The reactions between acids and bases may be reversible

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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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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