Difference Between Acids and Bases

In Chemistry, we can’t deny the importance of acids and bases. Along with Chemistry, acids and bases also play a vital role in other fields of life. Acids and bases are present everywhere around us. These are present in the soaps that we use during the shower. They are also present in the kitchen in the form of citric acid and vinegar. Lactic acid and citric acid are the most important examples of acids. On the other hand, bleach and ammonia are examples of bases. As acids and bases are present at all the places around us. That’s why it is difficult for us to know the difference between acids and bases.

Difference between Acids and Bases

Acids and bases are different from each other based on various factors. Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowery and Lewis have also provided their concepts about acids and bases. By learning these concepts, we can also understand the difference between these two terms.

Difference between acids and bases

1. Difference between Acids and Bases based on Lewis Concept

Lewis has differentiated between the acids and bases based on the acceptance and donation of the electron pairs. According to Lewis, if a specie can accept an electron pair, this specie is an acid. On the other hand, if a specie can donate an electron pair, it is known as a base.

2. Difference between Acids and Bases based on Arrhenius Concept

Arrhenius has also provided the concepts of acids and bases. He has provided this difference based on the Hydrogen ions and Hydroxyl ions. According to Arrhenius, if we mix a substance with the water and it produces a Hydrogen ion, we call it the acid. On the other hand, if we mix a substance with the water and it produces a Hydroxyl ion, we can call it the base.

3. Difference between Acids and Bases based on Bronsted-Lowery Concept

Bronsted-Lowery has also provided the concepts of acids and bases. He has provided the concepts of acids and bases based on the donation and acceptance of the protons. If a substance can donate a proton to another substance, it is an acid. On the other hand, if a substance can accept a proton from another substance, it is a base.

4. Strength

No doubt, acids and bases both have their strengths. Different factors become the cause of the strength of the acids and bases. The strength of an acid is due to the concentration of the hydrogen ions. On the other hand, the strength of the base is due to the concentration of the hydroxyl ions.

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5. Difference between Physical Natures of Acids and Bases

We can also differentiate between the acids and bases by analyzing their physical natures. If a substance is corrosive, it is an acid. On the other hand, if a substance has a slippery nature, it is a base.

6. Taste

By checking the taste of a substance, we can also tell either it is an acid or a base. The sour taste of a substance shows that it is an acid. The bitter taste of a substance shows that it is a base.

7. Examples

There are different examples of the acids and bases. Acetic acid and Sulphuric acid are the best examples of the acids. Ammonia and Sodium Hydroxide are examples of the bases.

8. Test with Litmus

If we have a substance and we don’t know either it is an acid or a base, we can also tell either it is an acid or a base by testing it with litmus. If the substance turns the blue litmus paper into the red during the test, it is an acid. On the other hand, if a substance turns red litmus paper into blue, it is a base.

9. Difference between Dissociations of Acids and Bases

We can easily dissolve both acids and bases in the water. When we dissolve an acid in the water, it releases a Hydrogen ion. On the other hand, if we dissolve a base in the water, it releases hydroxyl ion.

10. Dissociation constant

It is a fact that different substances have different dissociation constants. If we observe the dissociation constant of a strong acid, we will know that it is -2. On the other hand, if we analyze the dissociation constant of a base, we will know that it is 12.

11. PH Value

To check the acidic or basic nature of a substance, we can also check its PH value. As we know that the PH value of water is 7. In the case of acids and bases, we consider it as the neutral PH value. If the PH value of a substance is less than 7, it is an acid. On the other hand, if the PH value of a substance is greater than 7, it is a base. The strongest acid has the PH value 1. The PH value of the strongest base is 14.

12. Test with Phenolphthalein

Phenolphthalein is a chemical compound that is used as an indicator for the titration of the acids and bases. It means that we can also check the acidic or basic nature of a substance by using this chemical compound. If we mix this compound in the acidic solutions, it turns colourless. On the other hand, if we mix this compound in the basic solutions, it turns pink.

13. Test with Methyl Orange

We can also use methyl orange for the acid-base titration. If we mix it in the acidic solutions, it will turn red. On the other hand, if we mix it in the basic solutions, it will turn orange.

14. Test with Universal Indicator

The universal indicator is a PH indicator. We make it by mixing the solutions of the various compounds. We can also use it for the acid-base titration. If we mix a substance in the universal indicator, its colour will be changed. The yellow and red colours of the universal indicator will show that it is an acidic solution. On the other hand, the blue and violet colours will indicate that it is a basic solution.

15. Reactions with the Metals

The acids will react with the metals to give hydrogen gas. On the other hand, the bases will not react with the metals.

16. Physical State

The acids can exist in all the three forms of the matter. It means that the acids exist in the solid, gas and liquid states based on their temperatures. Almost all the bases are found in the solid-state. Ammonia is also a base but it doesn’t exist in the solid form because it exists in the basic form.

17. The difference in uses of acids and bases

We use acids and bases for various purposes. We use acids for household cleaning, for industrial purposes, in the batteries and the chemical industry. There are also some uses of the bases. We use bases for the manufacturing of soap, in the toothpaste, for manufacturing of bleaching powder and to clean the grease stains.

FAQs about the difference between acids and bases

Q1. What will happen when we chemically react an acid with a base?

When we react an acid with a base, this process is known as neutralization. As a result of the neutralization, salt and water are produced. For example, if we react to Hydrochloric acid with Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Chloride and water will be produced. Sodium Chloride is salt. The whole process is known as neutralization.

Q2. Why acids are also known as proton donors?

While discussing the difference between acids and bases, we have discussed that an acid is a substance that can donate a proton. On the other hand, a base is a substance that can accept a proton. That’s why we can say that an acid is a proton donor and a base is a proton acceptor.

Q3. Are strong acids and concentrated acids the same?

The water content in the acids decides its concentration level. Therefore, we can say that the concentration of an acid depends upon the water content in it. On the other hand, we measure the strength of acid based on its dissociation power. As we are using two different techniques to know the strong and concentrated acids, that’s why they may be different from each other.

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