How to Differentiate Acids from Bases?

Acids and Bases

In the field of chemistry, acids and bases play a predominant role. Everyone can come across these acids and their bases in day to day life. Some examples of acids and bases include cleaning agents, baking soda, detergents, etc., and many more. So, let us have a distant discussion about acids, bases and their differences.

Definitions of Acid 

An acid is defined as a substance or molecule present in an advanced solution with a pH value between 0 to 7. Assets act as proton donors. Several chemists had defined Acid and Base in different ways.

If the substance can break the aqueous solution to form hydrogen ions and donate H ions, it is an acid or a proton donor.

H (aq) OH- (aq) H₂O (l)

Properties of an Acid:

  • Acids are good conductors for electricity.
  • Acids can change the blue litmus paper into red.
  • The majority of the acids are available in the solid state.
  • Acids are sour.
  • The pH value always lies between 0 to 7. So the acids have low pH.
  • With the reaction of metals, acids may produce hydrogen ions.

Types of Acids

Based on the dissociation of ions in water, an acid can be classified into two types. One is a strong acid, and the other is a weak acid.

Strong Acid- If an acid can completely dissociate into ions in water, that is a strong acid. We have six strong acids in chemistry. They are:

  • HCL (hydrochloric acid)
  • HClO₃ (chloric acid)
  • HBr (hydrobromic acid)
  • HNO₃ (nitric acid)
  • HClO₄ (perchloric acid)
  • HI (hydroiodic acid)

Weak acid- If an acid can dissociate into ions partially in the water, that acid is said to be a weak acid. Hydrofluoric acid is one of the examples of a weak acid.

Definition of a Base

Alkaline metal hydroxide, soap etc., or the examples for bases. These are entirely in contrast to the assets. The base is a substance that receives protons from donors and donates electrons. When bases are reacted with water, they release hydroxide ions.

Properties of a Base

  • A base always has a high pH value. Its pH value lies between 7 to 14.
  • Bases are bitter.
  • It changes blue litmus paper into phenolphthalein pink, methyl orange-yellow and remains constant in some cases.
  • Bases receive protons and donate electrons.

Types of Bases

Based on its reactivity with water, there are five different types of bases in chemistry. They are as follows-

Strong Base- In any compound, a strong base is a base that completely dissociates into ions in water. It also releases hydroxide ions. Potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide etc., are examples of strong bases.

Weak Base- Weak bases are also completely dissociated into ions in water. But they don’t release any hydroxide ions. The solution itself is an example of a weak base.

Solid Base- When a base reacts with a gaseous substance, it is said to be a Solid Base. Because it takes solid form in this reaction, silicon dioxide is one of the examples of solid bases.

Neutral Base- Neutral bases are different from other bases. They do not react with water or acids and form a bond with the neutral acid.

Super Base- Compared to a strong base, the super bases are formed by reacting to the conjugate acid and alkali metals. The result information of hydride. Sodium hydride is the best example of super bases.

Differentiation of Acids and Bases

Both acids and bases are beneficial in our day-to-day lives. Though both acids and bases have pH value, reactivity with water etc., they are entirely different. Each difference can be listed below.

Basis Acid Base
Definition of Arrhenius According to Arrhenius, an acid is a chemical compound that reacts with water and releases hydrogen (H ) ions. According to Arrhenius, an aqueous substance or base donates hydroxide ions (OH-) and receives protons from weak acids.
Definition of Bronstead Lowry Barnstead Lowry defines an acid as a proton donor. Barnstead Lowry defined a base as a proton receiver and an electron donor.
PH value The pH value of acid lies between 0 to 7. The pH value of baselines is between 7 to 14.
Litmus test paper Acid changes blue litmus paper into red. Base changes red litmus paper into blue. It also changed to phenolphthalein pink and methyl orange-yellow.
Dissociation Acids dissociate into ions and release hydrogen (H ) ions. Bases can dissociate into ions and release hydroxide (OH-) ions.
  • Acids are sour.
  • Based on temperature, acids are available in solid, liquid, gaseous States.
  • Bases are bitter.
  • Bases are available in gaseous states and solid states. Some bases are available in semi-solid, which is like a slippery texture.
Chemical formula Except for CH₂COOH, all the acid’s chemical formulas were started with H. The chemical formula of all the bases may end with OH.
Phenolphthalein When acids dissolve completely, it remains a colourless solution. When bases are dissolved completely, it forms a pink solution.
Strength Based on the concentration of hydronium ions, acid strength may increase in parallel. Similarly, the concentration of hydroxide ions decides the strength of bases.
  • Used as cleaning agents.
  • Using manufacturing fertilisers, dyes etc.
  • Used to dissolve strong metals.
  • Used in the preparation of batteries, processing minerals etc.
  • Helps to produce salts and neutralise solutions.
  • Used in manufacturing soaps, toothpaste, paper etc.
  • Bleaching powder, baking soda, slaked lime etc., were produced using bases.
  • Used as removal of grease and oil stains.
  • Used to refine petroleum products.
  • Used in medicines.
  • HCL (hydrochloric acid)
  • HClO₃ (chloric acid)
  • HBr (hydrobromic acid)
  • HNO₃ (nitric acid)
  • HClO₄ (perchloric acid)
  • HI (hydroiodic acid)
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Ammonium hydroxide
  • Calcium hydroxide etc.
Physical nature Acids are corrosive substances in nature. Bases are slippery substances in nature.



Both acids and bases play a vital role in our day-to-day lives. Different types of acids and bases may react with various chemicals to produce different substances. Acids are treated as proton donors. On the other hand, bases are treated as electron donors and proton acceptors. To understand the uses of acids and bases, you should have the proper knowledge to use them in perfect proportions.

Must Read : Early Exams Or A Long Vacation are Assured