Love For Chemistry: Sodium bicarbonate Facts

Sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate, better known as baking soda is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3 . It is primarily used in cooking and baking as a leavening agent, and as a very effective cleaning agent. It is mined in its natural form, nahcolite, as a white or colourless carbonate mineral.

 As something so simple at its core, sodium bicarbonate can be rather amazing, so let’s take a look at some of its many uses: How does baking powder work? Baking powder is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and a weak acid, usually cream of tartar or sodium aluminium sulfate.

It makes cakes and breads rise, and is superior to yeast because the chemical reaction is instant. When baking powder is mixed with a liquid, these two ingredients react to form bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. Since the reaction occurs immediately, it is best to complete your meal right away before the bubbles disappear.

 It’s very important to never over-mix your recipe so that the bubbles are not stirred out of the mixture. There are two types of baking powder: Single-acting and Double-acting. The first makes carbon dioxide bubbles as soon as you make the mixture, while double-acting produces additional bubbles when your mixture is heated in the oven.

This is because of the calcium acid phosphate, which lets out a small amount of carbon dioxide when the water is added, but much more when the mixture is heated. Personal hygiene. You probably know that sodium bicarbonate is found in many toothpaste formulas. That is because it has whitening properties and plaque-removal properties as well. Since it has anti-caries and abrasive properties, it is commonly used in some mouthwashes as well. There is a neat trick if you run out of toothpaste and need to brush your teeth: use plain baking soda with water. Because it acts as an antiseptic and neutralizes the production of acids in the mouth, it can be used as a replacement for toothpaste.

Since sodium bicarbonate is gentle, it doesn’t strip your skin of its protective oils like most soaps do and can be used as a substitute to soap or shampoo. If you combine three parts baking soda to one part water, you can make a gentle cleanser, yet powerful enough to eradicate even the strongest smells such as onion and garlic.

Sodium Bicarbonate as a cleaning agent. If made into a paste, combined with water, sodium bicarbonate can serve well as a cleaning agent. Whether it’s unclogging a drain, removing stubborn stains from laundry, or even acting as a deodoriser (instructions), baking soda makes a great cleaning agent because it is a mild alkali, and it can react with acids without causing any damaging reactions.

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