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Specifically, I was trying to understand the difference between 酸 and 酸類.

I'm guessing that adding 類 changes it from a specific acid to the class of all acids, but I really have no idea.

More generally, how and when should I use 類 as a suffix?

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Your guess is correct. 酸類 explicitly refers to all kinds of acids. As jisho.org says, 類 is a suffix: https://jisho.org/word/%E9%A1%9E

There are several similar suffixes including -類, -属, -系 and -群, variously translated like "X series", "X group", "X family", "category X", "X-oids" and so on and on. They are used differently according to the conventions of each field, and I don't think there is a large essential difference.

In particular, 類 is common in the context of biological classification. See: 類 in animal and plant names

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