Acids and alkalis

A information leaflet about acids and alkalis

What Is An Acid?

A chemical substance (typically, a corrosive or sour-tasting liquid) that neutralizes alkalis, dissolves metal, and turns red in universal indicator.


What Is An Alkali

A carbonate or hydroxide of an alkali metal, It neutralizes acids to form salts and turn universal indicator blue / purple


What Is Universal Indicator

A Universal indicator is a pH indicator composed of a solution of several compounds that exhibits several smooth colour changes over a pH value range from 1-14 to indicate the acidity or alkalinity of solutions, red Being the most acidic and purple the most alkalic.



How Are Acids Used In Industry? (Sulphuric acid)

  • Sulphuric acid is used to wash impurities from fuel/ petrol during the refining process



  • It is also used in processing metals e.g. cleaning (pickling) iron and steel before being plated with zinc because




  • It is also a very strong oxidising agent and dehydrating agent

  • It is also a powerful dehydrating agent and is used to remove a molecule of Water, HO2, from many organic compounds







(Nitric Acid)

  • It forms the basis of explosives and also fertilizers the almost opposite of an explosive as it helps plants to grow.
  • Nitric acid can be used to manufacture components of trinitrotoluene (TNT) and also the so-called plastic explosive ‘Semtex’.
  • an agricultural fertilizer where it promotes vigorous growth in plants,
  • It can be used as an oxidizing agent in the production of some solid fuels for rocket propulsion as a component of rocket fuel acting as an oxidizer


(Hydrochloric Acid)

  • Hydrochloric acid is used in the production of chlorides
  • for refining ore in the production of tin and tantalum
  • for pickling and cleaning of metal products
  • in removing scale from boilers
  • in the manufacture of fertilizers and dyes
  • for hydrolyzing starch and proteins in the preparation of various food products
  • in the photographic, textile, and rubber industries


Sulfuric Acid Reacting With Sponge

Sulphuric acid vs a wet sponge - Stabalized