Q:

Is a substance that releases hydrogen ions in water called a base?

A:

Quick Answer

Substances that release hydrogen ions when dissolved in water are called acids, while those that release hydroxide ions are called bases. The relative concentrations of hydrogen and hydroxide ions in a solution determines how acidic or basic the solution is.

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Full Answer

The pH scale is a measure of acidity and runs from 0 to 14. A solution with:

  • Almost identical numbers of hydrogen and hydroxide ions is neither acidic nor basic, has a pH of 7 and is considered neutral.
  • More hydrogen than hydroxide ions has a pH less than 7 and is acidic.
  • More hydroxide than hydrogen ions has a pH greater than 7 and is basic.

When an acid is added to a basic solution, the hydrogen and hydroxide ions react to form water, and the pH of the solution changes.

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