Standard List of Strong Acids and Bases

Studying chemistry involves learning about acids and bases. If you’re taking a chemistry class, you’ll probably need to memorize the strong acids and bases. Use this list of strong acids and bases as a tool to help you learn the names and chemical composition of each one.

scientists mixing acids and bases scientists mixing acids and bases

List of Strong Acids

Strong acids are not named as such because they are more powerful than other acids. A strong acid is one that dissolves in water. The term strong in the name refers to the acid’s ability to release hydrogen (H+) molecules, which allows it to become ionized when placed into a solution of water. Weak acids do not have this ability. There are seven strong acids.

Strong Acid

Chemical Composition

chloric acid

HClO3

hydrobromic acid

HBr

hydrochloric acid

HCl

hydroiodic acid

HI

nitric acid

HNO3

perchloric acid

HClO4

sulfuric acid

H2SO4


These are all highly corrosive substances that can produce dangerous fumes and cause extremely painful burns. These substances must be handled with extreme care.

How to Memorize Strong Acids

Memorizing a list of substances can be challenging. Try this combination of a mnemonic device paired with chunking to help commit the list of seven strong acids to memory.

Strong Acids Mnemonic Device

Use the phrase “Chemistry needs preparation sometimes, help!to get started memorizing the seven strong acids.

  • chemistry - chloric acid
  • needs - nitric acid
  • preparation - perchloric acid
  • sometimes - sulfuric acid
  • help - hydro acid

Add on the chunking tip below to complete your memorization of the strong acids, since several of the items start with the same prefix.

Chunking and a Mnemonic

In the list of strong acids, there are three h words, each starting with the prefix hydro. Chunk those three words together and learn the phrase “before in classto help remember them. This phrase is based on the letter immediately following the hydro- in the remaining strong acids.

To recall the acids that start with the letter h, ask yourself, When is help needed?” The answer is:

  • before - hydrobromic
  • in - hydroiodic
  • class - hydrochloric

Usage Examples for Each Strong Acid

If you want to know more about the strong acids than just what they’re called and their chemical composition, you may find these examples of ways each one can be used interesting and informative.

  • chloric acid - chloride salts manufacturing, match production, explosives production
  • hydrobromic acid - industrial cleaning products, lithographic printing, engraving
  • hydrochloric acid - stomach acid (aids in digestion), fireworks production, battery production
  • hydroiodic acid - acetic acid production, sanitizing medical tools, Industrial reducing agent
  • nitric acid - explosives production, ammonium nitrate (fertilizer), polyurethane production
  • perchloric acid - separating sodium from potassium, rocket fuel production, explosives production
  • sulfuric acid - drain cleaner ingredient, wastewater treatment, steel manufacturing

Each of these acids can be used in many ways beyond the examples provided above. Most of their usage applications are specific to industrial and scientific laboratory settings.

List of Strong Bases

Like strong acids, strong bases also dissolve thoroughly in water, as opposed to weak bases that do not dissolve. Strong bases release hydroxide (OH-) ions and absorb hydrogen (H+) molecules. There are eight strong bases.

Strong Base

Chemical Composition

barium hydroxide

Ba(OH)2

calcium hydroxide

Ca(OH)2

cesium hydroxide

CsOH

lithium hydroxide

LiOH

potassium hydroxide

KOH

rubidium hydroxide

RbOH

sodium hydroxide

NaOH

strontium hydroxide

Sr(OH)2


Extreme caution should be used when working with these substances. They are highly corrosive and can cause extremely dangerous chemical burns.

How to Memorize Strong Bases

To help remember and recall the eight strong bases, try the mnemonic device below. Note that it includes the words base, and strong, so it should be easy to associate the phrase with what it represents.

  • bases - barium
  • can - calcium
  • certainly - cesium
  • look - lithium hydroxide
  • pleasing - potassium hydroxide
  • really - rubidium hydroxide
  • something - sodium hydroxide
  • strong - strontium hydroxide

Please note that where there are two strong bases that start with the same letter, the corresponding word in the mnemonic starts with the first two letters or the corresponding word to help make the memorization tool as helpful as possible.

Usage Examples for Each Strong Base

Are you wondering about how the strong bases can be used? Discover a few examples of practical applications for each one.

  • barium hydroxide - glass manufacturing, grease additive, pesticide production
  • calcium hydroxide - dental fillings, food processing (pickling lime), wastewater treatment
  • cesium hydroxide - electric storage batteries, metal production, radioactive waste clean-up
  • lithium hydroxide - lithium ion batteries, lubricant (grease) production, soap manufacturing
  • potassium hydroxide - desiccant, detergent ingredient, liquid fertilizer production
  • rubidium hydroxide - electric storage batteries, rubidium crystals production, wastewater treatment
  • sodium hydroxide - lye, drain cleaner ingredient, oven cleaner ingredient
  • strontium hydroxide - grease manufacturing, soap manufacturing, extracting sugar from beets

The strong bases have many uses beyond the examples listed above. These substances have numerous applications in industrial and scientific settings.

Build Your Chemistry Expertise

Now that you have lists of the strong acids and bases, along with general information and devices to help you memorize them, it’s a great time to learn even more about chemistry. Get started by discovering common examples of bases in everyday life.

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