Base Meaning in Chemistry

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What is the Meaning of the Term Base?

In simple words, bases meaning is that it is the foundation of something that provides support to the thing which is built on it. But, the base meaning in chemistry is different. Base meaning in chemistry is that base is a chemical substance that is slippery to touch, tastes bitter, and changes the colour of indicators such as litmus paper. The base is a substance that reacts with acid.


Define Base, Chemistry

The word base has three different definitions in chemistry, and they are Arrhenius base, Bronsted base, and Lewis base. All the base definitions agree to the fact that bases react with acids.

 

Arrhenius Base 

Arrhenius base definition, chemistry defines base as a substance that gets dissociated in an aqueous solution to form hydroxide ions OH ̄. These hydroxide ions react with hydrogen ions to form water in an acid-base solution.


Bronsted Base

Bronsted base definition, chemistry defines base as a substance that can accept the hydrogen cations or protons. According to Bronsted, these substances that accept cations do not contain hydroxide ions, but they still react with water in order to increase the number of hydroxide ions.


Lewis Base

Lewis definition of base in chemistry defines base as a molecule with a high-energy pair of electrons that can donate a pair of nonbonding electrons to the acids that accept it and form an adduct. 


Properties of Bases

Here we have listed some general properties of basic substances or bases.

  • Bases are slippery substances.

  • Bases react with acid to form salt and water, the reaction of which is called a neutralization reaction.

  • Bases are a good conductor of electricity.

  • Bases tend to change the colour of litmus indicators, and they turn red litmus blue.

  • Bases tend to lose their basicity when they are added to acid.

  • Bases are bitter to taste.

  • Some bases are used as electrolytes such as sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide.

  • The pH value of bases ranges between 8-14.

  • Bases do not react with metals as acids do. 


Examples of Bases

Here we have included 10 examples of base and their use in day-to-day activities.


Bases

Uses

Sodium Hydroxide, NaOH

Sodium hydroxide is used in the production of soaps and detergents, and it is primarily used for drain cleaners.

Potassium Hydroxide, KOH

Potassium hydroxide is used in alkaline batteries.

Aluminium Hydroxide, Al(OH)₃

It is used in the purification of water and also used in antacids.

Ammonia, NH₃

Ammonia is used to synthesize many products of pharmaceuticals, and it is also used in the production of commercial cleaning products.

Magnesium Hydroxide, Mg(OH)₂

Magnesium hydroxide is used in the manufacture of deodorants and antacids.

Calcium Hydroxide, Ca(OH)

It is used in the manufacture of cement and lime water.

Lithium Hydroxide, LiOH

Lithium hydroxide is used in the production of lithium greases.

Barium Hydroxide, Ba(OH)

Barium Hydroxide is extensively used in the laboratories for titration of weak acids.

Sodium Bicarbonate, NaHCO₃

Sodium bicarbonate is used as baking soda in cooking.

Sodium Carbonate, NaCO₃

Sodium carbonate is used as a washing soda, and it is also used for softening hard water.


Types of Bases

Bases can primarily be divided into two types: Strong bases and Weak bases. Here we will study in detail both the types of bases.


Strong Base

A strong base can be defined as a chemical compound that has the capacity to remove a proton from a molecule of even a very weak acid in an acid-base reaction. A strong base is that which has the ability to completely dissociate in an aqueous solution to yield one or more hydroxide ions per molecule of the base. A strong base reacts with strong acid to form stable compounds.

Here some strong base examples.

  • Lithium Hydroxide LiOH

  • Sodium Hydroxide NaOH

  • Potassium Hydroxide KOH

  • Rubidium Hydroxide RbOH

  • Magnesium Hydroxide Mg(OH)₂

  • Barium Hydroxide  Ba(OH)

  • Calcium Hydroxide Ca(OH)

  • Strontium Hydroxide Sr(OH)


Weak Base

A weak base can be defined as a chemical compound that does not fully dissociate in an aqueous solution, or it can be said that the protonation in a weak base is always incomplete. When a weak base is added to an aqueous solution, it does not ionise entirely as a result of which the aqueous solution still contains a large number of undissociated molecules of the base. Now below, we will list some weak base examples. 

The following is a weak base example list.

  • Alanine

  • Ammonia

  • Methylamine

  • Ammonium Hydroxide  

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Alkalis? How are They Different from Bases?

Ans: In simple words, Alkalis are bases that dissolve in water. In chemistry, Alkalis are basic, ionic salt of an alkali metal. All alkalis are bases, but all bases are not alkalis, only the bases that dissolve in water are known as alkalis. The main work of a base is to neutralize an acid, but an alkali not only neutralizes the acids, but it also produces hydroxide ions. Alkalis are usually called the subset of bases. Bases never completely dissolve in water, but alkalis completely dissociate in water to produce hydroxide ions OH⁻.

2. What are Some Common Uses of Bases?

Ans: Bases have some common uses in our day to day lives, some of the uses of bases are as follows.

  • Bases like sodium hydroxide are used in the production of soaps, paper, and synthetic fiber like rayon.

  • Bases can be used as a catalyst in many chemical reactions.

  • Magnesium Hydroxide base is used in the manufacture of antacid as it helps in neutralizing the acid in the stomach.

  • Sodium Bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is used in cooking food. It is also used in fire extinguishers.