Chemistry X | Acids, Bases and Salts | Acids and Bases in the Laboratory

Acids and Bases in the Laboratory


  1. Collect the following samples from the science laboratory– hydrochloric acid (HCl), sulphuric acid (H2SO4), nitric acid (HNO3), acetic acid (CH3COOH), sodium hydroxide (NaOH), calcium hydroxide [Ca(OH)2], potassium hydroxide (KOH), magnesium hydroxide [Mg(OH)2], and ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH).
  2. Put a drop of each of the above solutions on a watch-glass and test with a drop of the following indicators as shown in Table 2.1.
  3. What change in colour did you observe with red litmus, blue litmus, phenolphthalein and methyl orange solutions for each of the solutions taken?
  4. Tabulate your observations in Table 2.1.

Table 2.1


These indicators tell us whether a substance is acidic or basic by change in colour. There are some substances whose odour changes in acidic or basic media. These are called olfactory indicators. Let us try out some of these indicators.


  1. Take some finely chopped onions in a plastic bag along with some strips of clean cloth. Tie up the bag tightly and leave overnight in the fridge. The cloth strips can now be used to test for acids and bases.
  2. Take two of these cloth strips and check their odour.
  3. Keep them on a clean surface and put a few drops of dilute HCl solution on one strip and a few drops of dilute NaOH solution on the other.
  4. Rinse both cloth strips with water and again check their odour.
  5. Note your observations.
  6. Now take some dilute vanilla essence and clove oil and check their odour.
  7. Take some dilute HCl solution in one test tube and dilute NaOH solution in another. Add a few drops of dilute vanilla essence to both test tubes and shake well. Check the odour once again and
  8. record changes in odour, if any.
  9. Similarly, test the change in the odour of clove oil with dilute HCl and dilute NaOH solutions and record your observations.

Which of these – vanilla, onion and clove, can be used as olfactory indicators on the basis of your observations?

Let us do some more activities to understand the chemical properties of acids and bases


One comment on “Chemistry X | Acids, Bases and Salts | Acids and Bases in the Laboratory

  • Eduardo Galipo says:

    I like chemistry. Ever since I was a kid. I enjoy reading your post. I probably love atoms and chemicals the most in chemistry although human nutrition is very interesting 🙂


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