Difference between Bicarbonate and Baking Soda

Jul 14, 2011 by

What is the Difference between Bicarbonate and Baking Soda?

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  1. khristine

    Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate or NaHCO3, is a clear white powder that is popularly known for its many applications especially at home, in baking, and in various industrial purposes. And since it has been widely utilized by people, baking soda is baptized in different names with the likes of cooking soda, bread soda, and bicarbonate of soda to name a few. In some cases, its name is shortened into bicarb soda, sodium bicarb, or plainly “bicarb”.

    Because of the changes in the employment of its name, people get to confuse baking soda with a separate substance that is bicarbonate per se. For some people, they thought that baking soda and bicarbonate is only one substance with similar chemical components and uses.

    In actuality, bicarbonate is a different substance as compared to baking soda. While the former is referred to as a kind of “salt” that naturally occurs and are present in many chemical compounds, the latter is an example of a bicarbonate compound. And, being a compound means that baking soda is in reality a combination of two (or more) chemical elements (Na for sodium + HCO3 for bicarbonate) that formed the substance. Others include ammonium bicarbonate, calcium bicarbonate, carbonic acid, and potassium bicarbonate.

    Bicarbonate as an alkaline plays an important role in the pH buffering system of the person’s body. It also helps in regulating the normal pH level within the small intestines. And when bicarbonate is combined with sodium, that primarily constitutes baking soda, it is traditionally applied as a leavening agent whenever baking bread, cookies, and other baked goods. It is also used as a deodorizer because of its capability to neutralize unwanted smell in a chemical way. Baking soda is also applied in manufacturing fire extinguishers because of its tendency to release carbon dioxide when heated thus choking the flames while keeping the oxygen away.

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