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Understand Acids, Bases and Salts: A Comprehensive Guide for Class 10 Students


The world around us is full of substances that can be broadly classified into acids, bases, and salts. This fascinating trio plays a vital role not just in our laboratories but also in our daily lives. From the food we eat to the cleaning agents we use, acids, bases, and salts are everywhere. Let’s dive into the basics of these compounds and understand their importance and applications.


Acids are substances that have a sour taste and turn blue litmus paper red. They release hydrogen ions (H⁺) when dissolved in water. Common examples include hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the stomach, which aids in digestion, and citric acid in citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Acids play a crucial role in various industrial processes, food preparation, and even in our metabolism.


Bases are the chemical opposites of acids. They have a bitter taste, feel slippery to touch, and turn red litmus paper blue. Bases release hydroxide ions (OH⁻) in water. Examples of bases include baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), which is used in cooking, and ammonia, often found in household cleaners. Bases are used in manufacturing soap, paper, and various other products.


When an acid reacts with a base, the products are a salt and water, in a reaction known as neutralization. Salts are ionic compounds that do not release H⁺ or OH⁻ ions in water. They are formed by the replacement of the hydrogen ion of an acid with a metal or a positive radical. Common table salt (sodium chloride) is the most well-known example, essential for human life.


Neutralization is the process where an acid and a base react to form water and a salt. This reaction is fundamental in various industrial and biological processes. For example, antacids, which neutralize excess stomach acid, are based on this principle.

pH Scale

The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a solution is, ranging from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, values less than 7 are acidic, and values greater than 7 are basic. The pH scale is logarithmic, meaning each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the next higher value and each whole pH value above 7 is ten times more basic. The pH of a substance is crucial for processes in chemistry, environmental science, medicine, and agriculture.


Indicators are substances that change color when added to acidic or basic solutions, helping to determine the pH of the solution. Common indicators include litmus, phenolphthalein, and methyl orange. These indicators are used in laboratories to test the acidity or basicity of solutions.

Importance of pH in Our Daily Life

The concept of pH is not just a scientific curiosity; it has significant implications in our daily lives. The human body, for instance, maintains a pH balance in the blood around 7.4. Slight deviations can be harmful. In agriculture, the pH of the soil affects the availability of nutrients to plants. In industrial processes, maintaining the correct pH is crucial for the quality of products.


Acids, bases, and salts are not just abstract concepts in chemistry but are integral to many aspects of the natural and human-made world. Understanding these substances, their reactions, and their importance in daily life and the environment is essential for students. This foundational knowledge not only aids in academic pursuits but also helps cultivate a deeper appreciation for the chemical processes that underpin our everyday experiences.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Answers

  1. Which of the following is a property of acids?
  • A) Bitter taste
  • B) Turns blue litmus red
  • C) Feels slippery
  • D) Turns red litmus blue
  • Answer: B) Turns blue litmus red
  1. What is the pH value of neutral substances?
  • A) 0
  • B) 7
  • C) 14
  • D) 10
  • Answer: B) 7
  1. Which one of the following is a base?
  • A) Vinegar
  • B) Lemon juice
  • C) Ammonia
  • D) Hydrochloric acid
  • Answer: C) Ammonia
  1. Salt is formed by the reaction between an acid and a base. What is this reaction called?
  • A) Oxidation
  • B) Reduction
  • C) Neutralization
  • D) Precipitation
  • Answer: C) Neutralization
  1. Which indicator turns pink in basic solutions?
  • A) Methyl orange
  • B) Litmus
  • C) Bromothymol blue
  • D) Phenolphthalein
  • Answer: D) Phenolphthalein
  1. What is the pH value of stomach acid?
  • A) About 2
  • B) About 7
  • C) About 10
  • D) About 12
  • Answer: A) About 2
  1. Which of the following is not a salt?
  • A) Sodium chloride
  • B) Potassium nitrate
  • C) Baking soda
  • D) Vinegar
  • Answer: D) Vinegar
  1. What does the pH scale measure?
  • A) Hydrogen ion concentration
  • B) Hydroxide ion concentration
  • C) Salt concentration
  • D) Sugar concentration
  • Answer: A) Hydrogen ion concentration
  1. Which of these is a use of bases?
  • A) Cleaning agents
  • B) Flavoring food
  • C) Charging batteries
  • D) Making perfumes
  • Answer: A) Cleaning agents
  1. Acids have a pH value that is:
    • A) Less than 7
    • B) More than 7
    • C) Exactly 7
    • D) More than 10
    • Answer: A) Less than 7
  2. Which of the following is a strong acid?
    • A) Acetic acid
    • B) Hydrochloric acid
    • C) Carbonic acid
    • D) Phosphoric acid
    • Answer: B) Hydrochloric acid
  3. Baking soda is scientifically known as:
    • A) Sodium carbonate
    • B) Sodium bicarbonate
    • C) Sodium chloride
    • D) Sodium hydroxide
    • Answer: B) Sodium bicarbonate
  4. The process of making soap involves:
    • A) Neutralization
    • B) Fermentation
    • C) Saponification
    • D) Evaporation
    • Answer: C) Saponification
  5. What does a universal indicator show?
    • A) Presence of water
    • B) Type of salt
    • C) pH value of a solution
    • D) Temperature of a solution
    • Answer: C) pH value of a solution
  6. Which is not a characteristic of salts?
    • A) Conduct electricity in molten state
    • B) Always acidic
    • C) Formed by neutralization
    • D) Can be crystalline
    • Answer: B) Always acidic

Very Short Questions (VSQs) and Answers

  1. What is the taste of bases?
  • Bitter.
  1. What color does blue litmus paper turn in an acidic solution?
  • Red.
  1. Name a gas released when an acid reacts with a metal.
  • Hydrogen.
  1. What type of solution is soap?
  • Basic.
  1. What is the main component of vinegar?
  • Acetic acid.
  1. What is the chemical formula for common table salt?
  • NaCl.
  1. Name a natural indicator.
  • Litmus.
  1. What is the pH of pure water?
  • 7.
  1. What does pHstand for?
  • Potential of Hydrogen.
  1. What acid is found in lemon?
    • Citric acid.
  2. What is the effect of an acid on litmus paper?
    • Turns blue litmus red.
  3. Which base is used in baking?
    • Baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate).
  4. Name a salt used in food.
    • Sodium chloride.
  5. What is the common name for Sodium Hydroxide?
    • Caustic Soda.
  6. Which acid is present in stomach?
    • Hydrochloric acid.

Small Questions (SQs) and Answers

  1. Why is pH important for plants?
  • The pH of soil affects the availability of nutrients to plants. If the soil is too acidic or too alkaline, plants may not be able to absorb nutrients effectively, leading to poor growth or nutrient deficiencies.
  1. How does neutralization reaction benefit in daily life?
  • Neutralization reactions are used in daily life to treat conditions like acidity, where antacids neutralize excess stomach acid. It’s also used in agriculture to neutralize acidic or alkaline soils for better crop yield.
  1. What role does hydrochloric acid play in the human body?
  • Hydrochloric acid in the stomach helps in digesting food by breaking down the molecules, killing bacteria, and creating an acidic environment for digestive enzymes to function effectively.
  1. Explain the importance of indicators in chemistry.
  • Indicators are crucial in chemistry for determining the acidity or basicity of a solution. They help in measuring the pH level of substances, which is essential for various chemical reactions and processes.
  1. Describe the process of saponification.
  • Saponification is the chemical reaction between a fatty acid and a base, typically sodium hydroxide, to produce soap and glycerol. This reaction is fundamental in soap making, where fats and oils are transformed into soap and alcohol by the action of alkali.

Long Questions (LQs) and Answers

  1. Explain the process of neutralization with an example.
  • Neutralization is a chemical reaction where an acid and a base react to form water and a salt. For example, when hydrochloric acid (HCl) reacts with sodium hydroxide (NaOH), they form sodium chloride (NaCl) and water (H₂O). The equation is: HCl + NaOH → NaCl + H₂O. This reaction is widely used in various applications, including medicine (antacids), agriculture (soil pH adjustment), and industrial processes (waste treatment).
  1. Discuss the importance of the pH scale in everyday life.
  • The pH scale, ranging from 0 to 14, is crucial in everyday life as it helps in understanding the acidic or basic nature of substances. For example, the human body maintains a pH balance of about 7.4 in the blood; any significant deviation can lead to health issues. In agriculture, soil pH affects nutrient availability to plants, influencing crop yields. In industries, maintaining the correct pH is essential for processes like fermentation in brewing, water purification, and the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. pH indicators, such as litmus paper, help in monitoring and maintaining the appropriate pH levels in various settings, ensuring the effective and safe completion of chemical reactions and processes.