Neutralization Description

When an ionic salt is dissolved in water, several water molecules break into their ionic constituents of H+ and OH-. Neutralization is the process of changing the constituents in an ionic solution until the number of hydrogen ions (H+) is balanced by the hydroxyl (OH-) ions. Imbalance is measured in terms of the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration, and is described as the solution's pH. Neutrality, on the pH scale, is 7; an excess of H+ ions (acidity) is listed at between 0 and 7; and an excess of hydroxy or OH- ions (alkalinity) is indicated as between 7 and 14. Neutralization is used to treat waste acids and alkalis (bases) to eliminate or reduce reactivity and corrosivity. Neutralization is an inexpensive treatment, especially if waste alkalis can be used to treat waste acid and vice/versa. Residuals include neutral effluents containing dissolved salts, and any precipitated salts.

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