Difference Between Acid and Base

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 the 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 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

Examples of Acids and Bases

Following are the examples of acids and bases: 

Acids Bases
Hydrochloric Acid Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)
Sulfuric Acid Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
Nitric Acid Barium Hydroxide (Ba(OH)2)
Carbonic Acid Cesium Hydroxide (CsOH)
Formic Acid Strontium Hydroxide (Sr(OH)2)
Citric Acid Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH2)
Acetylsalicylic Acid Lithium Hydroxide (LiOH)

Difference Between Acid and Base in Tabular Form

Now that you are familiar with the concept and properties of Acids and Bases, let us understand the difference between Acid and Base on some parameters.  

Categories  Acids Bases 
Bronsted-Lowry Concept    Lewis Acids are the substances which accept the pair of electrons and will always have empty orbitals Lewis Bases are the substance which donates pair of electrons and will always have lone pair of electrons
Lewis Concept Acids are always proton donors  Bases are proton acceptors 
Arrhenius Concept  As per this concept, Acid whenever dissolves with water increases the concentration of  H+ ions Bases whenever dissolves with water increases the concentration of O H+ ions
Chemical Formula Acids 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 Characteristics Gives burning sensation
Sour in taste
Sticky in nature
Bitter in taste
Slippery in nature 
pH Scale  Ranges between 0-7 Ranges between 7-14
Litmus Test When dipped in the base, turns blue litmus to red Turns red litmus blue, when dipped in an acid
Phenolphthalein Indicator Colourless Shows pink colour
Reaction With Water Acids 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 ions Depends on the concentration of the hydroxide ions
Examples  H₂SO₄ (Sulphuric Acid)
HCl (Hydrochloric Acid)
H₂CO₃ (Carbonic Acid)
NH4OH (Ammonium Hydroxide)
Ca(OH)₂ (Calcium Hydroxide)
NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide)
Uses  Carbonated drinks, processing leathers, preservatives, etc.   Soaps, medicines (especially as an antacid), to neutralise soil acidity, etc.

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

Physical Properties of Acids and Bases

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

Properties  Acids  Bases
Colour Mineral acids are colorless liquids but sometimes sulphuric acid becomes yellow due to impurities. Some organic acids are white-colored solids.  Bases are colorless except for the hydroxides of iron and copper. 
Taste Sour Bitter
Touch Slippery
Solubility  Soluble in water Some 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 

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.

Acids and Bases Project

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 liter. The PH is then calculated using the expression: 

pH = – log [H3O+]

Name a few examples of 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 color due to changes in the pH level.

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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