Sulfuric Acid

Sulfuric acid has the formula of H2SO4. Sulfuric acid is the most important sulfur compound and one of the largest volume industrial chemicals. To produce it by the method known as contact process or solvay process, sulfur is first burned in air to yield sulfur dioxide SO2. The subsequent oxidation of SO2, is slow reaction, therefore a catalytic surface made of platinum or vanadium pentoxide is required. Sulfur trioxide reacts with water to yield sulfuric acid, because the oxide reacts with water to yield sulfuric acid; because the direct reaction of SO2 and water produces a mist of H2SO4 that is difficult to condense, the final stage of production takes place in two steps, SO2 is first dissolved in H2SO4 to produce pyrosulfuric acid; H2SO4, then sulfuric acid is produced by subsequent dilution of H2S2O2 with water:

SO2 + H2SO4 → H2S2O2
H2S2O2 + H2O → 2 H2SO4

Pure sulfuric acid, a colorless oily liquid, is an extremely powerful dehydrating agent. When concentrated sulfuric acid is added to water, much heat is evolved as the acid ionized in two steps:

H2SO4 → H+ + HSO4-
HSO4- → H+ + SO4-

Because the first step is complete, sulfuric acid is strong acid (chemical rules). Hot concentrated sulfuric acid is an oxidizing agent of sufficient strength to dissolve event such metal as copper. Dilute sulfuric acid behave as a normal acid.

Large quantities of sulfuric acid are used in the manufacture of fertilizers (superphosphates), paint (titanium dioxide), synthetic fibers (rayon and plastics), detergent (alkylaryl sulphonates), organic chemicals (dyestuff, explosives and drugs), and other acids (hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids). It is also used in lead acid batteries and in extraction of alkenes in gasoline refining.

Sulfuric acid is used in many purpose and almost all large industy use this chemical. Fiber industry, paper industry, electroplating industry, anodizing industry, adhesive industry, glass industry, plastic industry and many others.


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