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Arrhenius' Definition of Acids and Bases

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Acids and Bases

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Arrhenius' Definition of Acids and Bases


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You will get to go through laboratory simulations, explore the basic properties of acids and bases and learn how to name them as well as identify acid-base reactions.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Define Arrhenius acids and bases.
  • Recount the history of acids and bases.

Everything You'll Have Covered

When were the first acids and bases discovered, and how were they used?

~ The first base discovered was soap. It was made in ancient Egypt 1500 years ago by combining sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide, which were obtained by heating ash, slaked lime, and water. In the eighth century, potassium nitrate and sulfuric acid were dissolved in water to produce nitric acid, which was used to treat gold and platinum.

What did Robert Boyle observe about acids and bases in the seventeenth century?

~ Robert Boyle observed that acids taste sour and bases are slippery to the touch.

What was Arrhenius' definition of acids and bases?

~ Arrhenius deduced that when acids and bases dissolve in aqueous solutions, they become ions. Acids give off hydrogen ions, and bases give off hydroxide ions in aqueous solutions.

What was inadequate about Arrhenius' definition of acids and bases?

~ Arrhenius' definition of acids and bases only defined them in relation to water. He could not explain why some hydrogen-bearing molecules did not show acidic properties, and why some molecules that did not contain the hydroxide group showed base properties.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be able to define acid, Arrhenius, and base.
Course Chemistry
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary acid, Arrhenius, base