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Defining Acids and Bases


    1.    State the Bronsted-Lowry definition of acids and bases.

    2.    Identify the common physical and chemical properties of acids and bases.

Key Terms:

    acid        base        indicator        neutralization reaction        salt        hydronium ion        amphoteric        conjugate acid        conjugate base

Notes: (18.1)

Two important classes of compounds are acids and bases.  Although they may appear identical in water, they have very different properties.

  Acid Base
Taste sour tasting - lemon bitter tasting - aspirin
Touch feel like water on skin feel slippery on skin
Reaction on metal reacts with metal does not react with metal
electrical conductivity electrolyte - good conductor electrolyte - good conductor
indicator turns litmus red turns litmus blue
Neutralization neutralized when mixed with a base to form a salt neutralized when mixed with an acid to form a salt


Although we now know some of the basic properties of acids and bases, we still need to know what an acid is.  There are two basic definitions that you need to know.

Arrhenius Definition

An acid is a substance that releases (dissociates) Hydrogen ions (H+) in water
An base is a substance that releases (dissociates) Hydroxide ions (OH-) in water

Bronsted-Lowry Definition

An acid is a proton (H+) donor
A base is a proton acceptor




Last modified: April 08, 2003