Difference Between Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate

By: | Updated: Jul-21, 2021

It’s the weekend, and you decided to clean your kitchen with sodium carbonate, which is an alkaline compound. You find it a bit difficult to measure the correct amount of sodium carbonate in order to get the right result.

You need a bit of help, so you go to your nearest chemist store and ask for advice. They tell you that sodium bicarbonate is the one that you should use for this purpose. You don’t know much about it, but what you do know is that it’s a basic compound. It’s alkaline.

Sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate are both used in the same way, but they’re used for different purposes. Bleach, for example, is a mixture of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. You might also have heard that sodium bicarbonate is used to make vinegar.

The truth is, sodium bicarbonate is often used in industrial and chemical processes. It’s also used in the baking industry to neutralize acids.

Summary Table

Sodium Carbonate Sodium Bicarbonate
Sodium carbonate is the sodium salt of carbonic acid Sodium bicarbonate is the sodium salt of bicarbonate ion.
Safer, not corrosive More corrosive
Sodium carbonate has a density of 2.64 g/cm3 Sodium bicarbonate has a density of 2.32 g/cm3.

Definitions:

Difference Between Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate

You’re confused. You’re looking for sodium carbonate to clean your kitchen, but you’ve been told that sodium bicarbonate is the one you should use. Why? What’s the difference between these two compounds?

Sometimes, the terms sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate are used interchangeably. The reality is that sodium bicarbonate is a compound that is slightly more alkaline than sodium carbonate. But, they’re still both alkaline compounds.

The sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate are the same compound, but they have different chemical formulas. Both compounds are white solids that have a pH of around 9.0. If you’re measuring sodium carbonate, then you need to make sure that you’re measuring it accurately.

Sodium carbonate is also known as soda ash. Sodium bicarbonate is also known as baking soda. Both compounds are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

In this article, we’re going to give you an in-depth comparison between sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. We’ll discuss the differences between these two compounds, how they’re used, and why you might want to use one over the other.

You might ask, “What’s the difference between sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate?” “Why do I need one over the other?” “Which one should I use?” And the answer is, there isn’t a whole lot of difference. They’re both used for different purposes, but they’re both effective at their jobs. We’ll give you all the answers to these questions, and we’ll also give you a bit of history about each compound.

Let’s start with the basics, then we’ll go into the details. We will cover the uses of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, their chemistry, and why you might want to use one over the other. You will also learn about the differences between these two compounds, their characteristics, and what makes them different. So, let’s get started.

What is sodium bicarbonate?

Sodium bicarbonate is a chemical compound that consists of sodium and bicarbonate ions. Sodium bicarbonate is formed by the reaction of carbon dioxide and water. Sodium bicarbonate is an alkaline substance that neutralizes acids. It is also used as a base in manufacturing detergents, soap, toothpaste, and baking powder.

What is sodium carbonate?

Sodium carbonate is a chemical compound that consists of sodium and carbonate ions. Sodium carbonate is formed by the reaction of carbon dioxide and water. Sodium carbonate is an alkaline substance that neutralizes acids. It is also used as a base in manufacturing detergents, soap, toothpaste, and baking powder.

What are the similarities between sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate?

Before we go to the differences between sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, let’s find out what are the similarities between them.

  1. Both of these are alkaline compounds. They have a high molecular weight and a low melting point (very low).
  2. They are both good foaming agents.

3.Both of these are soluble in water.

  1. Both are commonly used in the home for washing clothes, baking, and treating wounds.
  2. Both are also known as caustic soda. (Sodium carbonate is a stronger base than sodium bicarbonate.)
  3. The process of neutralizing these two substances is called neutralization. Sodium carbonate neutralizes at a pH of 8.5-9, while sodium bicarbonate neutralizes at a pH of 8.2-8.4.
  4. They are both alkaline.

What are the differences between sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate?

Now that we have discussed the similarities of sodium bicarbonate, let us take a look at what are the differences between sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate.

  1. How they are formed

Sodium carbonate is the sodium salt of carbonic acid. This salt is formed by adding carbon dioxide to aqueous sodium hydroxide solution. Sodium carbonate has two forms, namely, solid and water soluble. The solid form of sodium carbonate is more commonly used in making chemical compounds as well as in preparing solutions for application in industrial processes. The water soluble form of sodium carbonate is used for neutralizing acidic materials such as ammonia, acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, and phosphoric acid.

Sodium bicarbonate is the sodium salt of bicarbonate ion. It is formed by adding sodium hydroxide to aqueous sodium carbonate solution. The bicarbonate ion in the resulting solution is used to neutralize acidic materials such as acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, and phosphoric acid.

  1. Safety

Sodium carbonate is a safer salt than sodium bicarbonate. Sodium carbonate is not corrosive to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. It is generally used in the laboratory for preparing chemical compounds and as a reagent in analytical procedures. Sodium bicarbonate, on the other hand, can be used for neutralizing acidic materials such as acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, and phosphoric acid. It is more corrosive to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.

  1. Stability

Sodium carbonate is more stable than sodium bicarbonate. Sodium carbonate is less sensitive to oxidation. It is more stable to heat and it can be used in preparing chemical compounds at high temperatures. Sodium bicarbonate is more sensitive to oxidation. It is less stable to heat and it can be used in preparing chemical compounds at high temperatures.

  1. Combination with other chemicals

Sodium carbonate can be combined with other chemicals to produce a variety of chemical compounds. Sodium bicarbonate, on the other hand, cannot be combined with other chemicals.

  1. Density

Sodium carbonate is more dense than sodium bicarbonate. Sodium carbonate has a density of 2.64 g/cm3 while sodium bicarbonate has a density of 2.32 g/cm3.

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