?
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