Acids & Bases

By: Krystal Oviedo

Characteristics of Acids

  • Sour taste
  • Reacts with certain metal to form hydrogen gas
  • Reacts with limestone to produce carbon dioxide
  • Reacts with bases to form salts and water
  • Produces hydrogen ions
  • Turns blue litmus paper red

Examples of acids

  • Carbonic acid : soft drinks, seltzer water
  • Nitric acid : fertilizer, explosives
  • Sulfuric acid : car batteries
  • pH of Acids

    Acids have a pH of <7

    What is a strong acid?

    A strong acid is made up of two elements only, with the first element being hydrogen and it will contain only one non-metal. Also strong acids DO NOT contain oxygen.

    Examples of Strong Acids

    • HCl (hydrochloric acid)
    • HNO3 (nitric acid)
    • H2SO4 (sulfuric acid)
    • HBr (hydrobromic acid)
    • HI hydroiodic acid
    • HClO4 (perchloric acid)

    What is a weak acid?

    A weak acid is always made up of polyatomic ions (poly meaning that they are made up of more than one element) and it ends with -ate and -ite.

    Examples of Weak Acids

    • CH3COOH (acetic acid)
    • HCOOH (formic acid)
    • HF (hydrofluoric acid)
    • HCN (hydrocyanic acid)
    • HNO2 (nitrous acid)
    • HSO4- (hydrogen sulfate ion)

    Characteristics of Bases

    • Taste bitter
    • Feels slippery or soapy
    • Reacts with oils and grease
    • Turns red litmus paper blue
    • Reacts with acids to form salts and water

    Examples of Bases

    • Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or caustic soda
    • Calcium hydroxide ( Ca(OH)2 ) or limewater
    • Ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH) or ammonia water
    • Magnesium hydroxide ( Mg(OH)2 ) or milk of magnesia

    pH of Bases

    Bases have a pH of >7

    What is a strong base?

    A strong base is something like sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide which is fully ionic. You can think of the compound as being 100% split up into metal ions and hydroxide ions in solution.

    Examples of Strong Bases

    • Sodium hydroxide (NaOH)
    • Potassium hydroxide (KOH)
    • barium hydroxide (Ba(OH)2)

    What is a weak base?

    Ammonia is a typical weak base. Ammonia itself obviously doesn't contain hydroxide ions, but it reacts with water to produce ammonium ions and hydroxide ions.

    Examples of Weak Bases

    • ammonia (NH3)
    • sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3)
    • sodium carbonate (Na3CO3)
    • sodium hydride (NaH)

    What does it mean to have a pH of 7?

    It means it is neutral; it is not acidic and not basic.


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