From Acids to Superacids: From Lavoisier to Olah

Chemistry, History
Acid theory evolved in stages. Our understanding of what constitutes an acid has improved, but that is not all. As a result of our better understanding, acids of greatly increased strength – superacids – have become available, as well. Early Acid Theory – Lavoisier [caption id="attachment_24574" align="alignleft" width="240"] Lavoisier & wife[/caption] The 18th century French chemist, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, later guillotined by French revolutionaries, developed a theory of acids inaccurately based on a required presence of oxygen. This theory lasted into the 19th century. Its popular downfall was prompted by its undue restrictions on what constitutes an acid. Many acids contain no oxygen whatsoever. Hydrogen and Acids – Baron Justus von Liebig [caption id="attachment_24577" align="alignright" width="240"] Leibig[/caption] Although there was no detailed theory, credit should be given to Justus von…
Read More