Ever experienced a burning sensation in your stomach after eating too much of spicy food? This is due to the formation of acid in the stomach. This problem can be cured by the consumption of an antacid which neutralizes the effect of acid and this reaction is called neutralization reaction.

What is Neutralization?

It is an acid-base reaction in which an acid reacts with a base to form salt and water. The pH of the neutralized solution depends upon the acid strength of the reactants and their concentrations. The reaction is best represented as:

Acid + Base → Salt + Water

When a strong acid reacts with a strong base the resultant salt is neither acidic nor basic in nature i.e. it is neutral. For example when HCl, a strong acid, reacts with NaOH, a strong base, then the resulting salt is sodium chloride and water.

HCl + NaOH → NaCl + H2O

When a strong acid reacts with a weak base the resultant salt is acidic in nature. For example, Fe(NO3)3 is an acidic salt formed due to the neutralization of iron(III) hydroxide(weak base) with nitric acid(strong acid)

3HNO3 + Fe(OH)3  → Fe(NO3)3  + 3H2O

Likewise when a strong base reacts with a weak acid then the resultant salt is basic in nature. For example, K2CO3 is formed due to the acid-base reaction of potassium hydroxide (strong base) and H2CO3 (weak acid).

H2CO3 + 2KOH → K2CO3 + 2H2O

When a weak acid and weak base react with each other complete neutralization does not occur due to incomplete ionization of the acid and base.

The most common strong acids and bases are mentioned in the table below.

Strong Acids

Strong Bases

  • HCl
  • HBr
  • HI
  • HCIO4
  • HNO3
  • Ca(OH)2
  • Sr(OH)2
  • Ba(OH)2
  • LiOH
  • NaOH
  • KOH
  • RbOH
  • CsOH

Application of Neutralization

  • This method is used in wastewater treatment in order to reduce the damage created by the effluents.
  • Neutralization is used in the manufacturing of antacid tablets.
  • The neutralization reaction is used to control the pH of the soil.


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Practise This Question

___ on the basis of its molecular composition is called oxy-acid.