Rank the following species in order of increasing acidity (weak to strong) H2SO4, NH3, H20, CH3OH, CH3COOH, HF, H30^+. Also explain the hierarchy of rules to why they are in the specific order.
Let's look at each one individually and then determine the order.
Sulfuric acid (H2SO4): This is a classic strong mineral acid. It completely ionizes in water and is a very strong acid.
Ammonia (NH3): This is actually a base. Under extremely basic conditions it could function as an acid and lose a proton, but generally it is considered a weak base (it accepts protons).
Water (H2O): This is completely neutral. Not really an acid or a base.
Methanol (CH3OH): This is a very weak acid. The hydroxyl hydrogen can deprotonate, especially in the presence of a base, but generally this is a very weak acid.
Acetic acid (CH3COOH): This is a weak acid. Acetic acid is the active ingredient in vinegar. The carboxylic acid proton will dissociate in water but not completely.
Hydrofluoric acid (HF): This is also a strong mineral acid. However it is not quite as strong as the rest since it does not completely dissociate in water. Actually this one is a bit complicated since its acidic strength does depend on its concentration, but we'll go with strong but not among the strongest.
Hydronium ion (H3O+): This is the ultimate acid but it cannot exist on its own in reality without a counterion. The hydronium ion is a proton coordinated in solution with a water molecule. Since a proton is the ultimate acid this would be the ultimate acid since there is no counterion to interact with it.
So the final ranking from weakest to strongest is: NH3, H2O, CH3OH, CH3COOH, HF, H2SO4, H3O+.