How do bases work?

1 Answer
May 21, 2016

By wanting to take a proton


By now you must have learned about acids. Acids work by wanting to give a proton. It's strength is determined by how easily the substance gives that proton away. We see HCL. Chlorine is EXTREAMLY electronegative so it takes the hydrogens electron to fill its orbital.

Bases work just the opposite. They are weak or strong based upon how easily they can take a proton. This is where we see NaOH, Sodium Hydroxide. Sodium is not very electronegative but oxygen is also EXTREAMLY electronegative.

This is where we get a reaction between HCL and NaOH. When dissolved they both dissolve completely.

So in two solutions there is #H^+# and #Cl^-#. In the base solution we have #Na^+# and #OH^-#. The OH really wants a proton to make it less negative and bring it back to balance. this is where when we mix two extremely caustic and dangerous chemicals together we can get something every human can drink. OH and H make water and Na and Cl make salt. So we get salty water. This is a great demonstration to show how a strong acid and a strong base can be easily neutralized.