Acids and Bases

Chapter 12

Learning Objectives...
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Define acids in terms of the ions they produce in aqueous solution and their effects on indicators. Describe the characteristic properties of acids as in reactions with metals, bases and carbonates. State some uses of acids. Define alkalis in terms of the ions they produce in aqueous solution and their effects on indicators. Describe the characteristic properties of bases as in reactions with acids, metal ions and ammonium compounds. Describe the pH scale as a measure of relative acidity and alkalinity. Construct ionic equations.

ethanoic acid in vinegar

lactic acid in yoghurt

Acids. ..

citric acid in lime

tannic acid in tea

hydrochloric acid in gastric juice

formic acid in bee sting

tartaric acid in grapes

Laboratory Acids
3 common laboratory acids:  hydrochloric acid (HCl)  sulphuric acid (H2SO4)

nitric acid (HNO3)


Physical Properties of Acids

Acids have a sour taste.

Found in many sweets and fruits. Dilute acids are irritants – can cause skin to redden and blister. Turns blue litmus red

Acids are hazardous.

Acids change the colour of indicators:


Chemical Properties of Acids
Acids react with metals  Hydrogen gas is produced
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Test: use a burning splint. Observation: Fire extinguishes with a ‘pop’ sound
magnesium chloride + hydrogen

hydrochloric acid + magnesium


Chemical Properties of Acids
Acids react with carbonates and hydrogen carbonate  Carbon dioxide gas is produced
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Test: Bubble gas through limewater Observation: A white precipitate is formed.
calcium chloride + carbon dioxide + water

hydrochloric acid + calcium carbonate


Chemical Properties of Acids
Acids react with metal oxides and hydroxide  Most metal oxides and hydroxides react slowly with warm, dilute acids  Forms salt and water. sulphuric acid + copper oxide copper sulphate + water


Uses of Acids

Most important industrial acid: sulphuric acid Used mainly to manufacture agricultural fertilisers
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Fertiliser: ammonium sulphate Formed by reacting sulphuric acid with ammonia


Uses of Acids
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Sulphuric acid is also used to manufacture of detergents, paints, dyes, artificial fibres and plastics. Dilute sulphuric acid is used in vehicle batteries. Hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid are used to remove rust, which consists of iron (III) oxide.

A car battery


Bases are the oxides or hydroxides of metals.

E.g.: copper (II) oxide, sulphur dioxide, sodium hydroxide E.g.: copper (II) oxide cannot dissolve in water E.g.: sodium hydroxide

Some bases are insoluble.

Some bases are soluble. They are known as alkalis


Laboratory Alkalis
3 common laboratory alkalis:  Sodium hydroxide, NaOH  Calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2

Aqueous ammonia, NH3 (or NH4OH)


Physical Properties of Alkalis
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Alkalis feel slippery. Alkalis are hazardous:

Concentrated sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are corrosive. They are also known as caustic alkalis. Dilute alkalis are irritants. Turns red litmus blue

Alkalis change the colour of indicators:


Chemical Properties of Alkalis
Alkalis react with acids  Also known as the neutralization reaction  It is the reaction between an acid and a base to form salt and water only. acid + base (or alkali) salt + water nitric acid + sodium hydroxide sodium nitrate + water


Chemical Properties of Alkalis
Alkalis react with ammonium compounds  Heating alkali with a solid ammonium compound will produce ammonia gas.
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Test: Use damp red litmus paper Observation: Litmus paper turns blue
sodium chloride + ammonia + water

ammonium chloride + sodium hydroxide


Applications of Neutralization
Controlling pH of the soil  Plants need soil of a suitable pH to grow well.  If the soil is too acidic, farmers add bases

e.g. calcium oxide (quicklime) or calcium hydroxide (slaked lime)


Applications of Neutralization
Controlling pH of the soil  If soil is too alkaline, farmers add compost

Consists of rotting plant material As it decomposes, the plants give off carbon dioxide Dissolves in soil water to form carbonic acid

Applications of Neutralization
Treatment of indigestion  Gastric juices contain hydrochloric acid for digestion.  Overeating can cause the stomach to produce too much acid, causing indigestion.  To relieve the pain, the acid is neutralized with a medicine containing mild alkali.


Applications of Neutralization
Treatment of indigestion  An example of mild alkali is magnesium hydroxide.
magnesium hydroxide + hydrochloric acid 

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Magnesium hydroxide is an example of an antacid. Antacids can also contain aluminium hydroxide, magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate.

Applications of Neutralization
Toothpaste  Bacteria in our mouths can feed on food particles, thus releasing acid.  Acid corrodes our teeth, causing tooth decay.  Toothpastes are alkaline, commonly containing magnesium hydroxide.


Uses of Alkalis
Apart from neutralization, alkalis can also be used to dissolve grease  Soaps and detergents contain mild (weak) alkali.  Floor and oven cleaners contain sodium hydroxide, a strong alkali  Ammonia is used in glass cleaners.


Acidity and Alkalinity pH

small caps big caps

pH is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution


Acidity and Alkalinity pH

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The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14. pH 7  neutral

E.g. pure water

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pH < 7  acidic pH > 7  alkaline

pH of Common Substances


Measuring pH
Using Universal Indicator  Consists of a mixture of indicators.  Can come in solution form or pH paper.  Disadvantage: gives approximate pH values


Measuring pH
Using Universal Indicator  When the paper is dipped into solution, it gives different colours at different pH values. The pH is found by comparing the colour obtained with a colour chart.


Measuring pH
Using a pH meter  Advantage: gives accurate pH values  How to use:
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Dip a probe into the solution The meter shows the pH Can be a scale or a digital display

Some are small and portable


pH Sensor and Computer
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A pH sensor can be connected to a computer. The pH reading will be displayed on the computer screen. Dataloggers are portable computers with attached pH sensors to measure pH values outside the laboratory.


Other Indicators
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Some indicators do not give pH values. They can only show if the substance is acid or alkaline. There are 3 common indicators:
indicator phenolphthalein methyl orange litmus colour in acids colourless red red colour in alkalis pink yellow blue

Using Litmus Paper
Question! A solution is tested with a piece of red litmus paper and the paper stays red. Meiling says the solution is acidic. Liyana says that to be sure, the solution should also be tested with blue litmus paper. Who is correct?


Importance of pH
pH and the body  Substances in the body have different pH values.  In the digestive system, the following are needed for good digestion:
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Acidic conditions in the stomach (pH ~ 1.5) Alkaline conditions in the small intestine (pH ~ 8.4)

Blood going to the heart and lungs contains carbon dioxide, which makes the blood slightly acidic.


Importance of pH
pH and food preservation

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Many fresh foods spoil because of bacteria present in the food. Bacteria do not grow well in solutions of low pH. Acids are thus used to preserve foods.
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Ethanoic acid (vinegar) used to preserve vegetables Benzoic acid is used in fruit juices, oyster sauce and jams. Citric acid is used as preservative and flavouring.


Importance of pH
pH in the garden  Most plants grow best when soil is about pH 5.6.  Some plants grow well in more extreme pH:
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Orchids prefer acidic soil (pH 4 - 5) Common vegetables e.g. beans and peas prefer neutral soil (pH 6 – 8) Water lilies prefer alkaline soil (pH 8 - 9)

Pink hydrangea grown in alkaline soil

Blue hydrangea grown in acidic soil


Importance of pH
pH and hair  Normal hair is weakly acidic (~ pH 5)  Alkaline solutions make hair curly.

When perming hair, alkaline solutions are used.

Alkaline solutions can damage hair by causing it to become weaker and easier to break.


Importance of pH
pH and hair  To clean hair, shampoo is used. It is alkaline to dissolve grease present in hair.  Shampoos must always be rinsed after used.  Hair conditioners contain weak acids to restore the pH of hair to its normal value.


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