Properties and characteristics of acids and bases

An acid is a substance that is capable of releasing hydrogen ions in a solution, although it is also considered that way to the substance that can receive a pair of electrons. Instead, bases are substances capable of dissociating hydrogen ions in a solution and can donate electrons.

DefinitionAcid is a substance capable of releasing hydrogen ions in a solution. It is also considered this way to the compound that can receive electrons.The base is a substance capable of dissociating hydrogen ions in a solution. And they can donate electrons.
PropertiesThey taste sour, are corrosive, damage skin tissue, etc.They do not react with metals, in solution they conduct electric current and are slippery to the touch.
ExamplesAscorbic acid (vitamin C), citric acid, acetic acid (vinegar and wine), lactic acid (produced during physical exercise), among others.Magnesium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite, sodium bicarbonate, ammonia, among others.

Definition of acid

An acid is a substance capable of releasing hydrogen ions in a solution . Furthermore, any compound that can receive a pair of electrons can be considered acid.

The word acid comes from the Latin acidus,  which means sour or sharp, implying the unpleasant taste of substances.

Strong and weak acids

Acids can be classified as strong and weak according to how they dissociate in an aqueous substance, which is basically represented as the amount of hydrogen ions that are released in a solution.

An acid is strong if it ionizes in a simple way, that is, a large amount of its protons or hydrogen ions are lost in the same solution. Strong acids are good electrical conductors and quite corrosive.

In contrast, weak acids are those that do not release a large amount of hydrogen ions and are therefore less corrosive than strong ones.

Acid properties

Acids, whether strong or weak, have a series of properties that we have below.

  • It has a sour taste like the citric acid in orange or lemon.
  • They are corrosive.
  • They cause burns to the skin.
  • They are good conductors of electricity in aqueous solutions.
  • They react with active metals to form salt and hydrogen.
  • They react with bases to form salt plus water.
  • They react with metal oxides to form salt plus water.

Definition of bases

A base is a substance that has alkaline properties (in fact, it includes all alkaline solutions) and in an aqueous solution it tends to contribute ions , that is, it dissociates hydrogen ions, having a pH greater than 7. It is also considered as base to the substance capable of donating a pair of electrons.

The word base comes from the Greek basis  and means to go or walk. Instead, “alkaline” comes from a Latin that actually refers to an Arabic, “Al-Qali” and means ashes, alluding to those that come from burnt wood.

Strong and weak bases

Strong bases ionize completely, yielding their hydroxide ions to solution. In contrast, weak bases are those that manage to dissociate only partially.

Properties of the bases

Bases, as substances with alkaline properties, have a large number of features that are arranged below.

  • They do not react with metals.
  • In solution they conduct electric current.
  • They have a bitter taste.
  • Dissolved they are slippery to the touch.
  • They react with acids, producing water and salt.
  • Its pH is higher than 7.

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