Back to school
Where did the summertime break go? Time for kids to go back to school. And time for us too…chemistry basics…..Acids and bases
- have a low pH (1-6) – the lower the number the stronger the acid
- react with bases to form neutral compounds
- are corrosive when they are strong
- are an irritant when they are weak.
Acids have a pH of less than 7. Bases have a pH of more than 7. When bases are dissolved in water, they are known as alkalis. Salts are made when an acid reacts with a base, carbonate or metal. The name of the salt formed depends on the metal in the base and the acid used. For example, salts made using hydrochloric acid are called chlorides.
Substances with a pH of less than 7 are acids. The more strongly acidic the solution, the lower its pH number. Acidic solutions turn blue litmus paper red. They turn universal indicator paper red if they are strongly acidic, and orange or yellow if they are weakly acidic.
Substances that can react with acids and neutralise them to make a salt and water are called bases. They are usually metal oxides or metal hydroxides. For example, copper oxide and sodium hydroxide are bases.
Bases that dissolve in water are called alkalis. Copper oxide is not an alkali because it does not dissolve in water. Sodium hydroxide is an alkali because it does dissolve in water.
Alkaline solutions have a pH of more than 7. The stronger the alkali, the higher the pH number. Alkalis turn red litmus paper blue. They turn universal indicator paper dark blue or purple if they are strongly alkaline, and blue-green if they are weakly alkaline.
Neutral solutions have a pH of 7. They do not change the colour of litmus paper, but they turn universal indicator paper green. Water is neutral.
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