chemistry of sulphuric(VI) acid

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Write an essay on the chemistry of sulphuric(VI) acid

Sulphuric(VI) acid is very important to our daily lives.  In this essay, four aspects of sulphuric(VI) acid, including its production, chemical properties, physical properties and uses will be discussed.

Basic information of sulphuric(VI) acid

The formula of sulphuric(VI) acid is H2SO4.  It is named because the oxidation state of sulphur is +6.  The diagram below shows the structure of a sulphuric(VI) acid molecule.

Sulphuric(VI) acid is a basic acid since each sulphuric(VI) acid molecule can dissociate to give two hydrogen ions.

   H2SO4(aq)  2H+(aq) + SO42-(aq)

Sulphuric(VI) acid is a strong acid since the sulphuric(VI) acid can ionize completely in water.

Production of sulphuric(VI) acid

Sulphuric(VI) acid can be produced industrially by Contact Process.

(a) Production and purification of sulphur dioxide

   Sulphur dioxide is produced by burning sulphur in air.

     S(s) + O2(g)  SO2(g)

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   Alternatively, sulphur dioxide can also be produced by roasting various metal sulphides in air as a part of their extraction process, for example:

   2ZnS(s) + 3O2(g)  2ZnO(s) + 2SO2(g)

   4FeS2(s) + 11O2(g)  2Fe2O3(s) + 8SO2(g)

   Sulphur dioxide obtained is purified to remove any impurities which may poison the catalyst in the reaction chamber.

(b) Conversion of sulphur dioxide to sulphur trioxide

   The purified sulphur dioxide is allowed to react with oxygen in the chamber containing vanadium(V) oxide as catalyst.  The temperature of the chamber is about 450°C and the pressure ...

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