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Amphoteric molecules have the characteristics of both acids and bases. This means that they are able to act as acids or bases depending on the circumstances and what they are reacting with. Amphoteric substances are usually created by metalloids which also have the characteristics of both metals and nonmetals. Since nonmetals generally form acids, and metals generally form bases, metalloids which can act as both can act as both acids and bases.
Like the previous post explains, metalloids usually form amphoteric compounds because they fall in between metals and non-metals (and therefore share characteristics/properties of both). Another good thing to remember is that water, H_2O, is amphoteric.
PriscillaLi_3G wrote:What differentiates amphoteric compounds from acids and bases?
We can also use the Bronsted and Lewis definitions of acids and bases to answer this question. So, for example, H2O is known to be amphoteric. It can act as a Bronsted acid OR base because it can either donate an H+ (to become OH-) or accept an H+ (to become H3O+) respectively. Similarly, it can act as a Lewis acid OR base, as it can either be an electron pair acceptor or an electron pair donor respectively.
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