Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo



A photograph is shown of a pond formed in a sinkhole. Layers of limestone with trees and shrubs surround the murky green water of the pond.
Figure 14.1 Sinkholes such as this are the result of reactions between acidic groundwaters and basic rock formations, like limestone. (credit: modification of work by Emil Kehnel)

In our bodies, in our homes, and in our industrial society, acids and bases play key roles. Proteins, enzymes, blood, genetic material, and other components of living matter contain both acids and bases. We seem to like the sour taste of acids; we add them to soft drinks, salad dressings, and spices. Many foods, including citrus fruits and some vegetables, contain acids. Cleaners in our homes contain acids or bases. Acids and bases play important roles in the chemical industry. Currently, approximately 36 million metric tons of sulfuric acid are produced annually in the United States alone. Huge quantities of ammonia (8 million tons), urea (10 million tons), and phosphoric acid (10 million tons) are also produced annually.

This chapter will illustrate the chemistry of acid-base reactions and equilibria, and provide you with tools for quantifying the concentrations of acids and bases in solutions.

Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Feb 15, 2022 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.