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Properties of sulphuric Acid (H2SO4)

sulphuric acid is a diprotic acid (can donate 2 protons to a base) sulphuric acid ionises in water in two stages: H2SO4(l) + H2O(l) -----> HSO4-(aq) + H3O+(aq) HSO4-(aq) + H2O(l) SO42-(aq) + H3O+(aq)

sulphuric acid is a strong acid (complete dissociation in water, Ka approaches infinity) sulphuric acid reactions: sulphuric acid + metal -----> metal sulfate + hydrogen gas sulphuric acid + carbonate -----> metal sulfate + carbon dioxide gas + water sulphuric acid + base -----> salt + water sulphuric acid + ammonia -----> ammonium sulfate

sulphuric acid can take part in redox reactions.

Uses of sulphuric Acid (H2SO4)


sulphuric acid is the electrolyte used in lead-acid batteries (accumulators) sulphuric acid is important in the production of fertilizers such as ammonium sulfate (sulfate of ammonia), (NH4)2SO4, and superphosphate, Ca(H2PO4)2, which is formed when rock phosphate is treated with sulphuric acid. sulphuric acid is used to remove oxides from iron and steel before galvanising or electroplating Concentrated sulphuric acid (18M) is used as a dehydrating agent, that is, to remove water, since it has a tendency to form hydrates such as H2SO4.H2O, H2SO4.2H2O, etc. sulphuric acid is often used to dry neutral and acidic gases such as N2, O2, CO2 and SO2 sulphuric acid will "suck" water out of carbohydrates and some other organic compounds which contain oxygen and hydrogen. For example,sulphuric acid will "suck" water out of sucrose, C12H22O11(s), (cane sugar) to produce a spongy mass of carbon: C12H22O11(s) + 11H2SO4 -----> 12C(s) + 11H2SO4.H2O

sulphuric acid is used in the production of nitroglycerine, an inorganic ester & organic nitrate, which is used as an explosive but can also be used as a vasodilator, a substance that dilates blood vessels and can be used in the treatment of certain types of heart disease: CH2ONO2 | CHONO2 | CH2ONO2

Manufacture of Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4)


Most of the sulfuric acid manufactured is produced using the Contact Process.
Combustion Chamber (combustion of --> sulphur ) Converter (conversion of sulphur dioxide) Absorption Tower Hydration of Oleum (sulphur trioxide --> --> to produce sulfuric absorbed acid into the sulfuric acid mist

The Contact Process is a process involving the catalytic oxidation of sulfur dioxide, SO2, to sulfur trioxide, SO3. I. Solid sulphur , S(s), is burned in air to form sulphur dioxide gas, SO2 S(s) + O2(g) -----> SO2(g) II. III. The gases are mixed with more air then cleaned by electrostatic precipitation to remove any particulate matter The mixture of sulphur dioxide and air is heated to 450oC and subjected to a pressure of 101.3 - 202.6 kPa (1 -2 atmospheres) in the presence of a vanadium catalyst (vanadium (V) oxide) to produce sulphur trioxide, SO3(g), with a yield of 98%. 2SO2(g) + O2(g) -----> 2SO3(g) IV. V. Any unreacted gases from the above reaction are recylced back into the above reaction suphur trioxide, SO3(g) is dissolved in 98% (18M) sulfuric acid, H2SO4, to produce disulfuric acid or pyrosulfuric acid, also known as fuming sulfuric acid or oleum, H2S2O7. SO3(g) + H2SO4 ------> H2S2O7 This is done because when water is added directly to sulphur trioxide to produce sulfuric acid

SO3(g) + H2O(l) -----> H2SO4(l) the reaction is slow and tends to form a mist in which the particles refuse to coalesce. VI. Water is added to the disulfuric acid, H2S2O7, to produce sulfuric acid, H2SO4 H2S2O7(l) + H2O(l) -----> 2H2SO4(l) The oxidation of sulphursulphursulphur dioxide to sulphur trioxide in step III above is an exothermic reaction (energy is released), so by Le Chatelier's Principle, higher temperatures will force the equilibrium position to shift to the left hand side of the equation favouring the production of dioxide. Lower temperatures would favour the production of the product trioxide and result in a higher yield. However, the rate of reaching equilibrium at the lower temperatures is extremely low. A higher temperature means equilibrium is established more rapidly but the yield of sulphur trioxide is lower. A temperature of 450oC is a compromise whereby a faster reaction rate results in a slightly lower yield. Similarly, at higher pressures, the equilibrium position shifts to the side of the equation in which there are the least numbers of gaseous molecules. 2SO2(g) + O2(g) -----> 2SO3 On the left hand side of the reaction there are 3 moles of gaseous reactants, and the right hand side there are 2 moles of gaseous products, so higher pressure favours the right hand side, by Le Chatelier's Principle. Higher pressure results in a higher yield of sulfur trioxide. A vanadium catalyst (vanadium (V) oxide) is also used in this reaction in order to speed up the rate of the reaction.