One of the properties that acids and bases have in common is that they are electrolytes--they form ions when they dissolve in water. Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist who received a Nobel prize in 1903 for his work on electrolytes, focused on what ions were formed when acids and bases dissolved in water. He came up with the concept or idea that acids dissociated in water to give hydrogen ions and that bases dissociated in water to give hydroxide ions. This definition is very useful when we talk about acids and bases as being electrolytes in solution.
These equations (also shown in example 12 in your workbook) serve as examples.
Arrhenius focused on the idea that acids and bases split into ions when they dissolved in water. In a sense, the Arrhenius concept focuses on what the chemical contains or what is there in solution.
Two important features of acids and bases are readily explained using Arrhenius' approach. They are multiprotism and neutralization.
E-mail instructor: Eden Francis
Clackamas Community College