When acetic acid is dissolved in water, two reactions happen. First, the acetic acid forms its ions:
Then, once ions are formed, they re-form acetic acid:
This pair of reactions is reversible. A reversible reaction can proceed in either direction—left to right or right to left— depending on the relative starting concentrations of the reactants and products. The formula for a reversible reaction can be written using a double arrow:
In principle, all chemical reactions are reversible. In terms of acids and bases, there are two types of reactions, depending on the extent of reversibility:
► Ionization of strong acids and bases is virtually irreversible.
► Ionization of weak acids and bases is somewhat reversible.
Many of the acid and base groups on large molecules in biological systems are weak.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.