Basic question on ionic compounds.

I am studying chemistry for the first time, without any sort of tutelage. My main source of knowledge is an anatomy and physiology textbook (Only one chapter is made up of pure chemistry).

So far, the book has covered chemical bonds, the atoms and molecules found in the body, the make up of an atom, and other fairly basic information. I tend to be fairly pedantic so I've been unable to proceed with my reading of the text because I can't quite rationalise ionic compounds.

For example, I can't understand

"HCl + KOH --> H+ + Cl- + K+ + OH- --> KCl + H20(WATER)"

^That is in relation to acids, bases and salts, as I guess is obvious. The book tells of how acids are comprised of dissociated H+ and another anion. However, I'm simply unaware of how a cation is created. Also, how compounds (HCO3- [bicarbonate ion] for example) are formed.

I hope this makes sense, and thanks for replying to such a fairly basic question in advance.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I would suggest investing in

I would suggest investing in a good chemistry book or at least borrowing one from the library; anatomy and physiology textbooks (and geology and astronomy texts also) were never designed to explain chemistry; this is sort of like trying to tune your car with a butterknife. You can't expect to get good results. The number of protons determines the number of electrons in a neutral atom; however the electrons arrange themselves according to a set of patterns. Some patterns eg 0, 2, and 10 are inherently more stable than others; 1 and 3 are not. Therefore, H (1) tries to get rid of its useless electron becoming H+ in the process; Li (3) chucks an electron and achieves the state of grace at 2 becoming Li+ in the process. That is how cations are formed. Anions achieve electronic grace by accepting indigent electrons thus F (9) needs only one more electron to achieve the state of grace of neon (10) by becoming F-. Carbon (6) could give up 4 to go down to 2 and become C+4 or could accept 4 to go up to 10 and become C-4; Since carbon is totally bi, it can go either way and often does some kinky things (organic chemistry) with as many as 4 partners at once. If C+4 has 4 electrons to get rid of, O (8) is only looking for 2. Thus, CO really leaves C unfulfilled, so it often goes in a two-way with another O becoming CO2; that explains why carbon monoxide is a reducing agent. In a threeway however, one O is still unsatisfied and the carbonate anion CO3+2 is bivalent; assuming a full blown 4-way (cum quatre) H gives one electron and C gives 4 while the 3 O's take 2 apiece (or six total) thus HCO3-. Some configurations are thermodynamically more stable, and that's what chemists spend most of their time doing, trying to figure out the thermodynamically optimum environment for various anions and cations to live in. The bicarbonate ion is rather unstable and often gives up its H+. Water (H2O also dissolves in water to form H+ and OH-, but only on the order of 10-7 (That, by the way, is where pH comes from, to negative exponent of the concentration of protons in a solution. The more acidic the more protons thus the lower the exponent; more basic, less protons thus the higher the exponent. As for KOH + HCl, each of those dissolves in water giving K+ + OH- + H+ + Cl-; of these, OH- + H+ give H2O leaving only the K and Cl to float around in the solution. Is this anywhere close to answering your question?

WebElements: the periodic table on the WWW []

Copyright 1993-20010 Mark Winter [The University of Sheffield and WebElements Ltd, UK]. All rights reserved.