List of Topics

SfC Home > Physical Science > Chemistry >

 

Salts

by Ron Kurtus (15 December 2001)

Salts are neutral compounds that are often the result of adding an acid and a base together.

You can identify a salt by its characteristics and its chemical formula. A salt has a pH of 7.0. Salts provide minerals to the body.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.



Characteristics

Salts are chemical compounds that are usually formed from the combination of an acid and a base in water.

Chemical combination

An example of combining an acid and a base to form a salt is combining a water solution of hydrochloric acid (HCl) with a water solution of sodium hydroxide base (NaOH). They react to form common table salt (NaCl) and water:

HCl + NaOHNaCl + H2O

(The extra water for the solutions is not included in the above chemical equation, since it isn't part of the reaction and for the sake of simplicity.)

Another chemical reaction is combining the poisonous green chlorine gas (Cl2) with the explosive metallic sodium powder (Na) to form the beneficial white salt crystals. (This reaction would normally be done in a water solution).

Cl2 + 2Na2NaCl

Physical characteristics

When mixed with water, a salt may be reactive with other substances. For example, salty water can enhance the corrosion or rusting of steel. Also, some salts can cause burns or irritations on the skin, while others are actually poisonous.

Salts have a salty taste (no kidding!), but you should be careful in tasting or touching any chemical, especially one that may be harmful to your skin.

Crystals

Removing water from salts usually results in crystalline material. A good example of such crystals is common table salt.

pH scale

The pH scale is a measurement of the strength of an acid, salt or base. The pH of a salt falls between an acid and a base and is exactly 7.0.

Litmus paper is often used to give a rough estimate of the pH. When wet with a salt solution, litmus paper will neither turn red nor blue, but will remain white.

Formula

There is no easy way to determine that a material is a salt from its chemical formula, like you can with an acid or a base. 

Bases can often be identified by the OH term in the end of their chemical formula, while acids usually have an H at the start of the formula. Salts normally do not have either the OH or the H terms. The salt potassium chloride (KCl) is an example.

Uses for salts

Salts are important for sustaining life because they provide minerals to the body.

Since NaCl and water can corrode materials, often CaCl is used to melt ice on the sidewalk in the winter. Calcium Chloride is much less corrosive.

Other facts on uses include:

Summary

Salts taste salty and are often the result of adding an acid and a base together.  A salt has a pH of 7.0. Salts provide minerals to the body but can corrode metals.


Be a person of high character


Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials

Websites

Chemistry Resources

Books

Top-rated books on Chemistry


Questions and comments

Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


Share

Click on a button to bookmark or share this page through Twitter, Facebook, email, or other services:

 

Students and researchers

The Web address of this page is:
www.school-for-champions.com/chemistry/
salts.htm

Please include it as a link on your website or as a reference in your report, document, or thesis.

Copyright © Restrictions


Where are you now?

School for Champions

Chemistry topics

Salts




Chemistry topics

Basics

Ingredients

Tools

Recipe

Mixing things together

Cooking

Graded tests

Also see



Let's make the world a better place

Be the best that you can be.

Use your knowledge and skills to help others succeed.

Don't be wasteful; protect our environment.

You CAN influence the world.





Live Your Life as a Champion:

Take care of your health

Seek knowledge and gain skills

Do excellent work

Be valuable to others

Have utmost character

Be a Champion!



The School for Champions helps you become the type of person who can be called a Champion.