FEB 04, 2017 10:27 AM PST

Fantastic Bases and Where to Find Them

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

We typically hear about the corrosive powers of strong acids, but did you know that strong bases can burn and be just as destructive?

Chemically speaking, bases are defined as substances that produce hydroxide ions (OH-) when dissolved in water. On the pH scale, bases range from 7.1 to 14, with higher scores meaning stronger bases. Common bases include seawater (pH 8), baking soda (pH 9.5), all the way to liquid drain cleaner (pH 14).

Just as acids can be stronger than the pH scale, so can bases. The title of strongest base in the world belongs to ortho-diethynylbenzene dianion. This superbase has the strongest proton affinity ever calculated (1843 kJ mol−1), beating out a long-standing contender known as lithium monoxide anion.

Watch the video to learn more about bases and superbases!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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