A solution is a mixture of a soluble chemical dissolved in water. Think about the difference between salt water and tap water. The salt in the salt water has dissolved and the solution looks clear, but the salt is still there and will taste salty if you taste it. Because solutions are made with water, which is made of hydrogen and water, the hydrogen in the water can make a solution into an acid or a base. You might think about an acid as something that an evil villain uses to trap a super hero, but actually some very common household solutions are acids.
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After a reaction is completed, the solution often times does not only contain the desired product, but also undesired byproducts of the reaction, unreacted starting material s and the catalyst if it was used. These compounds have to be removed in the process of isolating the pure product. A standard method used for this task is an extraction or often also referred to as washing. Strictly speaking, the two operations are targeting different parts in the mixture: while the extraction removes the target compound from an impure matrix, the washing removes impurities from the target compound i. Washing is also used as a step in the recrystallization procedure to remove the impurity containing mother liquor adhering to the crystal surface. Many liquid-liquid extractions are based on acid-base chemistry.
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