Information submited: 2015-06-04 Modified: 2018-05-18 By: 1
Sodium Bicarbonate (Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate) is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3.

Sodium Bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate).

Since it has long been known and is widely used, the salt has many related names such as Baking Soda, Bread Soda, Cooking Soda, and Bicarbonate of Soda.

The word Saleratus, from Latin Sal æratus meaning Aerated salt, was widely used in the 19th century for both Sodium Bicarbonate and Potassium Bicarbonate. The term has now fallen out of common usage.

The ancient Egyptians used natural deposits of natron, a mixture consisting mostly of Sodium Carbonate decahydrate, and Sodium Bicarbonate. The natron was ground up, solvated, and used as paint for hieroglyphics.

NaHCO3 is mainly prepared by the solvay process, which is the reaction of Sodium Chloride, ammonia, and carbon dioxide in Water. Calcium Carbonate is used as the source of CO2 and the resultant calcium oxide is used to recover the ammonia from the ammonium chloride. The product shows a low purity (75%).

Pure product is obtained from Sodium Carbonate, Water and carbon dioxide as reported in one of the following reactions. It is produced on the scale of about 100,000 tonnes / year.

Chemical structure:

In 1791, a French chemist, Nicolas Leblanc, produced Sodium carbonate, also known as Soda Ash.

Commercial quantities of Baking Soda are also produced by a similar method: Soda Ash, mined in the form of the ore trona, is dissolved in Water and treated with carbon dioxide. Sodium Bicarbonate precipitates as a solid from this method: Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O → 2 NaHCO3.

Sodium Bicarbonate is amphoteric, reacting with acids and bases. It reacts violently with acids, releasing CO2 gas as a reaction product. Sodium Bicarbonate is not recommended for the clean up of acid spills, as the heat produced increases the reactivity of the acid.

Sodium Bicarbonate has difference between Baking Soda and Baking Powder. Baking Powder contains Baking Soda, as well as a powdered acid and cornstarch.

In scientific terms, Baking Soda is a pure substance, Baking Powder is a mixture.

Baking Soda is alkaline, so acid is used in baking powder to avoid a metallic taste when the chemical change during baking creates Sodium Carbonate.
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