Levelling Effect and Classification of Solvents
In acid-base strength series, all acids above H3O+ in aqueous solution fall to the strength of H3O+. Similarly the basic strength of bases above OH– fall to the strength of OH–in aqueous solution. This is known as levelling effect. Levelling effect of water is due to its high dielectric constant and strong proton accepting tendency.
On the basis of proton interaction, solvents are of four types,
(i) Protophilic solvents: Solvents which have greater tendency to accept protons, i.e., water, alcohol, liquid ammonia, etc.
(ii) Protogenic solvents: Solvents which have the tendency to produce protons, i.e., water, liquid hydrogen chloride, glacial acetic acid, etc.
(iii) Amphiprotic solvents: Solvents which act both as protophilic or protogenic, e.g., water, ammonia, ethyl alcohol, etc.
(iv) Aprotic solvents: Solvents which neither donate nor accept protons, e.g., benzene, carbon tetrachloride, carbon disulphide, etc.
HCl acts as acid in H2O, stronger acid in NH3, weak acid in CH3COOH, neutral in C6H6 and a weak base in HF.