Acids and bases
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In chemistry, a compound could be an acid or a base. Acids and bases are very important in chemistry. They describe a large class of substances. Understanding their properties allows us to rationalize patterns that occur in chemistry.
Contrasting properties of acids and bases
Here is a list which contrasts their properties:
- Acids turn litmus paper red. Bases turn litmus paper blue.
- Acids give off H+ ions in water; bases give off OH- ions in water
- Acids generally taste sour due to the sour H+ ion; bases taste bitter due to the OH- ion; (NEVER TASTE CHEMICALS IN A LAB) but they may have other tastes depending on the other part of the molecule
- Acids corrode active metals ; Bases denature protein
- Acids have a pH less than 7 ; Bases have a pH greater than 7
Similar properties of acids and bases
Here is a list of properties that are common to both acids and bases
- When you dissolve an acid or base in water, it makes ions. This makes the water conduct electricity better.
- The stronger the acid (or base), the more ions are produced, so the conductivity of the solution increases.
Things unique to acids
Here are some properties of acids:
Acids react with some metals to generate hydrogen gas. Acids generally taste sour.
Examples of common things which are acidic
- Lemon juice
- Apple juice
- Water and soft drinks (Carbon dioxide reacts in water to form Carbonic acid)
Things unique to bases
Bases feel slippery and soapy because they hydrolyse the fatty acid ester of the skin (saponification reaction).
Examples of common things which are bases
- Hand soap
- Salt Water