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Sulphuric Acid Formula

Last updated date: 29th Feb 2024
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Introduction to the King of Chemicals

Sulphuric acid is the most common acid that is used in various chemical experiments. It is a strong inorganic acid. The chemical formula of sulphuric acid is \[H_{2}SO_{4}\]. The molecular formula of sulphuric acid has 2 hydrogen atoms, 1 sulfur atom, and 4 oxygen atoms. The basic concepts related to sulfuric acid, sulfuric acid formula, sulphuric acid molecular formula, the formula of dilute sulphuric acid, structure, chemical properties, and uses of acid, are discussed here, for your reference. 

Sulphuric acid is an oily, odorless liquid, often known as sulfuric acid or \[H_{2}SO_{4}\]. It's also highly corrosive. It has been dubbed the 'King of Chemicals' due to its extensive range of applications. We can also find it in both a combined and a free state.

The acid's boiling point is 611 K. Because of hydrogen bonding; this molecule has a more unique boiling point and thickness.


Molecular Formula of Sulfuric Acid

As we discussed above, the sulphuric acid molecular formula is \[H_{2}SO_{4}\]. It has one Hydrogen atom, one sulphur, and four oxygen atoms attached to the sulphur atom. Its molecular weight is 98.079 g/mol. According to the VSEPR Theory, They are arranged in such a way that there is minimum repulsion between lone pairs and bond pairs. It is an oxoacid of sulfur. Two oxygen atoms are attached to the sulphur through the double bonds. Two hydroxyl groups are attached via single bonds. The structure of Sulphuric acid is shown below:


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As we can see in the structure, There are two hydrogen atoms attached to the Oxygen atoms. These two hydrogen atoms are mobilizable. Which means they can be removed easily. So, It is a diprotic acid. This is the reason for sulphuric acid being the strongest inorganic acid.

Concentrated Sulphuric acid is corrosive and extremely harmful. So, water is mixed to it to lower the concentration. This is known as dilute sulphuric acid. Dilute sulfuric acid formula has the same formula as Concentrated acid. It only differs in concentration. This powerful chemical combines violently with water, creating a lot of heat. As a result, you should never mix \[H_{2}SO_{4}\] with water. Instead, slowly add the acid to the water while stirring constantly.

Chemical Properties

  • Sulfuric acid is a dibasic acid with a high molecular weight. It's also diprotic, ionising in two steps in an aqueous solution.

  • This substance is very corrosive, reactive, and water-soluble. It has high oxidizing power, making it a powerful oxidising agent.

  • It has a low level of volatility. As a result, it aids in the synthesis of more volatile acids from their contrasting salts.

  • As a result, this chemical is utilized to dry a variety of wet gases that do not react with acid.

  • It also removes water from natural mixtures such as starches.

  • It can oxidize both nonmetals and metals because it is a good oxidising agent. Furthermore, it decomposes into sulphur dioxide.


Preparation of Sulphuric Acid:

  • Contact Process

When one mole of Sulphur trioxide is made to react with water, One mole of sulphuric acid is formed. This is the commercial method known as the Contact process. Vanadium Oxide is used as a catalyst in this reaction.

\[SO_{3} + H_{2}O \rightarrow H_{2}SO_{4}\]

  • Lead Chamber Process

One of the most prevalent manufacturing procedures is the lead Chamber process. It yields between 50 and 60 B-grade acids. We employ moist SO2 in the presence of nitrogenous oxides in this process (dynamic impetus). As a result, it reacts with oxygen in the air, forming sulphur trioxide. This reaction is denoted by

\[2SO_{2} + O_{2} \rightarrow 2SO_{3}\].

Sulphur trioxide is then allowed to react with water to produce \[H_{2}SO_{4}\]. This reaction is denoted by

\[SO_{3}  +   H_{2}O   \rightarrow    H_{2}SO_{4}\]


Uses of Sulphuric Acid

  • It is extensively used in laboratories, petroleum refineries, and wastewater processing. 

  • It is used in the formation of numerous compounds that are industrially beneficial. It is used in dyes, paints, explosives, and detergents. It is also used as an electrolyte in electrochemical cells and batteries.

  • It's a common chemical used in explosives production. TNT, for example. Sulfuric acid is required for the presence of other critical compounds. We can't get these chemicals without sulfuric acid,  hydrochloric, phosphoric, and nitric acids, for example. It is also required for the production of sodium carbonate.

  • We use it as part of the petroleum refining process.

  • It has a pickling effect.

  • Sulphuric acid is used in agriculture, notably in the fertiliser sector, for around half of the world's supply. Sulphuric acid is used in the production of phosphate fertilisers


So, here we learned the formula of Sulphuric Acid, its structure, preparation, and common uses. The contact process is used to prepare this acid in the laboratories. Sulphuric acid is a strong acid, and it is widely used in laboratories for the syntheses of various compounds. Hence, it is one of the most fundamental topics to learn, in Chemistry.

FAQs on Sulphuric Acid Formula

Why is Sulphuric Acid Known as the King of Chemicals?

Sulphuric acid is known as the king of chemicals because it is among the most common acids and is used in a huge number of chemical preparations. It is used in the preparation of drugs, chemicals, pigments, dyes, medicines. It has oxidizing properties. So, it is used as an electrolyte in lead batteries.

Is Sulphuric Acid Dangerous?

Yes, it is dangerous in nature. It is very harmful to the skin, flesh, eyes, teeth, and lungs. It is corrosive in nature. It should be used with caution in laboratories. Continuous exposure to it may cause health issues in long run. It is advisable to put on a lab coat, safety glasses, gloves while using it.

What are the steps that make up the Contact Process?

The steps that make up the Contact Process are:

  • Heating sulphur or sulphide ores produces sulphur dioxide. For example, iron pyrites have been exposed to an excess of air.

  • Then, using V2O5 as a catalyst, sulphur dioxide is oxidised with ambient oxygen to produce sulphur trioxide.

  • The sulphur trioxide is then broken down into 98 percent sulfuric acid to produce oleum. Pyrosulfuric acid is another name for oleum. The oleum is then diluted with water to achieve the necessary sulfuric acid concentration.

What is the best way to neutralise sulfuric acid?

Pour baking soda immediately into an acid spill. Light acids like vinegar, as well as dangerous, powerful acids like nitric and sulphuric acids, will be neutralised by this method. To neutralise the acid, cover the entire contaminated area with baking soda chemically called sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3. When sulfuric acid is combined with a base, the two will neutralise each other, just like vinegar and baking soda. A neutralisation reaction is a name for this type of reaction.

What tests are carried out on dilute sulphuric acid?

The tests that are carried out on dilute sulphuric acid are:

  • Test for Barium Chloride:

When barium chloride is mixed with dilute H2SO4, it forms a white precipitate of barium sulphate (BaSO4 and hydrochloric acid (HCL).

BaCl2 + H2SO4 \rightarrow BaSO4 + 4HCl

  • Test for Lead Nitrate:

When lead nitrate is mixed with dilute H2SO4, it forms a white precipitate of lead sulphate (PbSO4) and nitric acid (HNO3).

Pb(NO3)2 + H2SO4 PbSO4 + 2HNO3

What kind of tests are done on concentrated sulphuric acid?

Test done on concentrated sulphuric acid are:

  • Copper Addition

Copper is oxidized to copper sulphate by concentrated sulphuric acid.

Cu + 2H2SO4  CuSO4 + SO2 + H2O

  • Common Salt

When common salt (sodium chloride) is introduced to concentrated sulphuric acid, hydrogen chloride, a colorless, pungent-smelling acid gas, is produced.

NaCl + H2SO4  NaHSO4 + HCl

What is the purpose of the pickling agent?

Acid immersion cleaning is a method of cleaning metal surfaces. By eliminating undesirable oxides from the metal surface, it improves the adhesion of porcelain to the metal surface. Pickling is a jewelry-making procedure for removing the copper oxide layer formed when copper and sterling silver are heated during soldering and annealing. Brass is pickled in intense sulfuric and nitric acid combined with sodium chloride and soot, whereas most copper alloys are pickled in dilute sulfuric acid. If you want more such content, make sure to download the Vedantu App. All the contents have been developed by experts that are easy to understand.