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Title: Persistent Ion Pairing in Aqueous Hydrochloric Acid

For strong acids, like hydrochloric acid, the complete dissociation into an excess proton and conjugated base as well as the formation of independent solvated charged fragments is assumed. The existence of a chloride-Hyronium (Cl-H3O+) contact ion pairs even in moderate concentration hydrochloric acid (2.5 m) demonstrates that the counter ions do not behave merely as spectators. Through the use of modern extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) measurements in conjunction with state-of-the-art density functional theory (DFT) simulations, we are able to obtain an unprecedented view into the molecular structure of medium to high concentrated electrolytes. Here we report that the Cl-H3O+ contact ion pair structure persists throughout the entire concentration range studied and that these structures differ significantly from moieties studied in micro-solvated hydrochloric acid clusters. Characterizing distinct populations of these ion pairs gives rise to a novel molecular level description of how to think about the activity of the proton that impacts our picture of the pH scale. Funding for CJM, GKS, and JLF was provided by DOE Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Science, Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences. Funding for MDB was provided throught the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program at Pacific Northwestmore » National Laboratory. MB was funded through Argonne National Laboratory.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 118(26):7211-7220
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States