An acid is a substance that produces hydrogen ions when dissolved in water. Hydrogen chloride is an example of a common and important acid. When hydrogen chlorine gas dissolves in water, it forms hydrochloric acid. Hydrogen chloride is very soluble in water, and is completely dissociated. It is therefore a strong electrolyte. Nitric acid is another common strong acid. Upon dissolving in water, nitric acid ionizes completely to form an acidic solution consisting of hydrogen ions and nitrate ions. Like hydrogen chloride, and all strong acids, nitric acid is a strong electrolyte. Acetic acid is the characteristic ingredient of vinegar. When acetic acid is added to water, it too ionizes to produce and acidic solution. However, acetic acid does not ionize completely. At given point in time, most of the acetic acid in solution exists in the un-ionized form. Because it does not ionize completely, acetic acid is referred to as a weak acid. Weak acids are also weak electrolytes.
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