alkali

alkali (ălˈkəlĪ) [key] [Arab., al-gili = ashes of saltwort], hydroxide of an alkali metal. Alkalies are readily soluble in water and form strongly basic solutions with a characteristic acrid taste. They neutralize acids, forming salts and water. Strong alkalies (e.g., those of sodium or potassium) are sometimes called caustic alkalies. The term alkali originally applied to salts obtained from plant ashes and is sometimes applied to a carbonate of sodium or potassium or to the hydroxide of an alkaline-earth metal.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on alkali from Fact Monster:

  • Interactive Periodic Table - Use the interactive Periodic Table to learn about all of the known elements, from hydrogen to ununpentium.
  • alkaline earths - alkaline earths alkaline earths , oxides of the alkaline-earth metals, especially of calcium, ...
  • Widnes - Widnes Widnes , city (1991 pop. 55,973), Halton, NW England, on the Mersey River. It is an ...
  • glass - glass glass, hard substance, usually brittle and transparent, composed chiefly of silicates and an ...
  • caustic - caustic caustic, any strongly corrosive chemical substance, especially one that attacks organic ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Compounds and Elements