Acids are substances that produce hydrogen ions as they dissociate with water. As some compounds dissociate in aqueous solution, hydrogen ions are produced, giving them an acidic character. The release of the H+ ion in water determines whether a compound is acidic or non-acidic.
- HCl → H+ + Cl–
- HNO3 → H+ + NO3–
While compounds like glucose and alcohol contain hydrogen, they do not have an acidic nature. The hydrogen in them does not separate as easily as the hydrogen in acids. When they dissolve in water, they will not separate into hydrogen ions.
Activity to prove alcohols and glucose also contain hydrogen but are not categorized as acids
Take samples of alcohol, glucose and hydrochloric acid. Take a 100 mL Beaker and take a fork and fix the nails. Place the cork inside the beaker and connect the nails to two terminals of a 6-volt battery through a bulb and a switch. Add some hydrochloric acid to the beaker and on the current. Repeat the procedure with alcohol and glucose.
- In the case of acid, the bulb will glow
- In the case of alcohol and glucose, it does not glow
Since ions carry the electric current through the solution, the above conclusion can be made. Acid ionizes to give H+ ions in an aqueous medium but glucose and alcohol do not furnish H+ ions even though they contain hydrogen atoms.