Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate – Definition, Uses, Formula

Introduction to Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate

Sodium bicarbonate (sodium hydrogen carbonate) is famous as baking soda. Moreover, it is a chemical compound that has the formula NaHCO3. It is a salt that has the composition of a sodium cation (Na+) along with a bicarbonate anion (HCO3−).

Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid which is mostly crystalline. However, it often seems like a fine powder. It has a slightly alkaline, salty taste similar to that of washing soda (sodium carbonate).

sodium hydrogen carbonate

Nomenclature of Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate

Due to its wide array of uses, the component has many names like bicarbonate of soda, bread soda, cooking soda, and baking soda. The name baking soda is more general in the US. On the other hand, bicarbonate of soda is more common in Australia and Britain.

In informal usage, the names sodium bicarbonate and bicarbonate of soda are often synonyms. Moreover, it forms part of sodium bicarb, bicarb soda, bicarbonate, and bicarb which are quite common.

Uses of Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate

 Leavening- In cooking, people use baking soda in baking as a leavening agent. When it reacts with the acid, it releases carbon dioxide. Ultimately, it causes the expansion of the batter and creates the characteristic texture.

Generally, it happens in the case of grain in pancakes, cakes, soda bread, quick bread, and other baked and fried foods. Various acidic components that facilitate this reaction include lemon juice, cream of tartar, phosphates, yoghurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. In order to make a lighter product with a less acidic taste, people use baking soda and sourdough together.

Pest Control- Sodium bicarbonate is an effective way to control fungal growth. Moreover, it is registered by the Environmental Protection Agency as a biopesticide.

Fire extinguisher- People use Sodium bicarbonate to extinguish small grease or electrical fires by throwing it over the fire. It is because the heating of sodium bicarbonate releases carbon dioxide.

However, one should apply it in case of fires in deep fryers. It is because the sudden release of gas can make the grease to splatter. The alkaline nature of sodium hydrogen carbonate makes it the only existing dry chemical agent.

It is available other than Purple-K which people use in large-scale fire suppression systems. Moreover, due to its ability to act as an alkali, the agent has a mild saponification effect on hot grease.

Neutralization of Acids- Sodium bicarbonate reacts immediately with acids and releases Carbon dioxide gas as a reaction product. People use it to neutralize unwanted acid solutions or acid spills in chemical labs. It is not right to use sodium hydrogen carbonate to neutralize base even though it is reacting with both acids and bases.

Solved Question For You

Question: How Sodium Bicarbonate acts as a cleaning agent?

Answer: In a process of removing paint and corrosion, sodium hydrogen carbonate is used which is called ‘soda-blasting’. It is the process which is particularly suitable for cleaning aluminium panels.

A manufacturer suggests a paste of baking soda with less water as a gentle scouring powder. It is useful in removing surface rust because the rust creates a water-soluble compound in a concentrated alkaline solution. In such a case, cold water needs to be used, as hot-water solutions can corrode steel.

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