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Question

Anhydrous hydrogen chloride is not an acid but its aqueous solution is a strong acid. Explain.

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Solution

Anhydrous hydrogen chloride is in gaseous state at room temperature; therefore, it cannot dissociate to form H3O+ and Cl ions. But when this gaseous hydrogen chloride is dissolved in water, it becomes hydrochloric acid. On dissolution in water, it dissociates completely to form hydronium (H3O+) and chloride (Cl-) ions. Thus, it is considered a strong acid.

HCl + H2O H3O+ + Cl-Hydrochloric Water Hydronium ion Chloride ion acid

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