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Acids, Bases, and pH

Learn about acids and bases. Here are lecture notes, tutorials, definitions, study guides, tables, self-quizzes and other resources to make those acid-base and pH problems easier.

Acids, Bases and pH
Start here to learn about acids, bases and pH, including definitions and calculations.

Acid and Base Definitions
Learn Arrhenius, Bronsted-Lowry, and Lewis definitions of acids and bases. Lists of properties of acids and bases and common examples are provided.

Formulas of Common Acids & Bases
Here are the names and formulas of some of the common acids and bases. Learn how to apply prefixes and suffixes to name the acids and bases.

pH Basics
This is a quick overview of what pH is and how you can perform typical pH calculations.

Acids - Structures
This is an image gallery of the chemical structures of acids.

Strength of Acids and Bases
Learn about strong and weak acids and bases. Get definitions and examples of each type.

Balancing Redox Reactions
Get step-by-step instructions for balancing redox reactions for conservation of mass and charge in electrochemistry.

pH Scale
This is a color diagram of the pH scale. The pH of common chemicals is indicated.

Salt Formation Chemistry
Learn about the chemistry behind salt formation, including neutralization and hydrolysis reactions.

Titration Basics - Acids Bases and Buffers
Grasp the basic chemical concepts of titration, a technique used to determine the molarity of an acid or a base.

Amino Acid Structures
These are the structures for the twenty natural amino acids, plus the general structure for an amino acid.

Basics of Acids and Bases Quiz
How well do you understand the basic concepts of acids, bases, and pH? Here's a ten question multiple choice and true/false quiz you can take to test yourself.

Buffers are an important concept in acid-base chemistry. Here's a look at what buffers are and how they function.

Polyprotic Acids
There are many different types of acids. This is an introduction to polyprotic acids, with an example of the ionization steps of a polyprotic acid.

Calculating pH
Here is an example of an acid/base problem to calculate the pH of an aqueous solution where the concentration of H+ is known.

Calculating pH of a Strong Acid
Here is an example of an acid/base problem to calculate the pH of a strong acid.

Calculating pH of a Strong Base
Here is an example of an acid/base problem to calculate the pH of a strong base.

Calculating pH of a Weak Acid
Here is an example of an acid/base problem to calculate the pH of a weak acid solution of known concentration.

Henderson Hasselbalch Equation and Example
You can calculate the pH of a buffer solution or the concentration of the acid and base using the Henderson Hasselbalch equation. Here's a look at the Henderson Hasselbalch equation and a worked example that explains how to apply the equation.

Colored Soap Bubbles
Make brightly colored pink and blue soap bubbles that won't stain clothing or surfaces.

Disappearing Ink Instructions
Learn how to make blue or red ink that will disappear after exposure to air. Tips for restoring the color and an explanation of the acid-base chemistry of the reaction are also included.

Do You Add Sulfuric Acid to Water or Water to Sulfuric Acid?
It's important to add sulfuric acid to water and not water to concentrated sulfuric acid. Here's an explanation of why you don't want to make a mistake and some mnemonics that might help you remember how to play it safe in the chemistry lab.

Baggie Chemistry - Experiment with Chemical Reactions
Introduce students to chemical reactions and experimentation using common materials and baggies.

Chemistry Fun with Pennies
Use pennies, nails, and a few simple household ingredients to explore some of the interesting properties of metals. Clean the pennies chemically, make verdigris, and plate the nails with copper.

Home and Garden pH Indicators
Here's a list of common household substances and garden plants that can be used as pH indicators. Many of the active molecules, expected color changes, and pH ranges are listed.

Effect of Acids and Bases on the Browning of Apples
Perform an experiment to observe the effects of acids, bases, and water on the rate of browning of cut apples or other produce.

Fried Green Egg
Red cabbage juice contains a natural pH indicator that changes color from purple to green under basic (alkaline) conditions. You can use this reaction to make a fried green egg.

How to Make Red Cabbage pH Indicator
Make your own pH indicator solution! Red cabbage juice indicator is easy to make, exhibits a wide range of colors, and can be used to make your own pH paper strips.

Negative pH
Is it possible to have a negative pH value? If you are given the molarity of hydrogen ions of an acid that is greater than one, you'll calculate a negative pH value for the acid. Can that really happen? Here's the answer.

Neutralizing an Acid with a Base
This example demonstrates the method used to calculate the amount of an acid of known concentration needed to neutralize a base of known concentration.

pH of Common Chemicals
Here's a table of the pH of several common chemicals. You can use the list to set up color ranges for pH indicators or simply to learn more about acids and bases.

pH of Household Products Quiz
Do you know whether common household products are acids or bases? Here's your chance to test your knowledge. Can you answer all ten multiple choice questions correctly?

Phosphate Buffer
A phosphate buffer is a handy buffer solution to have around, especially for biological applications. Because phosphoric acid has multiple dissociation constants, you can prepare phosphate buffers for any of the three pHs.

Poinsettia pH Paper
You can make pH indicator from poinsettia flowers, then use the indicator to make your own pH paper test strips.

Rainbow Wand Chemistry Demonstration
An acid-base rainbow wand is an easy and colorful chemistry demonstration which illustrates the range of colors available for a pH indicator solution.

Red Cabbage pH Paper
Learn how to make your own pH indicator test strips using red cabbage. This is a fun, safe, and easy chemistry project that you can do at home.

Strong Acids
These are the strong acids. There are only sixstrong acids, so you might want to commit the list of strong acids to memory.

Strong Bases
Strong bases are bases which completely dissociate in water. Here is a list of the most common strong bases.

Titration Curves
Titration is a technique used in analytical chemistry to determine the concentration of an unknown acid or base. For all acids, the shape of the graph plotting pH against volume of base titrated fits the same general shapes.

Tris Buffer
Tris has a pKa of 8.1 so Tris buffer is made at pH 7 to pH 9. You can prepare this buffer at any concentration and any volume and use it to prevent large swings in the pH of a solution.

Water - Wine - Milk - Beer Chemistry Demo
Here's a color change chemistry demo in which a solution seems to change from water to wine to milk to beer simply be being poured into the appropriate beverage glass.

Water into Wine Demonstration
Turn a clear liquid into a red liquid, then back to clear again. This demonstration is commonly called turning water into wine or blood, and can be used to demonstrate acid-base indicators.

What Is the Difference Between Baking Powder & Baking Soda?
Learn about the difference between these two common cooking ingredients, the effect of substitutions, and find out how you can use baking soda to make your own baking powder.

What Is the Strongest Acid?
Do you know what the strongest acid is? I'll give you a hint. It's not hydrochloric acid nor is it sulfuric acid.

Why Cut Apples Pears Bananas and Potatoes Turn Brown
Learn why apples, pears, bananas, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables turn brown when they are cut or damaged.

Acids and Bases Problem Set
Their tutorials carefully explain their example problems. From the University of Arizona.

Acid-Base Chemistry
Definitions, explanations, and introduction to titrations. From the Shodor Education Foundation and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Acid/Base Tutorials
Principles of titration. From Shane L. Phillips, California State University at Stanislaus.

Chemical Equilibria – Acid/Base
Strong and weak acid/base explanations. From Liina Ladon, Towson University.

Chemical Equilibrium
Graphing the behavior of mono- and polyprotic acids. From Henry Bungay, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Difference Between Acids & Bases Using Different Indicators
This is a laboratory exercise in which students determine on their own how to classify acids and bases using litmus paper, pH paper, and indicator solution. It is intended for the 7th-8th grade level.

Explanation of Acid-Base Problems
Calculating pH from concentrations of acids/bases. From ChemTutor.

Notes on Acids and Bases
Short descriptions with examples and a Java applet that calculates [H+] and pH. From Gwen Sibert, Roanoke Valley Governor's School.

pH - Acid/Base Tutorial
Terminology, calculations, titrations, and buffers. From Anthony J. Frisby, Thomas Jefferson University.

Solving an Acid Base Problem
S.E. Van Bramer at Widener University presents this approach to solving acid base problems. He provides detailed instructions for identifying each species, writing out a list of all species present, dealing with the strong acid and strong base, and buffer problems.

Acid-Base Indicators
Learn about what an acid-base indicator is and choose an acid-base indicator from this comprehensive table of acid-base indicators, based on pH range or color change.

Common Oxoacid Compounds
Oxoacids are acids that contain an oxygen atom. They dissociate in solution by losing a hydrogen atom bonded to one of the oxygen atoms. This table lists common oxoacids and their associated anions.

Names of 10 Acids
Here is a list of ten common acids with chemical structures.

Names of 10 Bases
Here is a list of ten common bases with chemical structures.

Acid Solutions
Learn how to prepare common acid solutions using this handy table.

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