Chem Explorers

BaSO4: Understanding its Non-Acidic Non-Basic Neutral Properties

BaSO4 Chemical and Ionic Properties: Understanding the Basics

BaSO4, also known as barium sulfate, is a widely used chemical compound in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, coatings, and oil drilling operations. In this article, we’ll explore the various chemical and ionic properties of BaSO4 and how they influence its behavior in different applications.

BaSO4 Formula and IUPAC Name

The chemical formula of BaSO4 is a combination of the elements barium (Ba), sulfur (S), and oxygen (O). According to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) nomenclature, BaSO4 is known as barium(2+) sulfate.

The number 2+ after barium indicates that it carries a positive charge of 2, while sulfate indicates that the compound contains the sulfate ion (SO4) combined with barium.

Drawing BaSO4 Lewis Structure

To visualize the electronic structure of BaSO4, we can draw its Lewis structure. A Lewis structure is a diagram that shows the valence electrons of atoms and how they are shared or transferred during chemical reactions.

In BaSO4, barium donates its two electrons to sulfur, which uses them to complete its octet, making it stable. The four oxygen atoms then bond to sulfur and complete their octets.

Valence Electrons and Formal Charge

The valence electrons of BaSO4 are the outer-shell electrons of the constituent atoms, which participate in chemical bonding. Barium has two valence electrons, sulfur has six, and each oxygen has six.

To calculate the formal charge of each atom, we need to subtract the number of non-bonding electrons and half the number of bonding electrons from the number of valence electrons. The formal charge of BaSO4 shows that barium has a positive charge of two, sulfur has a neutral charge, and each oxygen has a negative charge of one.

Shape, Hybridization, and Solubility

The shape of BaSO4 is determined by the arrangement of its atoms in space, which depends on the number of bonding and non-bonding electrons. BaSO4 has a tetrahedral shape, where each oxygen atom is located at each corner of the tetrahedron, and the sulfur and barium atoms are located at the center.

The hybridization of BaSO4 is sp3, which means that the valence electrons of the constituent atoms are hybridized to form four equal orbitals that point towards the corners of the tetrahedron. The solubility of BaSO4 is low in water, as it is an ionic compound with a strong attraction between the cation (barium) and anion (sulfate).

BaSO4 as an Ionic Compound

BaSO4 is an ionic compound because it consists of positively charged cations (barium) and negatively charged anions (sulfate) held together by electrostatic attraction. This electrostatic attraction arises due to the transfer of electrons from barium to sulfur, resulting in opposite charges on the ions, and the overall neutrality of the compound.

Ionic compounds are usually solid at room temperature and have high melting and boiling points. Why BaSO4 is Ionic?

BaSO4 is ionic due to the large electronegativity difference between barium and sulfur. Electronegativity is a measure of an atom’s ability to attract electrons towards itself in a chemical bond.

Barium has a low electronegativity, while sulfur has a high electronegativity, meaning that sulfur attracts electrons more strongly than barium. As a result, sulfur gains two electrons from barium in a process called electron transfer, forming the sulfate anion with a negative charge, while barium becomes the barium cation with a positive charge.

How BaSO4 is Ionic? BaSO4 is ionic because the transfer of electrons from barium to sulfur results in oppositely charged ions that attract each other.

The sulfate ion has four oxygen atoms surrounding a central sulfur atom, with a negative charge of two to balance the two gained electrons. The barium ion is a metallic cation with a positive charge of two, resulting from the loss of the two valence electrons to sulfur.

These opposite charges lead to the electrostatic attraction between the Ba2+ and SO42- ions, forming the ionic compound. BaSO4 Polar or Nonpolar?

BaSO4 is nonpolar because the opposing polarities of the sulfur-oxygen bonds, with S being more electronegative than O, cancel each other out due to the symmetric tetrahedral shape. Therefore, BaSO4 does not have a dipole moment, making it a nonpolar molecule.


In conclusion, understanding the chemical and ionic properties of BaSO4 enables us to appreciate its behavior and applications in various industries. From its formula and IUPAC name to its Lewis structure, valence electrons, formal charge, and hybridization, we can visualize its electronic structure and predict its solubility, melting, and boiling points.

Moreover, knowing why BaSO4 is ionic and how it forms ions and the ions’ electrostatic attraction helps us appreciate its ionic nature, while determining its polarity as nonpolar tells us about its chemical behavior. BaSO4 Neutral Properties: An Insight into Its Nature

BaSO4, also known as barium sulfate, is a white crystalline solid that is widely used in many industrial and medical applications.

BaSO4 is an ionic compound that consists of the positively charged cation barium (Ba2+) and the negatively charged anion sulfate (SO42-). However, BaSO4 is often considered as a neutral molecule.

In this article, we’ll explore the neutral properties of BaSO4 and understand why it’s not acidic or basic.

BaSO4 as a Neutral Molecule

BaSO4 is a neutral molecule as it doesn’t have any pH value. A neutral molecule is one that has an equal number of positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons.

Therefore, it neither donates nor accepts electrons in a chemical reaction, and hence, doesn’t participate in chemical reactions that involve the transfer of protons. Why BaSO4 is Not Acidic or Basic?

Acids and bases are two primary types of substances that are classified based on their pH levels. Acids are substances that have a pH below 7 and produce hydrogen ions (H+) when mixed with water.

Bases, on the other hand, have a pH greater than 7 and produce hydroxide ions (OH-) when mixed with water. BaSO4 is neither acidic nor basic.

This is because it doesn’t produce any H+ ions or OH- ions when mixed with water.

One reason why BaSO4 is not acidic is due to the strong attraction between Ba2+ ions and the sulfate anion (SO42-).

The Ba2+ ions have a high positive charge that attracts sulfate anions, resulting in a stable compound. The compound doesn’t offer any protons that can dissociate into H+ ions in water to make the solution acidic.

Hence, BaSO4 doesn’t show any acidic behavior.

Similarly, BaSO4 also doesn’t have any basic properties as it doesn’t produce any OH- ions.

Bases usually have a high negative charge that attracts positively charged particles, creating OH- ions in water. But since BaSO4 is positively charged, there’s no possibility for it to generate OH- ions.

How BaSO4 is Not Acidic or Basic? Several factors determine whether a substance is acidic or basic, such as its pH, reactivity, and strength.

BaSO4 is neither acidic nor basic, mainly due to its chemical properties. A strong acid or a strong base is a substance that readily dissociates in water to produce a high concentration of H+ or OH- ions.

However, BaSO4 has a very low solubility in water, with only about 0.002 g of it dissolving in 100 ml of water at room temperature. This means that the concentration of Ba2+ ions and sulfate anions in water is too low to cause any reaction and thereby, making BaSO4 neutral.

In addition, BaSO4 has a high melting point of about 1580 C, and boiling point of approximately 1600 C, which makes it highly stable and less reactive. As a result, it doesn’t generate any ions when dissolved in water, forming a neutral solution.


In conclusion, BaSO4 is a neutral molecule because it doesn’t generate any H+ or OH- ions when mixed with water. This is due to the strong attraction between the positively charged Ba2+ ions and the negatively charged SO42- anions, making it highly stable.

BaSO4 doesn’t show any acidic or basic properties because it doesn’t dissociate into ions in water, a property that weak acids or bases exhibit. Its high melting and boiling points make it highly stable, thereby making it less reactive both chemically and in the presence of water.

Therefore, understanding BaSO4’s neutral properties is important to appreciate its wide application range, from pharmaceuticals and coatings to oil drilling operations. In conclusion, BaSO4, commonly known as barium sulfate, is a neutral substance that neither has acidic nor basic properties.

This is because of its chemical properties that cause it to be stable and unreactive, making it highly useful in various fields such as pharmaceuticals, coatings, and oil drilling. Understanding its neutral properties is key to comprehending its behavior and applications in the manufacturing industry.

FAQs: 1) Is BaSO4 a neutral substance? Yes, it is.

2) Why doesn’t BaSO4 have acidic or basic properties? This is due to its chemical properties, including its strong attraction between positively charged Ba2+ ions and negatively charged SO42- ions, its low solubility in water, and its high melting and boiling points, which make it stable and unreactive.

3) What are some applications of BaSO4? It is used in pharmaceuticals, coatings, plastics, and oil drilling operations, amongst other fields.

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