Q:

How is sulfuric acid made?

A:

Quick Answer

Sulfuric acid is most commonly made by contact process, explains HowStuffWorks. Sulfur is burned to form sulfur dioxide, which is then further oxidized to sulfur trioxide. The sulfur trioxide is added to sulfuric acid to create disulfuric acid, which is then diluted with water to give the desired concentration of sulfuric acid.

Know More

Full Answer

In the contact process, sulfur is first combined with oxygen by burning them together to form sulfur dioxide. After purifying the sulfur dioxide formed, it is combined with excess oxygen under high temperatures in the presence of a catalyst, such as vanadium, to produce sulfur trioxide. While theoretically it is possible to dissolve sulfur trioxide in water to obtain sulfuric acid, it is impractical to apply in manufacturing the acid, as the reaction is exothermic and the heat released causes the acid to turn into a vapor, rather than collecting as a liquid. If sulfur trioxide is combined with water to produce sulfuric acid vapors, an additional condensation step is required to convert the vapors into liquid sulfuric acid. Instead of dissolving it in water, sulfur trioxide is combined with sulfuric acid to form oleum, which is also known as fuming sulfuric acid or disulfuric acid. Oleum reacts with water to produce sulfuric acid of the desired strength.

Learn More

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a sulfuric acid catalyst?

    A:

    A sulfuric acid catalyst is a chemical that speeds chemical reactions without being consumed. It is synthesized from sulfuric acid, which is a colorless, pungent and highly corrosive mineral acid. It is used in the manufacture of a wide variety of products, including cloth and plastics.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where is sulfuric acid on the pH scale?

    A:

    Sulfuric acid has a pH of 0.3 at a normality of 1 N, a pH of 1.2 at 0.1 N and a pH of 2.1 at 0.01 N. When using molar concentration, sulfuric acid has a pH of 2.75 at 1 millimole per liter, a pH of 1.87 at 10 millimoles per liter and a pH of 1.01 at 100 millimoles per liter.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What happens when you mix sulfuric acid and magnesium?

    A:

    Magnesium readily reacts with sulfuric acid and forms hydrogen gas bubbles and aqueous magnesium sulfate after the reactants are consumed. The easiest way to see this reaction is to take a test tube of sulfuric acid and drop a small ribbon of magnesium into the clear liquid. The reaction is exothermic, meaning heat is given off in addition to the hydrogen bubbles.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the pKa of sulfuric acid?

    A:

    The pKa of sulfuric acid is -3. This value corresponds to a Ka of 1.0 x 10^3 as the pKa is the negative logarithm of the Ka value. Sulfuric acid is considered a strong acid because the Ka is larger than 1.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore