For an explanation, see the main splats page
SPLATS about acids and alkalis
The principles of acids and alkalis
- An acid can be regarded for practical purposes as a proton donor, while an alkali, sometimes called a base, can be thought of as a proton acceptor.
- In 1884, Svante Arrhenius and Wilhelm Ostwald independently defined acids as substances which release hydrogen ions when they are dissolved in water.
- In 1923, Johannes Bronsted defined acids as substances acting as proton sources, and bases as substances acting as proton acceptors, regardless of the solvent.
- Neutralization is the reaction of an acid with an alkali, and in essence, it involves hydrogen ions combining with hydroxyl ions to form water.
- Acids and alkalis are of different strengths as measured on the pH scale, which is a logarithmic scale based on the concentration of hydrogen ions.
- The pH of a solution may be assessed with indicators, which are organic dyes that can add or lose hydrogen ions, and then change colour as a result.
- Robert Boyle described in his 'experimental History of Colours' how some vegetable dyes change colour in acids and alkalis and introduced litmus.
- As a general rule, acids react with metals, releasing hydrogen. To be more precise, the stronger acids react with the more active of the metals.
- A buffer solution is one that retains a fairly constant pH, even when acid or base is added to the solution, because it is able to absorb or donate protons.
- Some parts of the world are troubled by acid rain, an effect which is caused when acidic gases produced by burning fuels react with water vapour.
- Carbon dioxide in water can dissolve limestone. Caves may be formed when limestone is dissolved to make hydrogen carbonate ions which can be taken elsewhere.
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