Acids and Bases
Suki B.

Have you ever wondered what is in water? Well, you might be surprised by the answer. Most people think of acids as deadly, horrible chemicals. Sure, some of the acids might be dangerous, but not all are. Acids are in some of the foods we eat and the drinks we drink. Well, acids can be very helpful. Some acids like Ascorbic Acid are what Vitamin C is. We need it to live. Acids give different foods different tastes. For example, citric acid is what gives lemons and oranges their sour or tangy taste. Although, there are some bad acids to, for example Sulfuric Acid is very dangerous and can eat through metals. Bases are the opposite of acids. Bases are mostly in things like laundry detergent, dish soap, and cleaning supplies. Bases have a bitter taste. Scientists found that out because a little boy once ate a bar of soap thinking it was candy, then, told his mother it tasted bitter.

Acids are made up of hydrogen ions. In chemistry, the sign for acids is H+, also showing that it is a positively charged chemical. Bases are made up of hydroxides, and the sign for bases is OH-, showing that it is a negatively charged element. In water acids react heavily and get “worked up” and react vigorously. Bases, on the other hand, when put in water, don’t Acids and Bases Diagram - Research the Topic 2012.jpgat all; they just “stay calm”. Scientists and chemists both use this technique to tell chemicals apart. The answer, well, water contains acids and bases. When acids and bases mix they cancel each other out and neutralize the liquid, making it completely safe, also making water. OH- + H+= H2O, which is the formula for water. You might be thinking that water is now really unsafe to drink, or that you have been drinking poison, you have not though. For acids and bases to create water there must be an equal amount of each chemical. For instance, if there are more acids then bases you could be drinking a little bit of acid, or
visa-versa. Acids and bases cancelled out make regular water, not the least bit harmful.

pH measures how active the chemical is. The higher the pH number the less active the chemical is. A base is a scientific way to say a chemical with a pH
pH paper in acids and bases.jpg
from 7 to 14. An acid, though, is a chemical with a pH from 0 to 7. Universal pH paper is a special type of paper that can tell what chemical something is. When you stick the universal pH paper into pH is used a lot in chemistry. Not only do scientists put chemicals in water to test, they also measure the pH which is a lot more reliable, but both work.

Acids are smooth like water while bases are slippery like soap. Acids are thin and liquid like while bases are thicker and stickier. Bases aren’t always harmful to your skin, but strong acids can be very harmful and eat through your skin. Although, bases you can’t eat because you could get poisoned but acids are in some of the foods and things you need to eat to live. When you stick the Universal pH paper into a chemical it will come out a different color, different colors represent different chemicals. Chemists and Scientists use this pH paper as well as the other techniques to tell different chemicals apart. When the universal pH paper is in acids it turns red or pink. When it is in bases it turns blue or purple. Acids and bases take a bigger part in our life then you think. They give us clean clothes, water, some tastes, and some vitamins. Acids and Bases are very important to every human being.

Glossary of Terms:

Acids: A chemical with a pH between 0 and 7.

Bases: A chemical with a pH between 7 and 14.

Hydrogen ions: The element that makes up acids.

H+: The sign used in chemistry to represent am acid or hydrogen ion.

Hydroxides: The element that makes up bases.

OH-: The sign used in chemistry to represent a base or hydroxide.

Chemical: Something with more than one element.

Scientists: Someone who studies science.

Chemists: Someone who studies chemistry.

H2O: The formula for water, or, the formula of acids and bases together.

pH: A system that measures the activity of the chemical.

Universal pH paper: A special paper used to tell chemicals apart.


Elements of Chemistry: Acids, Bases, and Salts Discovery Education, 2003. Full Video.Discovery Education. Web. 27 Sept. 2012.
Green, Dan. “Nasty Boys.” Chemistry. New York: Kingfisher, 2010. Print.
Newmark, Ann. “Acids and Bases.” Chemistry. 1st American ed. London: Dorling Kindersley,1993. Print.
“The Material World.” The Material World. Web. 27 Sept. 2012.