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Acids, bases and metals

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Naming salts

A salt is always made when an acid is neutralised by a base. But the exact salt made depends upon which acid and base were used.

The name of a salt has two parts:

  • the first part comes from the metal in the base used
  • the second part comes from the acid that was used

Example

Where does the name potassium nitrate come from?

The potassium comes from a base containing potassium such as potassium hydroxide. The nitrate comes from nitric acid.

These are the rules for the second part of the name of a salt:

Acid used Second part of salt's name
hydrochloric acid chloride
sulphuric acid sulphate
nitric acid nitrate

Example: copper sulphate

copper sulfate crystal

Copper sulfate crystal

How can we make copper sulphate? The first part of the name is 'copper', so we need a base containing copper. We could use copper oxide or copper carbonate, for example. The second part of the name is 'sulphate', so we need to use sulphuric acid.

Here are word equations for those reactions.

copper oxide + sulphuric acidcopper sulphate + water

copper carbonate + sulphuric acidcopper sulphate + water + carbon dioxide

Example: sodium chloride

How can we make sodium chloride? The first part of the name is 'sodium', so we need a base containing sodium. We could use sodium hydroxide or sodium hydrogen carbonate, for example. The second part of the name is 'chloride', so we need to use hydrochloric acid.

Here are word equations for those reactions.

sodium hydroxide + hydrochloric acidsodium chloride + water

sodium hydrogen carbonate + hydrochloric acidsodium chloride + water + carbon dioxide

It would be very difficult to neutralise the acid in these reactions perfectly exactly. Some acid or base would be left over. So it would not be safe to taste the sodium chloride solution produced.

Activity

Acids, bases and metals activity

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