Electronic Structure in Aqueous Acid—Base Chemistry

  • William B. Guenther


Modern theory supports the view that chemical change in matter is the process of rearrangement of negative electron clouds and positive atomic kernels to form a more stable mutual relation. The lightest element, hydrogen, is unique. All others retain a core of inner electrons throughout their reactions. But the core of hydrogen is only a proton. It is about 10−5 the diameter of the lithium ion Li+. Thus, the special ion H+ has exceptionally high positive charge density, the charge per unit volume. It associates with electron clouds in any matter available. Other ions, like the Li+, can exist as entities in some crystal lattices, while no substances contain H+ as a separate entity or ion unit. It is important to be clear from the start about the vastly different species formed by hydrogen (Figure 1-1). When we speak of hydrogen ion and hydrogen compounds, we shall almost always mean the proton contained in an electron pair cloud as shown in the H3O+ scheme in Figure 1-1. For a full discussion of evidence and the unique features of proton chemistry see Chapter 5 in the book by Bockris and Reddy.1


Cloud Attraction Electron Cloud Potassium Bicarbonate Tangent Sphere Trisodium Phosphate 
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  1. 1.
    J. O. Bockris and A. K. N. Reddy, Modern Electrochemistry, Plenum Press, New York, 1970, Vol. 1, Chapter 5, “Protons in Solution”.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. E. Huheey, Inorganic Chemistry, Harper and Row, New York, 1972, Chapter 6.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    G. M. Barrow, General Chemistry, Wadsworth Publishing Co., Belmont, California, 1972, Chapters 7 and 11, “Structure” and “Equilibria.”Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Henry A. Bent, The Second Law, Oxford University Press, New York, 1965, Chapter 32, “Thermodynamics of Acid—Base Reactions.”Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • William B. Guenther
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryThe University of the SouthSewaneeUSA

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