Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Geochemistry

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 1-5

Date: Latest Version

Acid–Base Reactions

  • Carl O. MosesAffiliated withProvost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Grand View University Email author 

Acid–base concepts provide one of the most important and enduring foundations for correlating chemical reactivity. A general theory of acid–base reactivity has yet to be developed but, in fact, there may be little need in view of the utility of the various concepts that provide a framework for understanding and, in many cases, quantitatively accounting for or predicting chemical reactivity. Several such frameworks are available, but this entry focuses on two concepts that have contributed significantly to geochemistry: Brønsted-Lowry acidity and Lewis acidity. In addition to reactions in aqueous solution (the focus of this entry), both Brønsted-Lowry and Lewis acid–base reactions occur at the interface between mineral surfaces and aqueous solutions. Surface acidity and the consequent formation of surface complexes constitute a very active area of current research (see “Surface Geochemistry”), owing to the fundamental importance of acid–base reactivity in explaining and correlating proc ...

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