Definition of Acids, Bases, Salts, and Examples of Each
Acids are chemical substances which dissociate to release either protons or hydrogen ions in soluble water solution. They are sour, contain hydrogen and an anionic component, turn blue litmus paper red, neutralize bases, have a pH lower than 7, and react with metals to form salts (Ebbing & Gammon, 2017). Examples of acids include Hydrochloric acid (HCl), Sulphuric acid (H2SO4), Nitric acid (HNO3), Carbonic acid (H2CO3), Salicylic acid (C7H6O3), and Uric acid.
Bases are chemical substances which donate electrons or hydroxide ions in water solution. Bases taste bitter, react with acids to form salts, have a slippery feeling, turn red litmus paper blue, have a pH greater than 7, and catalyze base reactions (Ebbing & Gammon, 2017). Examples of bases include Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), Calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2), and Ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH), Magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2).
Salts are ionic compounds which are formed as a result of the neutralization reaction between an acid and a base. Salts contain neutral electrical charge because the compounds are formed as a result of the reaction between equal numbers of cations and anions (Ucko, 1982). Examples of salts include Sodium chloride (NaCl), Potassium dichromate, Copper sulfate, and Sodium chromate.
Description of an Acid, a Base, and a Salt Used in Therapeutic Process
Sodium chloride (NaCl) commonly known as table salt forms part of the 60% of the body fluid thus its level must always be maintained at optimum for good health. That is, too little or too high levels of NaCl is harmful to human health. Sodium chloride IV infusion ensures a balance in the level of sodium chloride and restores fluid loss in the body (Ucko, 1982). The therapy is given to patients who cannot take fluids and nutrients through the mouth. The infusion is delivered into the bloodstream through an injection in the vein using a cannula.
Calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) is a base that is used in restorative dentistry as a therapy for cavity liner. The substance has a hard tissue inducing effect which when mixed with a physiological saline forms an alkaline paste with a pH of 12.5 (Ebbing & Gammon, 2017). It is then used to dress the root canal for successful tissue healing.
Salicylic acid (C7H6O3) is commonly used in the therapeutic process to treat dead skin outer layers such as dandruff, warts, calluses, and ringworm among others (Ucko, 1982). It is added in skin products where it penetrates the scalp, cleanses the skin, and shreds away the outer layer of the epidermis thus allowing the dead skin to loosen and wash off with ease (Ebbing & Gammon, 2017). Salicylic acid also helps in unblocking hair follicles whenever it enters and cleanses the pores. The process prevents oil buildup in the pores for healthier growth of air and minimal skin infection.
Discussion Question 2
Define a Buffer and Explain How a Buffer Works
A buffer refers to a substance that has the capacity to neutralize changes in pH when it is introduced to an acidic or a basic component. Buffers have a specific range of pH within which they function, the amount of either acid or base it can neutralize, and the extent of pH change during the reaction (Ebbing & Gammon, 2017). For example, an antacid buffer ingratiate include calcium carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, or magnesium oxide. When either of these substances is exposed to an acidic or basic substance, it will resist the pH change by neutralizing the acid or base thereby maintaining the pH at a stable state. Buffer process entails replacement of a strong acid or base with a weak one (Ucko, 1982). The use of a buffer is crucial for chemical reactions or processes which are supposed to proceed or occur at a specific or stable pH.
For example, adding HCl to NH3 and NH4+ buffer will control the pH by replacing the proton in the strong acid (HCl) with a weaker acid (NH3) as follows:
HCl + NH3 = NH4+ + Cl-.
Similarly, adding NaOH to NH3 and NH4+ buffer will control the pH by replacing the proton in the strong base (NaOH) with a weaker one NH4+ as follows:
NaOH + NH4+ = NH3 + H2O +Na+
Analyze and Explain the Buffer System in Buffered Aspirin (Carboxylic Acid)
Buffered aspirin is a product formed by mixing aspirin and an antacid such Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), Aluminum Hydroxide (Al(OH)3), or Magnesium Oxide (MgO). Ucko (1982) cites that adding an antacid to aspirin neutralizes the acidic content in the stomach thus controlling the medication's pH at a neutral point. The stomach is very acidic while the rate at which aspirin is absorbed when it is introduced to the stomach is very low (Ebbing & Gammon, 2017). Thus, the buffer in buffered aspirin is meant to maintain or preserve aspirin's pH at a neutral or a stable state until the medication is finally passed into the small intestine for absorption. The buffer creates a neutral pH or minimal acidic content which then reduces heartburn and stomach upsets associated with aspirin medication.
Ebbing, D. D., & Gammon, D. S. (2017). General chemistry. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Ucko, A. D. (1982). Basics for chemistry. New York, NY: Academic Press Inc.
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