What Is a Base in Chemistry?

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According to Anne Helmenstine, Ph.D of About: Chemistry, bases are the chemical opposite of acids. Bases react with acids to form salts and water.

Bases are substances that act as the opposite of acids; if acids are proton donors, bases are proton acceptors; if acids are electron pair acceptors, then bases are electron pair donors, etcetera. A reaction between a base and an acid is called neutralization, in which two liquid solutions (one base and one acid) combine and react to create a solution of salt and water.

Properties of bases include:

  • Bitter taste
  • Slippery to the touch
  • Change the color of indicators
  • Conduct electric current in liquid solution form

Common bases include detergents, soap, lye and household ammonia.