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[edit]

Here is a list which contrasts their properties:

  • Acids turn blue litmus paper red. Bases turn red litmus paper blue.
  • Acids give off H+ (Hydrogen) ions in water; bases give off OH- (Hydroxide) ions in water.
  • Acids generally taste sour due to the sour H+ ion; bases taste bitter due to the OH- ion; but they may have other tastes depending on the other part of the molecule.
  • Bases are usually soapy in nature .
  • 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[edit]

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.
  • They can both conduct electricity.
  • When an acid reacts with a base, a salt is formed
  • they both can carry and share ions

Things unique to acids[edit]

Here are some properties of acids:

Acids react with some metals to generate hydrogen gas.

Examples of common things which are acidic[edit]

  • Milk(lactic acid)
  • Lemon juice
  • stomach acids
  • Apple juice
  • Vinegar
  • Water and soft drinks (Carbon dioxide reacts in water to form Carbonic acid)
  • oranges
  • pineapples

Things unique to bases[edit]

Bases feel slippery and soapy because they hydrolyze the fatty acid ester of the skin (saponification reaction).

Examples of common things which are bases[edit]

  • Hand soap
  • Lye
  • Salt Water
  • baking soda
  • bleach
  • spinach
  • window cleaner
  • wasp's sting
  • sodium chloride