The Acidic Environment

Contextual Outline

Acidic and basic environments exist everywhere. The human body has a slightly acidic skin surface to assist in disease control and digestion occurs in both acidic and basic environments to assist the breakdown of the biopolymers constituting food. Indeed, microorganisms found in the digestive system are well adapted to acidic or basic environments.

Many industries use acidic and basic compounds for a wide range of purposes and these compounds are found in daily use within the home. Because of this, an awareness of the properties of acids and bases is important for safe handling of materials. Currently, concerns exist about the increased release of acidic and basic substances into the environment and the impact of these substances on the environment and the organisms within those environments.

This module increases students’ understanding of the history, nature and practice of chemistry, the applications and uses of chemistry and implications of chemistry for society and the environment.

Extract from Chemistry Stage 6 Syllabus (Amended October 2002). © 2009, Board of Studies NSW.