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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 14 Issue 1 (2009) pp 16-18

A Raman Experiment exploring the Definition of a Strong Acid

Matthew D. Dutka, Aichun Dong, and Richard W. Schwenz*

School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80639,
Received March 15, 2008. Accepted July 14, 2008.

Published online: 2 February 2009

Abstract. Raman spectra of the “strong” acids HNO3, HClO4, and H2SO4 are collected and analyzed for high concentration solutions. The spectra display the presence of peaks corresponding to undissociated acid species in solution. Quantitatively, we can determine the equilibrium constant for these acids to be less than the infinite value expected for a completely dissociated species. We call for a revision to the conditions for a “strong” acid as being completely dissociated, to one having significant dissociation at a specific concentration (for example, 1 molar).

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; Raman

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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Issue date: February 2, 2009

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