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HCl acid ionization in water

  1. Mar 6, 2014 #1
    The bonds between H and Cl are strong, almost close to ionic, right? Thus if that is the case why does HCl readily ionize into H+ and Cl- upon contact with water? It doesn't make sense that such a strongly bonded compound should completely disassociate upon contact with water. Further, why does HF, another strongly bonded compound, not do the same thus making it a weak acid?

    On a similar note, why does NaCl do the same? Na and Cl are very strongly ionically bonded, requiring lots of energy to break apart the bond. Yet on contact with water, they easily disassociate. Interactions between the Na, Cl, and the H2O dipole don't seem like they have enough energy to break it apart.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Mar 7, 2014 #3


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    You should also take in mind that in the process of hydrolysis of an acid there is a new and very strong covalent bond being formed namely between H and O in ##\mathrm{H_3O^+}##.
  5. Mar 8, 2014 #4
    HCl is covalent.
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