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Question

Carbonic acid gives an acid salt but hydrochloric does not. Explain.

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Solution

Carbonic acid is a dibasic acid. One molecule of the acid forms two hydronium ions when ionised in water. As dibasic acids have two replaceable hydrogen atoms, they form two types of salts when reacted with a base. They are acid and normal salts.

Ionisation of carbonic acid:


H2CO3 + H2O H3O+ + HCO3-Carbonic acid Bicarbonate ionHCO3- + H2O H3O+ + CO32-Bicarbonate ion Carbonate ion

Reaction with base:

NaOH + H2CO3 NaHCO3 + H2O (Acid salt)2NaOH + H2CO3 Na2CO3 + H2O (Normal salt)

Hydrochloric acid is a monobasic acid. ‚ÄčOne molecule of the acid forms one hydronium ion when ionised in water. As monobasic acid has only one replaceable hydrogen atom, it forms only normal salt when reacted with a base.

Ionisation of hydrochloric acid:

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

Reaction with base:

NaOH + HCl NaCl + H2O (Normal salt)

Thus, carbonic acid gives an acid salt but hydrochloric acid does not.

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