A student prepared solutions of (i) an acid and (ii) a base in two separate beakers. She forgot to label the solutions, and litmus paper is not available in the laboratory. Since both the solutions are colourless, how will she distinguish between the two?

Answer:

To distinguish between the acid and base in the beaker, use a chemical indicator like phenolphthalein or natural indicators like turmeric, china rose, etc.

  • In acid-base titrations, phenolphthalein is commonly used as an indicator; it turns colourless in acidic solutions and pink in basic solutions.
  • Turmeric is of yellow colour. When turmeric paper is immersed in a basic solution, it turns red. Acid has no effect on the colour of turmeric paper.
  • Another natural indicator is China rose. With acid, China rose solution turns dark pink and with base, it turns green.

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