Q:

What are the differences between a base and an alkali?

A:

Quick Answer

Alkali compounds are a type of base that dissolves in water; many types of bases do not dissolve in water, and so they are not alkali. Any type of base reacts with acid and neutralizes it. Most alkali compounds contain a hydroxyl group, which is a negative ion containing bonded oxygen and hydrogen.

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Full Answer

Bases and alkali substances are very common in both the natural environment and in daily use. Most toothpastes contain mild alkali substances, and baking soda is another alkali substance commonly encountered. Ammonia is an exception to the common pattern for alkali substances, as it is a water-soluble base without a hydroxyl group. Copper oxide is a relatively common base that is not water soluble, and thus it is not an alkali.

Any basic substance has a power of hydrogen, or pH, above 7.0, the pH of pure water. Acidic substances have a pH of below 7.0. Basic substances are basic because they are capable of accepting hydrogen ions, and hydrogen ions are what give acids their caustic properties. In the case of many alkali substances, the hydrogen ions bond with hydroxyl ions to create water. The non-hydroxyl portions of the bases often form salts with the remnants of the acids. In the case of ammonia, the hydrogen ion is accepted to form ammonium.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is a monoacidic base?

    A:

    According to Dictionary.com, a monoacidic base is a base that when dissolved in water produces one hydroxide ion or OH-, per molecule. In other words, a monoacidic base divides itself into two main components or molecules after reacting with water. One of the molecules is always a hydroxide ion and based on the definition of a monoacidic base, only one hydroxide ion is present.

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  • Q:

    What are some of the properties of acids?

    A:

    Some of the properties of acids are that they conduct electricity when they are dissolved in water, liberate hydrogen when they react with active metals and, when combined with a base, will produce a salt and a neutralized base. Acids also have a pH which is less than 7 in an aqueous solution, and will change the color of blue litmus paper to red. In an operational sense, acids increase the concentration of H+ ions when they are dissolved in water.

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  • Q:

    What ingredients are included in baking powder?

    A:

    Baking powder is made through the combination of an acid, a base and a filler. Baking soda, cream of tartar and corn starch are a common base, acid and filler combination, respectively, used to make baking powder.

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  • Q:

    What are some of the differences between acids and bases?

    A:

    One of the main differences between acids and bases is that acids have a pH that is less than 7 and bases have a pH that is greater than 7. When dissolved in water, acids are substances that will cause the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) to increase. Bases, when dissolved in water, will instead cause the number of hydroxide ions (OH-) to increase.

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