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Acids and Bases Introduction

In A Nutshell

Ever since the discovery of litmus, a dye molecule found in lichens around 1300 C.E., chemists have been obsessed with understanding acidity and basicity. And you thought your brother's obsession with his Venus flytrap was a bit much. At least he isn't trying to farm fungus in his room.

While the ancient 'litmus test' served to identify substances with acidic or basic properties for centuries, the modern era of chemistry ushered in new and improved ways of defining acids and bases. In the first part of this section we will take a historical tour of how acids and basis have been defined.

With these general definitions in our pockets we will be able to understand how acids and bases equilibrate in water and how to quantify just how acidic or basic a solution is going to be. Then we will layer on some more acid and base awesomeness by exploring how acids and bases react in titrations and how acids and bases can be used to set and hold the acidity of a solution known as a buffer.

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