Difference between acid and base
Acid vs base:
Chemicals are very much attached to our lives in many ways, even though we tend to not pay much heed to them most of the time. Thus we use chemicals in almost all our day-to-day activities. All chemical compounds are basically divided into acids or bases. Despite doctors, chemists and people who are professionals in the field of chemistry, we rarely find someone among public, who is aware of acids and bases. Also, there are many, who do not even know what acids and bases are, how they react and even how they differ from each other. Therefore, this paper, with the objective of providing a better knowledge on acids and bases for those who are yet blind to them, presents a brief description to these two chemicals and their differences.
What is an acid?
An acid is a substance which has a high concentration of H+ ions. The term derives from the Latin term acidus/acēre meaning sour. Acids have a pH of between 1 and 7. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Traditionally, an acid was any chemical compound that, when dissolved in water, gives a solution with a hydrogen ion activity greater than in pure water. Chemicals or substances having the property of an acid are said to be acidic. Common examples of acids include acetic acid (in vinegar), sulfuric acid (used in car batteries), and tartaric acid (used in baking). As these three examples show, acids can be solutions, liquids, or solids. Gases such as hydrogen chloride can be acids as well. Strong acids and some concentrated weak acids are corrosive, but there are exceptions such as carboranes and boric acid.
What is a base?
A base is a substance with a high concentration of OH- ions. Bases have a pH of between 8 and 14. A soluble base is referred to as an alkali if it contains and releases hydroxide ions (OH−) quantitatively. A strong base is a base which hydrolyzes completely, raising the pH of the solution toward 14. Concentrated bases, like concentrated acids, attack living tissue and cause serious burns. Examples of very corrosive bases include sodium hydroxide (also known as caustic soda or lye) with a pH of 13 (out of a possible 14) and potassium hydroxide (ph 13.5). Bases can be thought of as the chemical opposite of acids. A reaction between an acid and base is called neutralization. Superbases are a class of especially basic compounds and non-nucleophilic bases are a special class of strong bases with poor nucleophilicity. Bases may also be weak bases such as ammonia, which is used for cleaning. Arrhenius bases are water-soluble and these solutions always have a pH greater than 7 at standard conditions. An alkali is a special example of a base, where in an aqueous environment, hydroxide ions are donated. There are other more generalized and advanced definitions of acids and bases.
What is the difference between acid and base?
An acid and base are of opposite polarities and therefore, they neutralize each other. Acid and bases react with other substances in a caustic manner. Also, when it comes to chemical interaction, acids function as proton donators while bases function as proton acceptors. All of them can be placed on a scale known as pH scale that ranges from -7 to +7. Zero is the value of pure water and as the value decreases, it is called acidic while a value above zero places it in the category of bases or alkalis. Acids are good conductors of electricity as they have H+ ions while bases are not and more slippery in texture. Bases contain OH-ions. Bases, while dissolving in water, release hydroxide ions, which are one hydrogen and one oxygen atom each with a negative charge. On the other hand, acids release only hydrogen ions. Acids taste sour, are corrosive to metals, change litmus (a dye extracted from lichens) red, and become less acidic when mixed with bases.
However, bases feel slippery, change litmus to blue and become less basic when mixed with acids. Both acids and bases may be classified as weak or strong. In the case of weak acids and bases, the conjugate result is strong but the weak acid or base does not dissociate properly in water. However, strong acids and bases manage almost complete dissociation in water though their conjugate acid or base is weak. Acids are often used to remove rust from metals, as an electrolyte in batteries, for mineral processing, to produce fertilizers and gasoline and as additives in food and beverages. Bases are used primarily in cleaning as dishwashing and laundry detergents, oven cleaners and stain removers.