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  • Writer's pictureGilbert HT

Home Tuition for IGCSE Chemistry: Understanding Acids and Bases

Updated: Mar 11, 2023

If you're looking for an effective way to get up to speed on IGCSE Chemistry Acid and Base concepts, then this home tuition and online tuition guide is perfect for you! With a comprehensive introduction to acids, bases and indicators, gain the knowledge you need to excel in your courses and feel confident in your understanding of these key concepts.

#1 What are Acids and Bases?

Acids and bases are two important types of molecules found throughout the world, with many everyday applications. An acid is a compound that releases hydrogen ions (H+) when dissolved in water, while a base is a compound that releases hydroxide ions (OH–) when dissolved in water. Acids and bases react with each other, making them useful for tasks such as neutralizing pH levels or acting as cleaning agents. Based on bronsted lowry theory, acid is a proton acceptor whereas alkali is a proton acceptor.

#2 Strong and Weak Acids and Bases

In general, acids and bases can be categorized as either strong or weak. Strong acids and bases are those that completely divide their molecules into ions when dissolved in water, whereas weak acids and bases only partially divide into ions when dissolved. In turn, this affects the pH of a solution - strong acids and bases have the most significant effect on the pH level, while weak ones have very little effect. Strong acid or base is defined as molecules that dissociate in water completely to form high concentration of hydrogen or hydroxide ions. Strong and weak acids have pH 0-2 and 3-6 respectively. On the other hand, strong base or weak base have pH 8-9 and 10-14 respectively.

#3 Calculating pH of Solutions

When determining the pH of a solution, you must first identify whether the substance in question is an acid or a base, and then use the appropriate mathematical formula to calculate its exact pH level. For strong acids, the calculation is relatively straightforward - simply deduct the amount of Hydrogen ions (H+) from the total number of ions. For strong bases, the calculation involves adding up all Hydroxide ions (OH-), plus one for every ion present in solution. Finally, for weak bases and acids, calculations should be made with respect to their related concentrations.

#4 Properties of Acids and Bases

Acids and bases can be characterized by common properties. Strong acids and bases are corrosive to some materials, turn litmus paper blue for bases and red for acids, produce carbon dioxide when reacted with metals, and become neutralized when combined in equal proportions. Weak acids and bases exhibit fewer of these traits - they often react more slowly, do not conduct electricity as easily, and may not change the colour of litmus paper. Understanding these properties is essential to correctly measuring acidity or alkalinity through pH calculations.

#5 Neutralization Reactions

Neutralization reactions occur when a strong acid and base (or weak acid and base) combine in equal proportions, forming a salt and water. Water molecules are produced along with the salt, often in equal amounts, to help balance the reaction. Neutralization is an important part of chemistry as it allows us to accurately measure the acidity or alkalinity of a solution through pH calculation. Knowing how and why neutralization reactions occur can help you excel in IGCSE Chemistry. In overall, neutralisation reaction is a type of exothermic reactions which releases energy or heat to surroundings.

#6 Understand the Basics of Indicators.

Indicators are substances that change color in response to an acid or alkali. They can indicate the presence of an acid or alkali and also tell you information about the strength of the acid or alkali. Learning how to use and interpret indicators is key when learning IGCSE Chemistry. Understanding indicators can help you to identify different types of acid-alkali reactions, as well as have a better grasp of pH levels. Indicators such as litmus, methyl orange or thymolphthalein respond differently towards acids and bases.

#7 Explore Neutralization Reactions and Examples of Neutralization Reactions in Everyday Life.

Neutralization reactions occur when an acid and alkali react with each other to form a salt, and sometimes water too. An example of neutralization reaction in everyday life is when baking soda and vinegar mix to form bubbles (carbon dioxide). Through home tuition you will learn more about pH levels and examples in everyday life.

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