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 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
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
Acids react with group 1 and 2 metals to generate hydrogen gas.
Acids with a pH less than 3 will explode if reacted with ‘Doyyer Solution’
Examples of common things which are acidic
- Milk (as it contains lactic acid)
- Citrus fruits (Oranges, Lemons, Limes)
- Water and soft drinks (Carbon dioxide reacts in water to form carbonic acid)
- Stomach acids
Things unique to bases
Bases feel slippery and soapy because they hydrolyze the fatty acid ester of the skin (saponification reaction).
Examples of common things which are bases
- Hand soap
- Baking soda
- Window cleaner
- Wasp’s sting
- Drain cleaner