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Is ammonia a weak base?
- Delia and I have searched our chemistry books and searched the Web but have not found a weak electrolyte that is basic. We realize ammonia won't work for this question. Could you please help us? Thank you.
Mindy and Delia
Perhaps you're thinking that ammonia can't be a weak electrolyte it's a molecular compound,
and so doesn't break up into cations and anions. But any substance that produces ions in solution can be considered an electrolyte; dissociation isn't the only way a substance can produce ions. Ammonia is an electrolyte because it produces ions by the following reaction:
NH3(aq) + H2O = NH4+(aq) + OH-(aq)
Ammonia is a weak rather than strong electrolyte because this reaction runs both ways; ammonia reacts with water to produce ammonium and hydroxide ions, while hydroxide ions react with ammonium ions to produce ammonia and water.
The reaction clearly shows that ammonia is a base because it accepts a hydrogen ion from the water.
Author: Fred Senese email@example.com