What are acids and bases?

What are acids and bases?

Optional Activity: Household acids and bases

Look around your home and school and find examples of acids and bases. Remember that foods can also be acidic or basic.

Make a list of all the items you find. Why do you think they are acids or bases?

Some common acids and bases, and their chemical formulae, are shown in the table below.





Hydrochloric acid


Sodium hydroxide


Sulfuric acid


Potassium hydroxide


Sulfurous acid


Sodium carbonate


Acetic (ethanoic) acid


Calcium hydroxide


Carbonic acid


Magnesium hydroxide


Nitric acid




Phosphoric acid


Sodium bicarbonate


Table: Some common acids and bases and their chemical formulae.

Most acids share certain characteristics, and most bases also share similar characteristics. It is important to be able to have a definition for acids and bases so that they can be correctly identified in reactions.

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This is a lesson from the tutorial, Acid-Base and Redox Reactions and you are encouraged to log in or register, so that you can track your progress.

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