The origin of the word “acid” comes from Latin and refers to “acere” or “sour.” All acidic substances are sour as in vinegar, sour milk, and citric juices. On the other hand, the origin of the word “alkaline” is from Arabic and refers to “al-qily” or plant ashes. Chemically, acids are substances that donate hydrogen protons, and bases accept the proton which means both are polar opposites.
Fact 1. It was during modern times that the chemical nature of acids and bases was further diagnosed. The first scientist to analyze acids and bases was Lavoisier, who declared that oxygen, known as an acid maker, was the cause of acidity. Although he was wrong, the attempt has been recognized as the first, structured attempted study of acids and bases.
Fact 2. Lavoisier, in 1772, found that a combustion of phosphorous and sulphur when dissolved in water produced acidic solutions.
Fact 3. In 1772, the acid HCL, or hydrochloric acid, was discovered by Joseph Priestley. This was called muriatic acid originating from the Latin word “muria.” In 1779, Lavoisier summarized that the presence of oxygen in muriatic acid defined it as an acid.
Fact 4. According to the Acid Base theory of Bronstead and Lowry, acids and bases are substances capable of repelling or attracting hydrogen ions respectively.
Fact 5. The hydrogen ion is bonded to an acidic molecule requiring energy for the bond to be broken.
Fact 6. Bases are molecules which attract hydrogen ions from acidic molecules.
Fact 7. “Acidic properties” refer to sourness, red litmus color, conductor of electricity, neutralizing bases to form water and salt. Acids release hydrogen gas upon reaction with active metals.
Fact 8. Bases have alkaline characteristics such as: bitterness, slippery, blue litmus color, conductor of electricity, and neutralizes acids to form salts and water.
Fact 9. Acidic substances include: citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vinegar, carbonic acid used in soft drinks, and lactic acid from milk products. Common examples of bases include: detergents, soap, lye, and household ammonia.
Fact 10. The world’s strongest acid comes from the carborane superacids, considered to be a million times stronger that concentrated sulphuric acid.