Difference Between Acids Bases & Salts


The pH level of a solution is determined by the amount of positive hydrogen ions and negative hydroxide ions present. Acids have a low pH, bases a higher pH. Typically, when an acid and a base are combined, water and a salt are formed.

pH test
pH test (Image: deyangeorgiev/iStock/Getty Images)

pH Level

The pH level is also known as the potential of hydrogen level. It’s the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The higher the number of positive hydrogen ions, the lower the pH.

pH level
pH level (Image: Shawn Hempel/iStock/Getty Images)


Acids, with their large amount of hydrogen ions, have an acidic, or sour, taste. Vinegar and grapefruit juice are two harmless acids. Hydrochloric acid is much more dangerous and may cause severe burns.

Grapefruit juice
Grapefruit juice (Image: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images)


Bases, or alkaline solutions, have a greater number of negative hydroxide ions. They have a slippery feel, like soap does, and are also characterized by a bitter taste. The addition of a base will decrease the acidity of a solution.

Bases have a slippery feel, like soap
Bases have a slippery feel, like soap (Image: Svanblar/iStock/Getty Images)


Salts and water are formed when an acid and base are combined and neutralized. The negative ions of the base and the acid form water and the positive ions form a salt compound.

Salt (Image: Ellie Bolton/iStock/Getty Images)


The body has a pH that is between 7.35 and 7.45. This nearly neutral pH is desired to keep cells functioning properly. The body regulates its own pH level constantly, keeping it within normal range, in a process called homeostasis.

pH level
pH level (Image: Sudo2/iStock/Getty Images)

Related Searches


  • The Human Body in Health and Illness; Barbara Herlihy, Ph.D., RN; 2003
  • Body Structures & Functions; Ann Senisi Scott; 2004
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