A substance that dissolves in water to give a solution of aqueous hydroxide ions that is capable of turning red litmus blue.

The name is derived from the Arabic, al-qaliy (roasted ash), because such solutions can be made by adding water to the ashes of wood or plants.


Alkaline materials in lubricating oils neutralize acids to prevent acidic and corrosive wear in internal combustion engines.

Certain types of alkalis (eg potassium hydroxide) have been used as fuel cell electrolytes.

See also: Alkaline, Alkalinity.

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Subjects: Chemistry