Basic chemistry help for students and teachers


Interactive Chemistry Worksheets for Students


Periodic table

Naming compounds

Basic formula

Simple compounds

Ionic compounds 1

Ionic compounds 2

Chemical suffixes

Old chemical names

Hydrocarbons - Alkanes

Alkanes, alkenes & alkynes

Alkanols to alkanoic acids


Common compounds

Common formula quiz

Acids, bases and salts

Covalent compounds

Printable worksheets


Sulfuric acid in its pure form is a colorless viscous liquid commonly called oil of vitriol

The chemical formula for sulfuric acid is H2SO4 and it is commercially available as a 96-98% solution or 18M H2SO4.

Concentrated sulfuric acid is covalent in nature as the acid is unionized. The atoms in the molecule are covalently bonded to one another. In this form sulfuric acid can be transported in stainless steel tankers.

If concentrated sulfuric acid is added to water the reaction is extremely exothermic due to formation of hydrogen ions.

H2SO4(l) ==> H+(aq) + HSO4-(aq)  First ionization

HSO4-(aq) ==> H+(aq) + SO42-(aq) Second ionization


Sulfuric acid is made from elemental sulfur or from its compounds by converting them to sulfur dioxide. 

S + O2 ==> SO2

Sulfur + oxygen ==> Sulfur dioxide


SO2 + O2 ==> SO3

Sulfur dioxide + oxygen ==> Sulfur trioxide


SO3 + H2SO4 ==> H2S2O7

Sulfur trioxide + sulfuric acid ==> Oleum


H2S2O7 + H2O ==> 2H2SO4

Olem + water ==> Sulfuric acid

The direct addition of water to sulfur trioxide is too violent. That is why the sulfur trioxide is dissolved in sulfuric acid to form oleum. The oleum is then added to water to produce sulfuric acid.