Difference Between Acid and Base

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Difference Between Acid and Base

A plethora of daily essentials such as the food we eat, detergent soaps, cosmetics, cooking ingredients, etc. can be easily categorised into two substances – Acids and Bases. Depending upon their basic chemistry, chemical composition, and properties, we can easily bifurcate various substances into these two categories. We know that acids are more reactive than bases, however, it is a very general difference between them. So, if you also want to know the basic difference between acid and base, then read through the blog! But before that, let us first understand what is Acid and Base. 

What is Acid?

A substance or a molecule that has pH less than 7.0 and donate the H+ (Hydrogen) ions to other compounds are referred to as Acids. Generally, the types of acid that are found are- Strong Acids and Weak Acids. Here are some important properties of Acids which will, in the coming paragraphs, help you understand the difference.

  • Most of the acids are solid at room temperature. Formic, Ethanoic, etc are exceptions.  
  • Acids conduct electricity in the water. 
  • Acids turn blue litmus paper red. 
  • When the acids react with base or alkali, they produce salt and water 
  • They corrode metals.   
Credits: Don’t Memorize

Types of Acid 

To understand in detail the difference between acid and base, it is important to go through the various types of acids that are commonly available- 

  • Strong Acids- An acid that completely dissociates its ions in water are known as strong acids. Some of the popular strong acids are- hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, chloric acid, hydrobromic acid, hydroiodic acid, perchloric acid. 
  • Weak Acids: The acids that dissociate partially in water are known as weak acids. all the acids except for the above mentioned 6 acids are known as weak acids.
Credits: BodhaGuru

What is Base?

A molecule or substance that releases hydroxide ions (OH-) upon reacting with water is called a Base. It has a pH value of more than 7.0 and its common types are- Superbase, Strong Base, Weak Base, Solid Base, etc. Listed below are some of the properties of the base which will help you understand the difference between acid and base:

  • Bases are bitter in taste. 
  • The ions dissociated from an aqueous base solution or molten bases solution conducts electricity.  
  • When it comes to the Litmus test, the paper turns blue from red in case of bases. 
  • Bases undergo a vigorous reaction with acids and organic compounds as they are caustic. 
Credits: American Chemical Society

Types of Base

For a better understanding of this topic, we have stated below the major types of bases- 

  • Strong Base: The basis which completely dissociates their ions into water or in any other compound that can remove a proton from any weak acid are known as strong bases. Example: KOH and NaOH.
  • Weak Base: The substances which do not completely dissociate their ions into water are known as weak bases. 
  • Super Base: Such type of bases are formed by alkali metals with their conjugate acid and in comparison better than a strong base. 
  • Neutral Base: The substances that form a bond with neutral acid are known as neutral bases. 
  • Solid Base- Such bases are used in reactions with gaseous acids or in anion exchange resins

Difference Between Acid and Base

Before jumping onto the concept and properties of Acids and Bases, let us understand the difference between Acid and Base on some parameters.  

Categories AcidsBases 
Bronsted-Lowry Concept   Lewis Acids are the substances that accept the pair of electrons and will always have empty orbitalsLewis Bases are the substance that donates pair of electrons and will always have lone pair of electrons
Lewis ConceptAcids are always proton donors Bases are proton acceptors 
Arrhenius Concept As per this concept, Acid whenever dissolves with water increases the concentration of  H+ ionsBases whenever dissolves with water increase the concentration of OH+ ions
Phenolphthalein    indicatorAn acid remains colourless.A base gives a pink colour.
Chemical FormulaAcids have their chemical formula beginning with H

For example, HCl (Hydrochloric Acid), HNO₃ (Nitric Acid).
However, there are exceptions like CH3COOH (Acetic Acid)
Bases always have their chemical formula ending with OH.

For example, KOH, (Potassium Hydroxide) and NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide)
Physical CharacteristicsGives burning sensation
Sour in taste
Sticky in nature
Bitter in taste
Slippery in nature 
pH Scale Ranges between 0-7Ranges between 7-14
Litmus TestWhen dipped in the base, turns blue litmus to redTurns red litmus blue, when dipped in an acid
Ionization Acids are species or compounds that break apart in H2O to form a hydrogen ion (H+). So, it can be said that acids form Hydronium ions on ionizationBases result in Hydroxyl ions on ionization 
Reaction with WaterAcids dissociate to release free hydrogen ions (H+) when mixed with water Bases dissociate to release free hydroxyl ions (OH-) when mixed with water 
Strength Varies as per the concentration of the hydronium ionsDepending on the concentration of the hydroxide ions
Uses Carbonated drinks, processing leathers, preservatives, household cleaning, etc.  Used in soaps, toothpaste, medicines (especially as an antacid), to neutralise soil acidity, etc.
Examples H₂SO₄ (Sulphuric Acid)
HCl (Hydrochloric Acid)
H₂CO₃ (Carbonic Acid)
NH4OH (Ammonium Hydroxide)
Ca(OH)₂ (Calcium Hydroxide)
NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide)

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Examples of Acids and Bases

Following are the examples of acids and bases: 

Hydrochloric AcidPotassium Hydroxide (KOH)
Sulfuric AcidSodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
Nitric AcidBarium Hydroxide (Ba(OH)2)
Carbonic AcidCaesium Hydroxide (CsOH)
Formic AcidStrontium Hydroxide (Sr(OH)2)
Citric AcidCalcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH2)
Acetylsalicylic AcidLithium Hydroxide (LiOH)

Properties of Acids and Bases

Properties of Acids 

  • Acids are corrosive in nature
  • Acids are good conductors of electricity 
  • Their PH values are always 7
  • When reacted with metals, these substances produce hydrogen gas
  • Acids are sour-tasting substances

Properties of Bases 

  • They are found to have a soapy nature
  • These substances release hydroxide ions when dissolved in water
  • In aqueous solutions, bases act as a good conductor of electricity
  • Their PH values are always greater than 7
  • They are bitter tasting substances that have the ability to turn red litmus paper blue

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Physical Properties of Acids and Bases

The Physical properties of acids and bases are listed in the table below: 

Properties Acids Bases
ColourMineral acids are colourless liquids but sometimes sulphuric acid becomes yellow due to impurities. Some organic acids are white-coloured solids. Bases are colourless except for the hydroxides of iron and copper. 
Solubility Soluble in waterSome bases are soluble in water 

Chemical Properties of Acids and Bases

  1. The Reaction of Acids and Bases with Metals 
    H2SO4 + Zn → ZnSO4 +H2
    2NaOH + Zn → Na2ZnO2 + H2
  1. The Reaction of Metal Carbonates/Metal Bicarbonates with Acids
    Na2CO3 + HCl (aq) → 2NaCl (aq) + H2O (l) + CO2
  1. The Reaction of Metal Oxide with Acids
    CuO + 2HCl → CuCl2 + H2
  1. The Reaction of Non-metal Oxide with Bases
    CO2 + Ca (OH)2 → CaCO3 + H2O
  1. The Reaction between Acids and Bases
    NaOH + HCl → NaCl + H2O 

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Differences in Uses Between Acid and Base

Uses of Acids

Acids are used for a plethora of things such as: 

  • It is used for cleaning households.
  • It is used as a metal dissolver.
  • It’s used for industrial purposes, for example, sulfuric acid and nitric acid are both commonly used in paints, dyes, fertilizers, and explosives.
  • They are used to make batteries for flashlights and cars.
  • In the chemical industry, acids are used as neutralizers in the production of salts. 
  • They are used to ward off rust and corrosion from metals, by means of a technique termed pickling.

Uses of Bases

Bases are used for a plethora of things such as: 

  • Bases like Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is used in manufacturing soap, synthetic fiber rayon and paper.
  • Bases are also used in manufacturing some medicines and petroleum-refining, in cleaning sinks, ovens and drains.
  • They are used in toothpaste, fire extinguisher, and baking soda.
  • Bases like Calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) is used in the manufacture of bleaching powder. It is mixed with water and sand to create mortar that is used in the construction of buildings.
  • They are also used to clean grease stains from clothes.

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Acid vs Base: Safety 

Now that we are clear with the definition of acids and bases, it is important to know the difference between acid and base in terms of safety. students must know that both strong and weak acid and base can be injurious to health and can severely burn skin and eyes. Thus, it is vital to proceed with them with caution. Mentioned below are some important points related to it- 

  • Strong acids may have a pH of about 1 or less than one as per their concentration. Such as acids can be extremely dangerous as they are highly reactive. 
  • Strong bases that have a pH of about 13 or higher are used as bleaching powders.

Difference Between Acid and Base PPT

Credits – biologica.edu


What are the five differences between acid and a base?

Acids are sour in taste and Bases are bitter in taste
Acid turns blue litmus to red and Bases turn red litmus to blue
Acid is soluble in water while not all base is soluble in water
Acids have their chemical formula beginning with H while base starts with OH

What are 2 facts about acids and bases?

Acids and Bases can help neutralize each other
Acids turn litmus paper red and bases turn it blue.

What liquids are a base?

Common household chemical bases include ammonia, baking soda, and Iye. 

How is PH calculated?

To calculate the PH of an aqueous solution you need to know the concentration of hydronium ion in moles per litre. The PH is then calculated using the expression: 

pH = – log [H3O+]

Name a few examples of the base.

Sodium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, and potassium oxide are some of the examples of Base.

What are indicators?

Indicators are substances that change the solution or their colour due to changes in the pH level.

What is the taste of base?

Bases have a strong taste and are found in fewer foods than acids. Many bases are slippery to the touch, such as soaps. Bases also modify the colour of indicators.

Hopefully, through this blog that states the difference between acid and base, you are all clear about the topic. Reach out to our Leverage Edu experts and they will guide you in crucial decision making such as stream selection after class 10th. 

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