Questions about alkaline/bases

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Questions about alkaline/bases

Post by NegativeZer »

This is a bit of a tangle of questions, but they all relate back to the same thing.

Lemon juice is able to dissolve paper by using it as well as water and heat. I was wondering, as bases can be just as strong as acids, would strong bases be able to do the same thing (dissolve paper)?

If not, why?
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Re: Questions about alkaline/bases

Post by drstein2022 »


This is a great question. Broadly, acids and bases can both be corrosive and dissolve things, though this tends to occur in different conditions (and what can be dissolved is not equal for all chemicals).

Paper is predominantly made of cellulose, which tends to really like itself. While a strong base can cause damage to some tissues -- for example, fatty tissues, oils, etc., cellulose is a carbohydrate (polysaccharide) and tends to be easier to dissolve in acids. In certain conditions (I believe cold conditions being an example) it is possible to dissolve paper as well.


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