Science, Tech, Math › Science How to Neutralize a Base With an Acid Share Flipboard Email Print Arindam Ghosh / Getty Images Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Todd Helmenstine Todd Helmenstine is a science writer and illustrator who has taught physics and math at the college level. He holds bachelor's degrees in both physics and mathematics. our editorial process Todd Helmenstine Updated May 26, 2019 When an acid and a base react with each other, a neutralization reaction occurs, forming a salt and water. The water forms from the combination of the H+ ions from the acid and the OH- ions from the base. Strong acids and strong bases completely dissociate, so the reaction yields a solution with a neutral pH (pH = 7). Because of the complete dissociation between strong acids and bases, if you're given a concentration of an acid or base, you can determine the volume or quantity of the other chemical required to neutralize it. This example problem explains how to determine how much acid is needed to neutralize a known volume and concentration of a base: Solving an Acid-Base Neutralization Problem What volume of 0.075 M HCl is required to neutralize 100 milliliters of 0.01 M Ca(OH)2 solution? HCl is a strong acid and will dissociate completely in water to H+ and Cl-. For every mole of HCl, there will be one mole of H+. Since the concentration of HCl is 0.075 M, the concentration of H+ will be 0.075 M. Ca(OH)2 is a strong base and will dissociate completely in water to Ca2+ and OH-. For every mole of Ca(OH)2 there will be two moles of OH-. The concentration of Ca(OH)2 is 0.01 M so [OH-] will be 0.02 M. So, the solution will be neutralized when the number of moles of H+ equals the number of moles of OH-. Step 1: Calculate the number of moles of OH-. Molarity = moles/volume moles = Molarity x Volume moles OH- = 0.02 M/100 milliliters moles OH- = 0.02 M/0.1 liters moles OH- = 0.002 moles Step 2: Calculate the Volume of HCl needed Molarity = moles/volume Volume = moles/Molarity Volume = moles H+/0.075 Molarity moles H+ = moles OH- Volume = 0.002 moles/0.075 Molarity Volume = 0.0267 Liters Volume = 26.7 milliliters of HCl Performing the Calculation 26.7 milliliters of 0.075 M HCl is needed to neutralize 100 milliliters of 0.01 Molarity Ca(OH)2 solution. The most common mistake people make when performing this calculation is not accounting for the number of moles of ions produced when the acid or base dissociates. It's easy to understand: only one mole of hydrogen ions is produced when hydrochloric acid dissociates, yet also easy to forget it's not a 1:1 ratio with the number of moles of hydroxide released by calcium hydroxide (or other bases with divalent or trivalent cations). The other common mistake is a simple math error. Make sure you convert milliliters of solution to liters when you calculate the molarity of your solution! Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Helmenstine, Todd. "How to Neutralize a Base With an Acid." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/neutralizing-a-base-with-acid-609579. Helmenstine, Todd. (2020, August 29). How to Neutralize a Base With an Acid. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/neutralizing-a-base-with-acid-609579 Helmenstine, Todd. "How to Neutralize a Base With an Acid." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/neutralizing-a-base-with-acid-609579 (accessed May 9, 2021). copy citation Watch Now: What are the Differences Between Acids and Bases?