Using Chemical Reactions To Make Salt


The reaction between an acid and a base is called Neutralisation. This is exactly how indigestion medicines works – it contain chemicals that react with and neutralise excess stomach acid. Industry uses this same method to produce a wide range of salts and products.

Here’s how neutralisation works:

Acidic solutions contain hydrogen (H+) ions.
Alkaline solutions contain hydroxide (OH) ions.

Here’s the word equation for a reaction between an acid and an alkali:

Acid + alkali → salt + water

The ionic equation for all neutralisation reactions is:

H+(aq) + OH(aq) → H2O(l)

The type of salt that is produced during the reaction depends on the acid and alkali used.

Acids, Alkalis and the Salts they Produce

Neutralising hydrochloric acid produces chloride salts.

Hydrochloric acid + sodium hydroxide → sodium chloride + water

Neutralising nitric acids produces nitrate salts.

Nitric acid + potassium hydroxide → potassium nitrate + water.

Neutralising sulphuric acid produces sulphate salts.

Sulphuric acid + sodium hydroxide → sodium sulphate + water.

Making Salts from Metal Oxides

Metal Oxides can also be used as bases and be reacted with acids to make salts and water.

Here’s word equation for a reaction between an acid and a metal base:

Metal oxide + acid → salt + water

For example:
Copper Oxide (CuO) + hydrochloric acid (2HCl) → copper chloride (CuCl2) + water (H20)

While fairly reactive metals can be reacted with acids to form salt and hydrogen, salts of very unreactive metals, such as copper, cannot be made this way because these metals do not react with acids.

And salts of very reactive metals, such as sodium, cannot be made this way because the reaction between the metal and the acid is too vigorous to be carried out safely.

Making Salt from Precipitation Reactions

Some insoluble salts can be made from the reaction between two solutions. Barium sulphate is an insoluble salt. It can be made by the reaction between solutions of barium chloride and sodium sulphate.
For example:
Barium chloride + Sodium Sulphate → barium sulphate + sodium chloride

Precipitation reactions can be used to remove unwanted ions from solutions. This technique is used to treat drinking water and treat effluent.

Making Salts from Metal Carbonates

Acids can be neutralised by metal carbonates to form salts. Most metal carbonates are insoluble, so they are bases, but they are not alkalis.

When acids are neutralised by metal carbonates, a salt, water and carbon dioxide are produced. This means that rocks, such as limestone, that contain carbonate compounds are damaged by acid rain.

Here’s the word equation of the reaction:

Metal carbonate + acid → salt + water + carbon dioxide

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