Particles > Chemical reactions > Neutralization
Neutralization is a chemical reaction between an acid and a base producing a salt and water. When neutralization occur the pH of the solution approaches the number seven (equivalence point).
Connection to Big Idea about energy: Neutralization is an exothermic process which produces energy. As a result the temperature of the solution increases.
Connection to Big Idea about the cell: Cells of any organism need to absorb ingredients from solutions with specific pH in order to function properly. Neutralization is used to moderate the pH of such solutions (e.g. fertilisers are added to the soil to moderate its pH, anti-acid medicines are used to neutralise the excess acid in the stomach). A change in the acidity of body fluids can have a profound effect on cells. When the pH in body fluids drops too low or rises too high the body begins to suffer from acidosis or alkalosis.
Connection to Big Idea about Earth: Neutralization has positive and negative effects on Earth. Humans use neutralization to their benefit in their daily life. For instance farmers are using basic fertilizers to neutralize an acid soil –which is harmful for the plants- while basic solutions are added in the chimneys of factories to neutralize the acid smoke that they produce –avoiding the catastrophic effects of the acid rains. Acid released in the environment from industry creates acid rain which has many ecological effects. Acid rain makes waters acidic, and causes them to absorb the aluminium that makes its way from soil into lakes and streams. This combination makes waters toxic to crayfish, clams, fish, and other aquatic animals.
Subjects related: Chemistry
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