Show that Acids, Bases, and Salts are Electrolytes


To show that acids, bases, and salts are electrolytes.




Acids are a class of substances characterized by their ability to donate protons (hydrogen ions, H+) to other substances. They are often defined as proton donors and typically have a sour taste. Acids can be categorized as strong or weak based on their ability to dissociate entirely or partially in an aqueous solution. 

When an acid dissolves in water, it releases positively charged hydrogen ions. In chemical reactions, these hydrogen ions can interact with other substances, such as bases or metals. The concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution is used to determine the acidity of a solution and is measured using the pH scale, which ranges from 0 to 14. A pH value of 7 is considered neutral, while values less than 7 are acidic. Acid reacts with some metals (e.g., iron, zinc, aluminum to liberate hydrogen. 

Common examples of acids include hydrochloric acid (HCl), sulfuric acid (H2SO4), nitric acid (HNO3), and acetic acid (CH3COOH). Acids play essential roles in various chemical processes, such as food digestion, industrial processes, and chemical reactions. 


A base is a substance that can accept a proton (H+) or donate an electron pair in a chemical reaction. Bases are commonly characterized by their ability to neutralize acids, forming water and salt. They typically have a bitter taste and a slippery feel.  

Bases are often classified into two categories based on their solubility in water: 

  1. Strong Bases: These are highly soluble in water and completely dissociate to produce hydroxide ions (OH-) in the solution. Examples include sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH). 
  2. Weak Bases: These are partially soluble in water and do not completely dissociate. They produce fewer hydroxide ions in the solution. Ammonia (NH3) is a typical example of a weak base. 

Bases are essential in various chemical reactions and have a wide range of applications, including the production of soaps and detergents and the manufacturing of different industrial chemicals. Bases play a crucial role in maintaining the pH balance in living organisms. 


A salt is a compound formed when an acid reacts with a base. This reaction is known as neutralization. Salts are typically composed of positively charged ions (cations) and negatively charged ions (anions), which are held together by ionic bonds. The most common example of salt is table salt (sodium chloride), which is formed from the reaction between the strong acid i.e. hydrochloric acid (HCl) and the strong base i.e. sodium hydroxide (NaOH). 

Salts can be either inorganic or organic. Inorganic salts are typically formed from the reaction between an inorganic acid and an inorganic base. In contrast, organic salts are formed from the reaction between an organic acid and an organic base.

Salts play crucial roles in various chemical reactions and biological processes. They are essential in maintaining the ionic balance in living organisms and are also important in industrial applications, such as manufacturing various chemicals, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals. Salts are generally crystalline solids at room temperature and are often soluble in water. They can conduct electricity when dissolved in water or molten, making them electrolytes. The properties and behavior of salts depend on the specific cation and anion present in the compound. Different salts can exhibit various physical and chemical properties, such as color, solubility, and reactivity.  


Electrolytes are substances that, when dissolved in a solvent, produce ions in water, enabling them to conduct electricity. In a chemical context, electrolytes are typically ionic compounds that ionize when dissolved, generating positively and negatively charged ions. These ions are responsible for the conduction of electric current through the solution. Electrolytes can be categorized as strong or weak depending on the degree to which they dissociate in the solvent. Strong electrolytes dissociate completely into ions when dissolved, leading to a high conductivity, whereas weak electrolytes only partially dissociate, resulting in a lower conductivity. 

Acids, bases, and salts are the most common electrolytes, which ionize when dissolved in solvents such as water or alcohol. Many salts, such as sodium chloride, function as electrolytes when melted without a solvent, while some, like silver iodide, are electrolytes even when it is solid. 


Strong Electrolytes

Strong acid
Hydrochloric acid HCl(aq)
Hydrobromic acid HBr (aq)
Hydroiodic acid HI (aq)
Nitric acid HNO3 (aq)
Sulfuric acid H2SO(aq)
Perchloric acid HClO4 (aq)
Chloric acid HClO3 (aq)
Strong Base
Sodium hydroxide NaOH (aq)
Potassium hydroxide KOH (aq)
Calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2 (aq)
Barium hydroxide Ba(OH)2(aq)
Soluble Salts
Sodium chloride NaCl(aq)
Potassium carbonate K2CO3 (aq)
Copper (II) sulfate CuSO4(aq)

Weak Electrolytes

Weak Acids
Acetic acid HC2H3O2 (aq)
Carbonic acid H2CO3 (aq)
Citric acid C6H8O7 (aq)
Phosphoric acid H3PO4 (aq)
Weak Base
Ammonia NH3(aq)
Ammonium hydroxide NH4OH (aq)
Magnesium hydroxide Mg(OH)2(aq)
Slightly Soluble Salts
Silver chloride AgCl (s)
Calcium carbonate CaCO3 (s)
Barium sulfate BaSO4 (s)
Non Electrolytes
Distilled water H2O (l)
Methanol CH3OH(aq)


Liquids such as vegetable oil and coconut oil are poor conductors of electricity. Distilled water is also a poor conductor of electricity, and ordinary drinking water is a good conductor. Lemon juice is acidic, so it conducts electricity. 


Learning Outcomes 

Student understands 

  • The concepts of acids, bases, and salts. 
  • The theory of electrolytes. 
  • The concept of strong and weak electrolytes.