Important Properties and Uses of Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate are two commercially important ionic compounds of the sodium cation (usually denoted by Na+) and the carbonate anion (a polyatomic ion with the chemical formula CO32-). Sodium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula Na2CO3. This compound is also known as soda ash and washing soda (it is sometimes referred to as soda crystals). Many hydrates of this compound are known to exist. Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda or sodium hydrogen carbonate, is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3.

The chemical compositions of sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate are quite similar, the only difference being that the former contains one hydrogen atom and one sodium atom whereas the latter contains two sodium atoms and no hydrogen atoms. Sodium bicarbonate is a very important compound in the cooking and baking industry, where it serves as the primary component of both baking soda and baking powder. It is important to note that the bicarbonate ion is a polyatomic ion that is represented by the chemical formula HCO3. Some important properties and uses of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate are provided in this article.

Sodium Carbonate

The chemical formula of sodium carbonate is Na2CO3. This compound has a molar mass of approximately 105.988 grams per mole in its anhydrous state. However, the decahydrate of sodium carbonate (denoted by the chemical formula Na2CO3.10H2O) has a molar mass of roughly 286.14 grams per mole. Under standard conditions for temperature and pressure, this compound is known to exist as a white solid that is hygroscopic in nature. It can also be noted that this compound does not have any characteristic odour. The density associated with anhydrous sodium carbonate is roughly 2.54 grams per cubic centimetre.

Sodium carbonate is used as a cleansing agent for several domestic purposes such as for washing clothes. Sodium carbonate is known to be an important component of many dry soap powders. This compound is used for removing both temporary and permanent hardness in hard water samples.

Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate has a chemical formula that can be written as NaHCO3. The molar mass of this compound can be approximated to 84 grams per mole. Like sodium carbonate, this compound is known to exist in the form of white crystals (that are odourless) under standard conditions for temperature and pressure. The density of this compound under standard conditions is approximately equal to 2.2 grams per cubic centimetre.

When heated, sodium bicarbonate is known to begin undergoing a decomposition reaction to afford sodium carbonate. This reaction is known to begin at a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius. The primary application of this compound is as a leavening agent in the cooking of certain food items such as cakes and bread. Another important application of this compound is in the control of pests (since it has the ability to serve as a fungicide).

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