Chemistry...Help?

I've been trying to understand these two questions and I've re-read my textbook a dozen times but I still get confused.

27, A: Which is a stronger acid - sulfuric or carbonic acid? (Answer: Sulfuric acid.)

27, B: Imagine you have two glasses. One contains a solution of carbonic acid. The other contains a solution of sulfuric acid. Without any other information, can you tell which is more corrosive? Explain the reasoning behind your answer.

27, C: What makes an acidic solution corrosive?

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asked by Rachel
  1. 7, A: Which is a stronger acid - sulfuric or carbonic acid? (Answer: Sulfuric acid.)
    yes, unless you don't know why it's sulfuric acid but 27B will answer that.

    27, B: Imagine you have two glasses. One contains a solution of carbonic acid. The other contains a solution of sulfuric acid. Without any other information, can you tell which is more corrosive? Explain the reasoning behind your answer.
    Carbonic acid is a weak acid. It ionizes only partially. In fact, not much of it ionizes at all. H2SO4 is a strong acid, meaning that it ionizes 100%. Therefore, H2SO4 is much more corrosive and much more acidic.

    27, C: What makes an acidic solution corrosive? This isn't all that good a question for it depends to some extent on which acid we are discussing. In the context of these questions, however, the answer probably is the hydrogen ion, in general, makes an acid corrosive. For additional information, HF is a weak acid (it ionizes only partially) BUT it is highly corrosive because of the fluoride ion.

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  2. I believe the answer to part (B) can be found in your text in the chapter on Acid Rain. It that chapter, it states that Carbonic Acid acts in the environment to keep rainwater at a pH of between 5 and 7. It then goes on to dicuss the term acid rain as pertaining to precipitation that has a pH lower than 5. Sulfur dioxide contributes to acid rain, the result of pollutants, as it absorbed into the atmosphere and reacts with water, becoming sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid, in the form of acid rain is responsible for the formation of large caves and other natural features but it is also responsible for billions of dollars of corrosive damage to metal, paint, stone and other exposed substances. It also causes a great deal of damage to the envorionment. So, without knowing anything about the chemical structure... if you've read about acid rain, you'd be able to answer the question.

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    posted by Beth

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