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A large class of electrolytic chemical substances that are capable of donating a Hydrogen atom. Acids exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:

1) has a sour or sharp taste,

2) forms an aqueous solution with a PH of less than 7.0,

3) turns Litmus dye red,

4) reacts with bases and some metals to form salts,

5) reacts with a metal carbonate to release Carbon dioxide.

Acids are classified as strong or weak depending on the concentration of hydrogen ion produced on ionization. The strength of the acid is measured on the pH scale. A stronger acid has a lower pH value. Inorganic (mineral) acids, such as sulfuric, nitric, hydrochloric, and phosphoric, are all strong acids that are irritating to skin and corrosive to most materials. Organic acids are weaker; they contain carbon and the proton is produced from one or more carboxylic acid groups (-COOH). Examples of organic acids are acetic, formic, oxalic, and benzoic acids along with fatty acids and [[amino acid|amino acids]. Although relatively less reactive, organic acids can still damage many materials (stone, paper, textile, etc.) and corrode metals

Synonyms and Related Terms

acids; ácido (Port.);


Acids deleteriously react with many types of materials (metal, paper, leather)

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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