The Science Behind Neutralization: Understanding the Chemical Process

The Science Behind Neutralization: Understanding the Chemical Process


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  • Source: Microbioz India

  • Date: 28 Dec,2023

Neutralization refers to the process of making something neutral or opposite to its effects. In case of chemistry, neutralization is a reaction between an acid and a base leading to water formation and salt production. After the completion of this reaction, the solution pH becomes neutral (pH 7). Different scientific and industrial uses require this process.

Now let us go into the science behind understanding neutralization.


  1. Acid: Something that gives protons (H⁺ ions) in a reaction.
  2. Base: Something that accepts protons or donates hydroxide ions (OH⁻) during a chemical change.

General Neutralization Reaction:

  1. The acid+base=water+salt is what is usually done during the process of neutralization.

Hydrogen Ion Transfer:

  1. In an acid there are hydrogen ions (H⁺).
  2. In a base there are hydroxide ions (OH⁻).
  3. On combining, this forms water (H++OH−→H2O).

Salt Formation:

  1. Remainder ions from acid and base combine to form salt.
  2. The nature of salt depends on type of acid and base used in reaction.


  1. HCl (aq)+NaOH (aq) → NaCl(aq) + H2O(l)
  2. HNO3(aq)+KOH (aq) → KNO3(aq) + H2O(l)

pH Changes:

  1. Before being neutralized, the solution may be acidic or basic with low or high pH values respectively
  2. pH tends to move towards 7 following neutralization

Heat Evolution:

  1. As we know, most of the neutralizations produce heat as they are exothermic in nature.
  2. This evolution is due to formation of water.


  1. Titration is commonly used laboratory method for determining amount of acid or base in a solution.
  2. The pH changes until one reactant with known concentration is added slowly to the other and no more reaction occurs.


  1. Antacid Use: Antacids use neutralization to counteract excess acid in the stomach.
  2. Wastewater Treatment: Before discharge, acidic or basic industrial waste waters are often passed through a neutralizing bed

Lewis Acid-Base Theory:

  1. However, the Lewis acid-base theory takes into account electron pair transfer unlike the Brønsted-Lowry acid-base theory (H⁺ transfer).

Understanding the science of neutralization is very important across different areas such as chemistry, medicine and environmental science. The ability to control and manipulate neutralizations reactions has practical implications in several areas and industries.

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