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Introduction, Preparation, Structure, Physical and Chemical Properties, Uses, Practice Problems & FAQs

There was a woman whose name was Rakhi, she had a baby girl and her first birthday was coming. Rakhi decided to make the cake for her at home. She went shopping and brought all the major ingredients. Rakhi’s sister was also preparing a cake for the baby. 

Both of them prepared cakes, rakhi’s cake was not fluffy but her sister’s cake was. Rakhi was a bit upset and asked her sister why this happened. Do you know the reason behind this? 

Rakhi’s sister explained the whole preparation process to Rakhi. After thinking a little her sister asked Rakhi if she had mixed baking soda or not. Rakhi actually forgot to add it before baking the cake.

Actually, cakes and bakery products' fluffy nature is just because of baking soda, whose chemical composition is potassium hydrogen tartrate and sodium bicarbonate.

We are not much interested in Rakhi’s cake but we are interested in that main ingredient that she missed out on. Do you know how bakery products get fluffy by adding sodium bicarbonate to them?

Let us study more about sodium bicarbonate and its properties in more detail.


Introduction to

Baking soda, often known as sodium bicarbonate, has the chemical formula . This substance is monosodium salt of carbonic acid. Due to its alkalinity, sodium bicarbonate has numerous commercial and biological applications.

Natron, which is a component of mineral springs, contains nahcolite, a naturally occurring mineral form of sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate are frequently confused. However, both are very different from each other. Sodium carbonate, often known as washing soda, has its own unique characteristics.

Structure of

Sodium bicarbonate has one sodium atom, one hydrogen atom, one carbon atom, and three oxygen atoms, as indicated by its chemical formula, . A bond exists between a sodium atom and the oxygen of the carbonate ion because sodium carbonate is a monosodium salt of carbonic acid. Due to the significant difference in electronegativity between sodium and oxygen, this bond is ionic.

Preparation of  :

Sodium bicarbonate () is produced by the Solvay ammonia soda process as an intermediate product. This process is the industrial method of preparation of Sodium bicarbonate. Using limestone as a supply of calcium carbonate () and brine as a source of sodium chloride ). The entire reaction is: 

Sodium bicarbonate can also be prepared by passing a stream of carbon dioxide gas on the saturated solution of sodium carbonate which converts sodium carbonate into sodium bicarbonate. 

Physical Properties of  :

  • Sodium bicarbonate has a molar mass of and is a white, crystalline solid.
  • The substance is present at room temperature as a powder with a density of to . Sodium bicarbonate has a density of when it is solid.
  • has a melting point of and a boiling point of , which is quite high.
  • The substance is totally immiscible in ethanol, only slightly soluble in methanol and soluble in water.
  • A monoclinic crystal lattice structure is created when sodium bicarbonate crystallises.
  • The salt sodium bicarbonate has no flavour and is bitter in taste.

    has a refractive index of

Chemical Properties of :

  • can undergo hydrolysis, to produce sodium hydroxide and carbonic acid. Th solution forms is alkaline in nature as sodium hydroxide is highly basic whereas carbonic acid is a weak acid. 

With methyl orange, the solution turns yellow, but with phenolphthalein, it is colourless.

  • It releases carbon dioxide and water when heated and produces sodium carbonate.

  • The metal salt solution produces metal carbonate and sodium salt when reacted with the solution of sodium bicarbonate. 

  • When kept in the dark and under cold conditions, sodium bicarbonate will not undergo decomposition as it has to years of shelf life.

Uses of :

  • As an antacid, sodium bicarbonate is used to treat chest burns and acid reflux. The sodium and bicarbonate ions are created through the breakdown of the sodium bicarbonate molecule in bodily fluids. These ions serve as a buffer, aiding in the treatment by neutralising the acidity.
  • One of the main ingredients of a dry fire extinguisher is sodium bicarbonate. A sodium bicarbonate interaction with acid results in significant amounts of non-combustible carbon dioxide being produced as a byproduct, and this reaction is the basis for how a fire extinguisher works.
  • Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a common ingredient used to give baked goods more fluff.
  • To clean metal surfaces and remove paint and rust, use sodium bicarbonate.
  • Additionally, the substance is used in cow feed as a buffering agent for the animal's intestines.
  • Sodium bicarbonate is utilised in personal hygiene products like mouthwashes because it is effective against bacteria.
  • is used to lessen the negative effects of chemotherapy. For quick action, this substance is intravenously given.

Practice Problems:

1. The product formed when acetic acid reacts with sodium bicarbonate are ________.




Answer: (B)
Acetic acid and sodium bicarbonate will react to form aqueous sodium acetate () and carbonic acid .

Carbonic acid, however, is very unstable and will break down into water and carbon dioxide.

The resultant carbon dioxide will bubble out of the mixture.

As a result, we may state that acetic acid and sodium bicarbonate will react to form aqueous sodium acetate, water, and carbon dioxide.

2. What is the oxidation state of carbon in ?

A. +2

B. 0

C. +4

D. -1

Answer: (C)


Oxidation number of is
Oxidation number of is

Oxidation number of is

Using the above information, we can calculate the oxidation state of carbon. Let us assume it to be .

Hence, the oxidation state of carbon in is +4.

3. The colour of baking soda is _____.

A. Blue

B. Yellow brown

C. Pale green

D. White

Answer: (A)

Solution: Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a white-coloured crystalline powder. 

4. Thermal breakdown of sodium hydrogen carbonate results in the formation of sodium carbonate along with ____________ and ________.





Answer: (A)

Solution: The scientific term for baking soda is sodium hydrogen carbonate (). Thermal breakdown of sodium hydrogen carbonate results in the formation of sodium carbonate (), water 

(), and carbon dioxide ().

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs:

Q. Is sodium bicarbonate unhealthy for people?
Sodium bicarbonate is generally not thought to be hazardous to human health. However, if the amount consumed significantly rises, it may result in issues like gastrointestinal discomfort, stomach heaviness, appetite loss, vomiting, etc. Additionally, inhalation may result in coughing and sneezing. Doctors advise patients to avoid consuming sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, especially if they have kidney problems or are pregnant.

Q. What impact does sodium bicarbonate have on pH levels?
With a of , sodium bicarbonate is naturally alkaline. As a result, when it is added to the swimming pool, the water’s alkalinity and levels are raised, improving its stability and clarity.

The blood's level is also increased by sodium carbonate in the human body if eaten. The monosodium salt of carbonic acid is sodium bicarbonate. It produces ions of sodium and bicarbonate. The ion that results from this process raises plasma bicarbonate and serves as a buffer for excess hydrogen ions and due to that it results in higher .

It can be used to raise the of soil by adding it to it.

Q. Are baking soda and baking powder different from one another?
There is a fundamental distinction between the two because baking powder contains both acid and sodium bicarbonate, whereas baking soda is only sodium bicarbonate that requires acid to activate it. So, all that is needed to make the chemical action is water. Baking soda is additionally three to four times more powerful than baking powder. With careful modifications and safety measures, both can function without replacement.

Q. Can soda ash be prepared using sodium bicarbonate?
Yes, we simply heat baking soda or sodium bicarbonate in a oven at for about an hour. Carbon dioxide and water will be released off, leaving the dry sodium carbonate. This is what we called  soda ash. 

Related Topics:

Potassium Bleaching Powder-Bleaching powder Uses
Dihydrogen Calcium Hydroxide
s-Block Elements Diagonal Relationship


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