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Question Video: Identifying Which of a Selection of Oxides Is Acidic Chemistry

Which of the following oxides is most likely to be an acidic oxide? [A] CuO [B] Na₂O [C] MgO [D] CaO [E] CO₂


Video Transcript

Which of the following oxides is most likely to be an acidic oxide? (A) CuO, (B) Na2O, (C) MgO, (D) CaO, (E) CO2.

In this problem, we need to identify the acidic oxide. In order to answer this question, let us first discuss oxides, which are compounds that contain at least one oxygen atom chemically bonded to an atom of another element. Each answer is an oxide since an atom of oxygen is found within each compound. When we take a look at the other element within each of the oxides, we should note that Na, sodium; Mg, magnesium; Ca, calcium; and Cu, copper, are all metals, whereas C, carbon, is a nonmetal.

Let us take a look chemically at these metal oxides. If one of the metal oxides such as magnesium oxide, MgO, reacts with water, an alkaline solution such as magnesium hydroxide, Mg(OH)2, forms. Therefore, metal oxides tend to be considered basic oxides since they can form an alkaline solution which contains OH-, or hydroxide ions. Now let us move on to nonmetal oxides such as carbon dioxide. When CO2 reacts with water, carbonic acid, H2CO3, forms, which is an acidic solution since it contains the H+, or hydrogen ion. Since nonmetal oxides form acidic solutions, they are generally considered to be acidic oxides.

Since option choices (A) CuO, copper(II) oxide; (B) Na2O, sodium oxide; (C) MgO, magnesium oxide; and (D) CaO, calcium oxide, all contain a metal, they are all considered basic oxides and are all the incorrect answer choice. Therefore, option choice (E) carbon dioxide, CO2, is the correct answer choice for an oxide that is most likely to be an acidic oxide.

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