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Properties of Bases

  1. Just like acids, bases are also corrosive in nature. If a strong base is poured on materials such as paper, wood or cloth, it destroys them. Strong bases can also burn the skin. Weak bases are very mild.
    For example, Milk of Magnesia, an antacid medicine that people take to get relief from excessive acidity in the stomach, is in fact magnesium hydroxide, a weak base.
  2. Bases Conduct Electricity
    When a base is dissolved in water it splits into ions. Due to the presence of ions the solutions of bases conduct electricity.
  3. Action of Base with Water
    When dissolved in water it should dissociate to form hydroxide ions. Since alkalis meet this condition, all alkalis are also bases. But alkalis have the additional requirement that they should be highly soluble in water. All bases do not meet this condition.  So, we can say that all alkalis are also bases, but the converse is not true. That is all bases are not necessarily alkalis.
    The more hydroxide ions a base produces, when dissolved in water, the stronger the base. Alkalis which dissociate more in water produce a lot of hydroxide ions. Alkalis are therefore strong bases. Examples of such alkalis are sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH).
    Ammonia solution (NH4OH) is an example of a weak base. When ammonia dissolves in water, only a small proportion of molecules dissociate into ammonium ions (NH4+) and hydroxide ions (OH-). So ammonia solution is a weak base.
  4. Action of Base with Non-metallic Oxide
    When calcium hydroxide, a base, is passed through carbon dioxide a non-metallic oxide calcium carbonate , a salt and water are produced.
    Ca(OH)2 + CO2(g) CaCO3(s) + H2O (l)
  5. Action of base with acid
    Bases react and neutralise acids to form new compounds called salts. Water is also formed.
    The reaction of an acid with a base to form salt and water is called neutralisation.

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