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Alkali vs. Acid: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 12, 2023
Alkalis are basic, often soluble in water, and have a pH greater than 7, whereas acids are substances that release hydrogen ions in water and have a pH less than 7.

Key Differences

Alkali substances, typically found in bases like sodium hydroxide, have properties like feeling slippery and turning litmus paper blue. While, acids, like hydrochloric acid, taste sour and turn litmus paper red. Both are key in chemical reactions but with opposite characteristics.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023
Alkalis are composed of alkali metals and hydroxide ions, effective in neutralizing acids. However, acids, composed of hydrogen and non-metal ions, react with metals and carbonates, often producing carbon dioxide.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023
The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a substance is. Alkalis have a high pH, above 7, indicating a basic nature. In contrast, acids have a low pH, below 7, signifying their acidic properties.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 12, 2023
Alkalis react with acids in neutralization reactions, forming water and a salt. Whereasd, acids can react vigorously with metals, releasing hydrogen gas and forming salts.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023
Alkalis are used in cleaning agents and soaps due to their ability to dissolve grease. Acids have diverse uses, including in batteries (sulfuric acid), food (citric acid), and industry (hydrochloric acid).
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023
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Comparison Chart

PH Value

Greater than 7 (basic)
Less than 7 (acidic)
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

Litmus Test

Turns litmus paper blue
Turns litmus paper red
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Dec 12, 2023

Taste

Usually tasteless or bitter
Sour
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

Reactivity

Reacts with acids to form salt and water
Reacts with bases, metals, and carbonates
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Common Examples

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), soap
Vinegar (acetic acid), lemon juice (citric acid)
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023
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Alkali and Acid Definitions

Alkali

Any substance having basic (as opposed to acidic) properties.
Baking soda, a common alkali, is often used in baking.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 21, 2023

Acid

A substance that increases the hydrogen ion concentration of a solution.
Lemon juice, an acid, adds a sour flavor to dishes.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Alkali

A substance with a pH higher than 7.
Ammonia, a strong alkali, is used in many household cleaners.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Acid

A molecule or other entity that can donate a proton or accept an electron pair in reactions.
Hydrochloric acid, a strong acid, is used in industrial cleaning.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Alkali

A chemical compound that neutralizes or effervesces with acids.
Soap, an alkali, is used for cleaning as it reacts with oil and grease.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Acid

A sour-tasting material typically corrosive to metals.
Vinegar, an acid, is commonly used in cooking and cleaning.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Alkali

A soluble salt obtained from the ashes of plants and consisting largely of potassium or sodium carbonate.
Potash, derived from plant ashes, is an ancient form of alkali.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 21, 2023

Acid

A substance with a pH less than 7.
Citric acid, found in citrus fruits, is known for its tangy taste.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Alkali

A base that dissolves in water.
Sodium hydroxide, an alkali, is used in drain cleaners.
Harlon Moss
Nov 21, 2023

Acid

A chemical substance that neutralizes alkalis.
Sulfuric acid, a potent acid, is used in car batteries.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Alkali

A carbonate or hydroxide of an alkali metal, the aqueous solution of which is bitter, slippery, caustic, and characteristically basic in reactions.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Acid

Any of a class of substances whose aqueous solutions are characterized by a sour taste, the ability to turn blue litmus red, and the ability to react with bases and certain metals to form salts.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

Any of various soluble mineral salts found in natural water and arid soils.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Acid

A substance that yields hydrogen ions when dissolved in water.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

Alkali metal.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

A substance having highly basic properties; a strong base.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

(chemistry) One of a class of caustic bases, such as soda, soda ash, caustic soda, potash, ammonia, and lithia, whose distinguishing characteristics are dissolving in alcohol and water, uniting with oils and fats to form soap, neutralizing and forming salts with acids, turning to brown several vegetable yellows, and changing reddened litmus to blue.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

(Western United States) Soluble mineral matter, other than common salt, contained in soils of natural waters.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

Soda ash; caustic soda, caustic potash, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

One of a class of caustic bases, such as soda, potash, ammonia, and lithia, whose distinguishing peculiarities are solubility in alcohol and water, uniting with oils and fats to form soap, neutralizing and forming salts with acids, turning to brown several vegetable yellows, and changing reddened litmus to blue.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

Soluble mineral matter, other than common salt, contained in soils of natural waters.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

Any of various water-soluble compounds capable of turning litmus blue and reacting with an acid to form a salt and water;
Bases include oxides and hydroxides of metals and ammonia
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Alkali

A mixture of soluble salts found in arid soils and some bodies of water; detrimental to agriculture
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

FAQs

Can acids and alkalis be harmful?

Yes, both can be corrosive and harmful, especially in high concentrations.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

What is an alkali?

An alkali is a substance that is basic, with a pH greater than 7, often soluble in water.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

What is a common household alkali?

Baking soda is a common household alkali.
Harlon Moss
Dec 12, 2023

Are alkalis always safe to touch?

No, some alkalis can be caustic and harmful to skin.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Do acids have a common taste?

Yes, acids typically taste sour.
Janet White
Dec 12, 2023

How is pH related to acids and alkalis?

pH measures the acidity or basicity; acids have low pH, and alkalis have high pH.
Harlon Moss
Dec 12, 2023

What is a common use of acids?

Acids are commonly used in food, like citric acid in lemons, and in cleaning products.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

Are all acids dangerous?

Not all; for example, vinegar and citric acid are commonly used and safe in low concentrations.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

What is an acid?

An acid is a substance that releases hydrogen ions in water and has a pH less than 7.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 12, 2023

How do alkalis react with acids?

Alkalis react with acids to form salt and water, a reaction known as neutralization.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

Can alkalis conduct electricity?

Yes, when dissolved in water, alkalis can conduct electricity.
Janet White
Dec 12, 2023

Are acids typically liquid?

Many acids are liquid, but some, like citric acid, can be solid.
Janet White
Dec 12, 2023

What are some industrial uses of acids?

Acids are used in manufacturing, cleaning, and in batteries.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 12, 2023

Are there strong and weak alkalis?

Yes, the strength varies based on their ability to dissociate in water.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

Can alkalis be found in food?

Yes, some foods, like certain vegetables, have alkaline properties.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

What is a natural source of acid?

Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are natural sources of citric acid.
Janet White
Dec 12, 2023

Can acids change the color of indicators?

Yes, acids can change the color of indicators like litmus paper to red.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

Can alkalis neutralize acids?

Yes, alkalis can neutralize acids, often used in antacids.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

What happens when alkalis are mixed with water?

Alkalis often dissolve, forming basic solutions.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 12, 2023

Is it safe to mix acids and alkalis?

Care should be taken as the reaction can be vigorous and produce heat.
Harlon Moss
Dec 12, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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