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A sorta dumb chemistry question

Peter PrinciplePeter Principle Registered User regular
edited October 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Why is it that different acids react differently with different materials, when it is the dissociating H+ that is causing the reaction? Whether the H+ comes from H2SO4, or HNO3, or an HF, it's still an H+ in solution.

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  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Why is it that different acids react differently with different materials, when it is the dissociating H+ that is causing the reaction? Whether the H+ comes from H2SO4, or HNO3, or an HF, it's still an H+ in solution.
    You are asking a complicated question. In a reaction, a typical "acid" can act as a base when combined with a compound that is a stronger acid (we are going off pKa values here). You need to follow the flow of electrons. Know that electrophiles and nucleophiles (also Lewis acid definitions, think of your compounds as electron donors or electron acceptors) are far better definitions than Lowry-bronstead definitions.
    I'd need more info to answer this more succintly. :P

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