What is Sodium Bicarbonate?

sodium bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. Its IUPAC name is sodium hydrogen carbonate, generally known as baking soda, particularly in North America and New Zealand, and it is also called soda bicarbonate.

This is a salt that consists of a negatively charged ion of bicarbonate (HCO3-) and a positively charged ion of sodium (Na+). Sodium bicarbonate is a solid substance that is crystalline but also appears in powder form. It has a distinctly salty, alkali flavor like that of sodium carbonate, i.e., washing soda.

In cooking, a variety of ingredients used in slices of bread and butter that produce a foaming process that loosens and softens the mixture are leaven, also called a leavening agent, and baking soda is one of the ingredients for it.

Sodium bicarbonate can sometimes be used as a wash to extract from a “crude” liquid any acidic impurities, creating a pure sample. Salt and carbonic acid are formed by the reaction of sodium bicarbonate and acid, which easily decompose into carbon dioxide and water.

Sodium has many associated names, such as sodium bicarbonate, bread soda, cooking soda, and baking soda, since it has been known for a very long time and is regularly used. In the United States, the term baking soda is more popular, while soda bicarbonate is more often used in British and Australia. The names sodium bicarbonate and soda bicarbonate are sometimes truncated in informal usage; types such as bicarb soda and sodium bicarb, bicarbonate, and bicarb are popular.

For both sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate, the word saleratus, obtained from the Latin word sal aerates, which signifies accelerated salt, was normally utilized in the nineteenth century. It is referred to as one of the food additives E500 with the E number.

The prefix “bi” in the word bicarbonate comes from an old and outdated labeling framework and varies depending on the view that in sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) there is twice as much carbonate (CO3) per sodium as in sodium carbonate (Na2CO3). These names are unambiguous since sodium consistently has the +1 oxidation state and carbonate has the −2 oxidation state.

Production of Sodium Bicarbonate

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Sodium bicarbonate is derived commercially from sodium carbonate

Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O x 2 NaHCO3 + CO2 + H2O

It has been manufactured on a scale of approximately 100,000 tonnes per year since 2001. Industrial amounts of cooking soda are likewise delivered by a comparative technique. Soda ash is mined as the mineral trona, and it is broken down in the water and treated with carbon dioxide. Sodium bicarbonate is encouraged as a strong solid in the solution.

Sodium bicarbonate is an intermediary in sodium chloride, carbon dioxide, and ammonia reactions with respect to the Solvay process. However, low purity is seen in the product.

Here is the chemical formula for it:

NaCl + CO2 + NH3 + H2O → NaHCO3 + NH4Cl

Despite the fact that it has no practical worth, NaHCO3 might be acquired by the reaction of carbon dioxide with a fluid solution of sodium hydroxide

Here is the chemical formula for it:

CO2 + NaOH → NaHCO3



Crafted commercially from sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate emerges from a chemical ballet involving carbon dioxide and water. This production dance, to the tune of approximately 100,000 tonnes per year since 2001, mirrors a similar technique in cooking soda production. The Solvay process, a grand performance involving sodium chloride, carbon dioxide, and ammonia, adds another layer to the narrative, albeit with a trade-off in purity.

In conclusion, sodium bicarbonate is not just a kitchen companion but a chemical marvel, weaving its magic in reactions, culinary delights, and even purification rituals. So, here’s a toast to baking soda—the unsung hero of both the kitchen and the chemical realm!

Read next: Sodium Silicate: Overview And The Market