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Sulfurous acid

Sulfurous acid
IUPAC name Sulfurous acid
Molecular formula H2SO3 (aq)
Molar mass 82.7 g/mol
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Sulfurous acid (or sulphurous acid in British spelling) is the chemical compound with the formula H2SO3. There is no evidence that sulfurous acid exists in solution, but the molecule has been detected in the gas phase.[1] The conjugate bases of this elusive acid are, however, common anions, bisulfite (or hydrogensulfite) and sulfite.

Raman spectra of solutions of sulfur dioxide in water show only signals due to the SO2 molecule and the bisulfite ion, HSO3.[citation needed] The intensities of the signals are consistent with the following equilibrium:

SO2 + H2O HSO3 + H+
Ka = 1.54 × 10−2 dm3 mol−1; pKa = 1.81.

Aqueous solutions of sulfur dioxide, which sometimes are referred to as sulfurous acid are used as reducing agents and as disinfectants, as are solutions of bisulfite and sulfite salts. They are also mild bleaches, and are used for materials which may be damaged by chlorine-containing bleaches.


  1. ^ D. Sülzle, M. Verhoeven, J. K. Terlouw, H. Schwarz, "Preparation and characterization of sulfurous acid and its radical cation as stable molecules in the gas phase" Angew. Chem. Int. Edn. Engl. 27, 1533-4 (1988). DOI:10.1002/ange.1988100112

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sulfurous_acid". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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