11Differences between Acid and Base(With Table)

Chemistry is the study of the properties of chemical substances. The branch of science is further subdivided into organic and inorganic chemistry. 

Inorganic chemistry deals with the study of inorganic substances and organic chemistry deals with organic compounds. Acids and bases are examples of substances studied under chemistry. 

So, what is the main difference between acid and base? The former strength relies on the concentration of hydrogen ions while the latter strength relies on the concentration of hydroxide ions. 

This article further provides the differences between acid and base in a tabular form. Take the time also to read about the similarities between acid and base. 

Comparison Table (Acid Vs Base)

Acids Bases
Have a pH of less than 7.0 Have a pH of more than 7.0
Substances that dissolve in water to produce hydrogen ions Substances that dissolve in water to produce hydroxyl ions
Are proton donors Are proton acceptors
Has sour taste Has bitter taste
Are sticky Are slippery
Changes blue litmus paper to red Changes red litmus to blue
Use as preservatives and fertilizers. Use to make gastric medicine, detergents, and soaps.
The chemical formula has H at the beginning The chemical formula has OH at the end
Phenolphthalein remain colorless Phenolphthalein turns to pink color from colorless.
Hydrochloric acid and Acetic acids are some examples Ammonium solution and sodium hydroxide are some of the examples

What Is Acid?

Acids are substances that donate protons and accept electrons from the other. Besides that, they have a pH of less than 7.0

Acids dissociate in water to release a cation and anion. The level of acidity is measured based on the number of hydrogen ions.

Therefore, there are some acids that are strong and others that are weak. Acetic acid is an example of weak acid while hydrochloric acids are an example of strong acids.

Here are some of the properties of acids:

  1. Have sour taste and corrosive in nature
  2. Have a pH of less than 7.0
  3. Turn blue litmus paper to red in color
  4. Dissociate in water to produce hydrogen ions
  5. React with carbonates to form carbon (IV) oxide, water, and salt
  6. React with metals to form water and salt only

What Is Base?

Bases are substances that donate electrons and receive hydrogen ions or protons. Besides that, these substances have a pH of more than 7.0.

Bases do not dissolve in water and in case this happens then they are alkalis. Bases react with acids to form a neutral solution.

There are two types of bases such as strong bases and weak bases. These substances react differently to carbonates and acids.

Here are some of the properties of bases:

  1. Have a pH of more than 7.0
  2. They are corrosive in nature
  3. React with acids to form a neutral solution
  4. All soluble bases have hydroxyl ions

Main Differences Between Acid and Base  

  1. Acids are substances that dissolve in water to increase hydrogen concentration while bases are substances that dissolve in water to increase hydroxyl ions.
  2. Acids are proton donors while bases are proton acceptors
  3. The chemical formula of acids has H at the beginning while bases have OH at the end
  4. Acids have sour tastes and sticky whereas bases are bitter and slippery
  5. Acids make Phenolphthalein retain its colorless color while bases make Phenolphthalein to turn pink in color
  6. The strength of acids depends on hydrogen ions concentrations while bases depend on hydroxyl ions concentration.
  7. Acids dissociate in water to give Hydrogen Ion as the only positive ion while bases dissociate to give hydroxyl ions as the only negative ion.
  8. An example of acids is acetic acid and hydrochloric acid while those of bases are sodium hydroxide and ammonium chloride.
  9. Bases do not react with metal while acids react with metals to produce hydrogen gas 
  10. The concentration strength of an acid depends on the number of hydronium ions while that of the base depending on the number of hydroxide ions. 
  11. Bases are used in the manufacture of soap, detergents, and gastric medicines while acids are used in the leather processing, manufacture of preservatives, and fertilizers. 

Similarities between Acids and Bases

  1. Both are electrolyte hence can conduct electricity in an aqueous state 
  2.  Both react with indicators to produce different colors 
  3. Both are soluble in water 
  4. Both produce salt and water when they react with each other 
  5. Both are chemical compounds 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Coffee An Acid or Base?

Coffee is neither an acid nor a base. But brewed coffee is acidic due to the presence of chlorogenic acid.

  • Is Milk an Acid or Base?

Milk is slightly acidic since it has a pH of around 6.5 to 6.7. However, many people drink milk or take calcium to treat acidic issues in the stomach.

  • Is Bleach Acid or Base?

Chlorine bleach is a strong base. It is made by mixing chlorine gas with a concentrated solution of sodium hydroxide to form sodium hypochlorite and sodium chloride.

  • Is Chlorine a Base or Acid?

Chlorine is neither a base nor an acid. It does not contain hydrogen ions. But when it reacts with water, it forms hydrochloric acid which is an acid. 

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Understanding both the physical and chemical characteristics is quite important. It helps to find out the differences between acid and base. Both acids and bases are quite important in our daily life not only for chemistry laboratories.

More Sources and References

  1. Acid-Base Reaction. Wikipedia 

  2. Sodium Hydroxide. Wikimedia 

  3. Arrhenius Acids and Bases. Khan Academy 

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