Difference Between Sodium Carbonate And Sodium Bicarbonate

The key difference between sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate is that sodium carbonate is a stronger alkaline compound often used as a cleaning agent, while sodium bicarbonate is a milder compound commonly known as baking soda.

What is Sodium Carbonate?

Sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash or washing soda, is a chemical compound with the formula Na2CO3. It’s a white, odorless powder and has a variety of uses. It’s commonly used in manufacturing glass, soaps, and detergents.

It can also be employed as a water softener, pH regulator, and in cleaning products due to its alkaline nature. In the food industry, it’s used as a raising agent in baking.

Sodium carbonate can be synthesized from sodium chloride through the Solvay process or obtained naturally from certain mineral deposits.

What is Sodium Bicarbonate?

Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is a white crystalline powder with various uses. It acts as a leavening agent in baking, producing carbon dioxide to help the dough rise. It’s used in fire extinguishers to suppress grease fires.

In medicine, it can be an antacid to alleviate heartburn and indigestion. It’s also employed in cleaning and deodorizing due to its mild abrasive and odor-neutralizing properties.

Sodium bicarbonate can even be used in personal care as a toothpaste ingredient or as a remedy for insect bites and sunburns.

Sodium Carbonate vs Sodium Bicarbonate

The basic difference between sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate is given below:

  PropertySodium Carbonate (Soda Ash)Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)
Chemical FormulaNa2CO3NaHCO3
Common UsesGlass manufacturing, cleaning agentsBaking, cooking, antacid
SolubilitySoluble in waterSoluble in water
pHAlkalineSlightly alkaline
Reaction with AcidProduces carbon dioxide gasProduces carbon dioxide gas
Reaction with HeatDecomposes to form sodium oxideDecomposes to form water and CO2
AppearanceWhite powder or crystalsWhite powder

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