Strong Base: Definition & Examples

Strong Base: Definition & Examples
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  • 0:01 Definition of a Strong Base
  • 1:22 Examples
  • 2:48 Testing for Bases
  • 3:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth (Nikki) Wyman

Nikki has a master's degree in teaching chemistry and has taught high school chemistry, biology and astronomy.

Next time you open your medicine cupboard or pick up some cleaning supplies, beware you might be handling some strong bases! In this lesson, learn the definition of a strong base and where you can find them, then test your new knowledge with a quiz.

Definition of a Strong Base

You may not realize it, but strong bases are everywhere! For one thing, they are incredibly effective cleaning agents; in fact, most of the cleaning agents in your home likely contain some kind of base in them. If a cleaning agent seems to work like magic, it's likely due to the strong base within. For these cleaning solutions with super strength, make sure to always protect skin and sensitive tissues because what makes them good cleaners also makes them quite dangerous!

According to the Arrhenius definition of a base, a base is a compound that breaks apart to make hydroxide ions (OH-) in solution. Bases have high pH values that are greater than seven but less than or equal to 14. Bases feel slippery and taste soapy.

A strong base is a base that breaks apart 100% in solution. For example, if solid sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is placed in water, the solids will completely break apart into equal amounts of sodium ions (Na+) and hydroxide ions (OH-). Strong bases have high pHs that are close to 14 and can be very corrosive and dangerous in high concentrations. Like all bases, strong bases feel slippery and taste soapy. However, because of their damaging nature, it's never a good idea to taste a strong base.

Examples

Some of the most common strong bases are sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH). These bases can be manufactured cheaply and are frequently used in laboratories. Sodium hydroxide is often the main ingredient in solutions used to unclog drains. Next time you grab a bottle of chemical drain cleaner, check out the list of active ingredients for sodium hydroxide.

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