Use of Neutralisation

The Acidic Environment‎ > ‎4. Acid/Base Definitions‎ >

Analyse information from secondary sources to assess the use of neutralisation reactions as a safety measure or to minimise damage in accidents or chemical spills

  • In laboratories and factories where acids and bases are used, there is the possibility that there might be a spill of one of these substances.
  • Because many acids and bases are corrosive, it is important to neutralise any spills of these substances very quickly.
  • Sewerage authorities place strict limits on the pH of factory and laboratory effluents discharged to sewers (to prevent the upset of bacterial breakdown or the corrosion of components of the sewerage system), so neutralisation reactions are commonly used to ensure that effluents are neither acidic nor basic.
  • Sodium carbonate and sodium hydrogen carbonate are widely used to neutralise acid spills or acidic wastes, as they are:
    • Stable solids that can be easily and safely handled and stored.
    • Not as dangerous when used in excess as compared to substances such as sodium hydroxide.
  • Dilute hydrochloric or sulfuric acids are widely used to neutralise base spills or basic wastes, followed by dilution with large amounts of water.

Structure of sodium carbonate