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Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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Introduction of Acids

Have you ever wondered why lemons have such a strong sour flavor? Why does adding lime juice to milk cause it to spoil? It happens because of the acids in it. The Latin words acidus or acere, which imply "sour," were used to create the word acid. Water has a sour flavor due to the presence of acids. Now we'll go over the definitions and examples of acids in order to get a better understanding of them.

Definition of Acid

Acids and bases were first characterized by Arrhenius as substances that ionize to generate hydrogen and hydroxide ions, respectively.

A proton donor is an acid, while a proton acceptor is a base, according to the Lowry-Bronsted definition.

According to the Lewis definition, acids are molecules or ions that can coordinate with unshared electron pairs, while bases are molecules or ions that have unshared electron pairs that can be shared with acids. To be acidic in the Lewis sense, a molecule must be electron deficient. This is the most fundamental acid-base concept. Although all Lowery Bronstead acids are Lewis acids, the Lewis definition also includes boron trifluoride, aluminum chloride, and other reagents.

Uses of Acids

The following are the uses of acids.

  • Vinegar is a diluted acetic acid solution that can be used in a variety of ways in the house. It's mostly utilized in the food industry as a preservative.

  • Lemon and orange juice contain a significant amount of citric acid. It can also be used for food preservation.

  • In batteries, sulfuric acid is commonly utilized. This acid is commonly found in batteries used to start motor vehicles.

  • Sulfuric and nitric acid is used in the industrial production of explosives, dyes, paints, and fertilizers.

  • Many soft drinks contain phosphoric acid as the main ingredient.

What are The Examples of Acids?

Citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit contain acids. Citric acid is present in all of these fruits. Arrhenius acid, Hydrochloric acid, Sulfuric acid, Acetic acid, and Nitric acid are example acids.

Classification of Acids

Acids are mostly categorized according to their source, oxygen content, strength, concentration, and basicity.

Based on the Source

Here, the acids are classified on the basis of their source or origin. There are mainly two types of acids by this classification.

  • Organic Acid: This is the acid that comes from organic matter like plants and animals. The citric acid (from citrus fruits), acetic acid (from vinegar), oleic acid (from olive oil), and so on.

  • Mineral Acid: Mineral acid is procured from minerals. They are also known as inorganic acids. They do not contain carbon. For e.g. H2SO4, HCl, HNO3, etc.

Based on The Presence of Oxygen

Here, acids are categorized according to whether or not they contain oxygen. There are two kinds of these acids:

  • Oxy-acid: Oxy-acids are acids that contain oxygen in their composition. For e.g. H2SO4, HNO3, etc.

  • Hydracid: Hydric acids are those that consist of hydrogen combined with other elements and do not contain any oxygen in their composition. For e.g. HCl, HI, HBr, etc.

Based on the Strength of the acid

When acids react with H2O they form hydrogen ions, and the strength of an acid is determined by the number of hydrogen ions present in the solution. A higher number of hydrogen ions indicates that the acid is stronger, whereas a lower number indicates that the acid is weak. They're categorized as:

  • Strong Acids: A strong acid is one that can be totally or nearly completely dissociated in water. Sulphuric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, and other acids are examples.

  • Weak Acids: A weak acid is one that does not completely dissociate or dissociate very little in water. For example, citric acid, acetic acid, and other acids that humans commonly ingest on a regular basis

Based on its Concentration

The concentration of the acid is determined by the number of hydrogen ions it produces in water, as we saw earlier. As a result, the acid is categorized as:

  • Concentrated Acid: A concentrated acid is an aqueous solution with a comparatively high percentage of acid dissolved in it. Concentrated hydrochloric acid, concentrated sulphuric acid, concentrated nitric acid, and so on are examples of concentrated acids.

  • Diluted Acid: A dilute acid is an aqueous solution with a comparatively low amount of acid dissolved in it. Dilute hydrochloric acid, dilute sulphuric acid, dilute nitric acid, etc are examples.

Based on the Basicity of the Acid

When an acid dissociates in water, it creates a hydrogen ion. The basicity of an acid is determined by the number of hydrogen ions that can be replenished.

  • Monobasic Acid: An acid with only one hydrogen ion is known as a monobasic acid. As a result, these acids react with one of the base's hydroxyl groups to generate salt and water. For example, HCl, HCOOH, HBr, and so on.

  • Dibasic Acid: Dibasic acid is defined as a substance that has two hydroxyl groups. The dissociation of dibasic acid occurs in two phases. They can provide two types of salts: ordinary salt and hydrogen salt.

  • Tribasic Acid: Tribasic acids are those that have the ability to combine three hydroxyl groups. They have three hydrogen ions that can be replaced and form three different salts. For e.g. H3PO4.

Properties of Acids

Given below are the properties of acids.

  • Acids are naturally corrosive.

  • They are excellent electrical conductors.

  • The pH of acids is usually less than 7.

  • Phenolphthalein is converted from dark pink to colourless on treatment with acidic chemicals.

  • Acids produce hydrogen gas when they react with metals.

  • Acids have a sour taste.

  • The colour of blue litmus changes to red when it is exposed to acids.

  • The colour of Methyl Orange/Yellow is changed to pink when treated with acids.

  • When acids are mixed with alkalies, they lose their acidity.

  • When acids react with carbonates, as a result, carbon dioxide is produced.


Hence, here we have learned three definitions of acids. We have discussed important properties, uses, and different classifications of acids. Due to the properties of their aqueous solutions, acids are a unique class of substances.

Competitive Exams after 12th Science

FAQs on Acids

1. What is the importance of acid in the human body?

Within the human body, acids perform an important role. Hydrochloric acid aids digestion by breaking down large and complex food molecules in the stomach. Protein synthesis is required for the growth and repair of bodily tissues, and amino acids are required for this.

2. What are the uses of carbonic acid?

Soft drinks, artificially carbonated sparkling wines, and other bubbly beverages are all made with carbonic acid.  The two names for carbonic acid salts are Bicarbonates (or hydrogen carbonates) and carbonates.

3. Define acidic solution. Give examples.

Any aqueous solution with a pH less than 7.0 ( \[\left [ H^{+} \right ]\] > 1.0 x 10-7 M) is considered acidic. Examples of acidic solutions are Lemon juice, vinegar, 0.1 M HCl, or any concentration of acid in water.