Q:

What is the importance of acids and bases?

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Quick Answer

Acids are used in industries to manufacture fertilizers, paints, dyes and man-made fibers, while bases are used in the production of fabrics, cleaning agents and paper. In nutrition, diluted acids are used to dress salads and vegetables, giving food a distinctive taste. For example, vinegar contains 3 percent acetic acid. Citrus fruits have citric acid. Aspirin contains acetylsalicylic acid, and wine has tartaric acid.

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What is the importance of acids and bases?
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Full Answer

Acids are present in the stomachs of humans to help with the digestion of food. The absence of acids in the proper levels may cause indigestion and bloating. However, too much acid is dangerous, as it may corrode the stomach lining. However, antacids manufactured from bases can be used to neutralize the excess acid.

Bases have a bitter taste and are not recommended for human consumption. However, some substances containing nitrogen-rich bases such as caffeine and nicotine are frequently used by humans. In addition, tonic water draws its bitter taste from the alkaloid quinine. Bases are used in cleaning detergents for their characteristic slippery nature. Sodium hydroxide in lye effectively dissolves protein and grease and is commonly used in cleaning products and lotions.

In the ocean, a balanced water pH level is essential for supporting the lives of animals and plants.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do acids and bases differ?

    A:

    Acids and bases differ in that acids release free hydrogen ions when they are dissolved in water. Bases accept those hydrogen ions and form acid salts.

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  • Q:

    What are neutral substances?

    A:

    Neutral substances are chemicals that have no properties of either acids or bases, have equal parts hydrogen and hydronium ions and don't change the color of litmus paper or other acid-base indicators. Neutral substances include water, glucose solutions and salt solutions. These chemicals have a pH of 7.0 on a scale of 14. In terms of toxicity, neutral substances are generally harmless to the touch.

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  • Q:

    What are some acids that react with metals?

    A:

    Some acids that react with metals are sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and nitric acid. The most common metals that react with acids are iron, lead, magnesium and zinc.

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  • Q:

    What are the smaller subunits that make up nucleic acids?

    A:

    Nucleic acids are made of subunits called nucleotides. These consist of a nitrogenous base, pentose and a phospate group. The two types of nucleic acids are DNA, which stores genetic data, and RNA, which codes amino acids and transfers information between DNA and ribosomes.

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