Arrhenius Concept of Acid and Base

According to this concept, An acid is a substance which gives hydrogen ion when dissolved in water  and a base is a substance which gives hydroxyl ions when dissolved in water.

For example, HCL, H2SO4, HNO3 are acids.

$$\ce{HCL + Water (aq) -> H^+ (aq) + Cl^- (aq)}$$

$$\ce{H2SO4 + Water (aq) -> 2H^+ (aq)  + SO4^-2 (aq)}$$

$$\ce{HNO3 + Water (aq) -> H^+(aq)  + NO3^- (aq)}$$

While, NaOH, KOH, NH4OH are bases.

$$\ce{NaOH + Water (aq) -> Na^+  + OH^-}$$

$$\ce{KOH + Water (aq)   -> Na^+  + OH^-}$$

$$\ce{NH4OH + Water (aq)  <=> Na^+  + OH^-}$$


Salt:  According to  Arrhenius concept, a salt is a substance which gives cation other than hydrogen and anion other that hydroxide OH.  And the neutralization reaction is one in which hydrogen ion from acid combine with hydroxide ion from base to give salt and water. Example:

$$\ce{NaOH + HCl ->NaCl  + H2O}$$

Limitations of Arrhenius concept of acid and base:

  • This concept is applicable to aqueous medium only.
  • It cannot explain the acidic and basic nature of non-metallic oxides like CO2, SO3 and basic nature of metallic oxide like  BF3, ALCl3, FeCl3 etc.
  • It cannot explain the nature of hydrogen ions in aqueous medium.

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