Organic Chemistry/Foundational concepts of organic chemistry/Acids and bases/Proton donors and acceptors

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The first and earliest definition of acids and bases was proposed in the 1800's by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius, who said that an acid was anything that dissolved in water to give up H+ ions,Such as hydrochloric acid and a base was anything that dissolved in water to give up OH- ions such a sodium hydroxide.

The Brønsted-Lowry definiton of 1923 broadened this idea a bit:

an acid is any proton donor, and a base is any proton acceptor.

The focus of this definition is on donating and accepting protons, and is not limited to aqueous solution.

The Brønsted-Lowry definiton of acids and bases is one of two definitions we commonly use. The second definition deals not with protons but with electrons, and has a slightly different emphasis.


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