Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate Formula

What is the Chemical Formula of Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate?

Sodium hydrogen carbonate is the IUPAC name of a chemical compound which is more commonly known as sodium bicarbonate, or sometimes simply hydrogen carbonate. Another common name of sodium hydrogen carbonate is baking soda or bicarbonate of soda. The compound is a salt made up of sodium cation Na+ and a carbonate anion HCO3- (hydrogen carbonate symbol). Thus, the sodium hydrogen carbonate formula is given as NaHCO3. It is a white crystalline solid and often is seen as a fine powder. From the given sodium hydrogen carbonate formula, its molecular weight can be calculated which is 84.006 gm/mol. 

The chemical name of sodium hydrogen carbonate or sodium bicarbonate is sodium hydrogen carbonate. 

General Properties of Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate

It is clear from the chemical formula of sodium hydrogen carbonate that it consists of a positive ion of Na+ and a negative ion of HCO3-, and they are arranged in the form as given in the image:

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The typical crystals of sodium hydrogen carbonate are of monoclinic structure. 

The industrial production of sodium bicarbonate is done using sodium carbonate. The reaction used for the production of sodium bicarbonate is:

Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O → 2NaHCO3 (Sodium hydrogen carbonate chemical formula)

There is another process known as the Solvay process that is used for the production of sodium hydrogen carbonate. In this process, sodium hydrogen carbonate is obtained in the form of an intermediate. Sodium chloride, ammonia, and carbon dioxide react together to produce sodium carbonate during which ammonium chloride and sodium hydroxide carbonate are formed as an intermediate product. The reaction is given below as follows:

NaCl + CO2 + NH3 + H2O → NaHCO3 + NH4Cl. (Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate symbol + Ammonium chloride symbol).


The shelf life of sodium bicarbonate can last for two to three years if it is kept in a cool and dry environment. When kept in an airtight container to avoid any moisture it won't decompose and can last for a period of at least two to three years. 

Uses of Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate

There are numerous uses of sodium hydrogen carbonate that range from common household to industrial purposes. It also works as a common household medical aid under certain conditions as well. Some of its uses are listed below:

  • The common name of sodium hydrogen carbonate is baking soda as it is used for the main purpose of baking during cooking. The common name comes from the common yet essential use of the compound in baking as a leavening agent. Typically when it reacts with an acidic material such as hydrogen phosphates, cream of tartar, juice of lemon, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar, it releases carbon dioxide. Due to this release of carbon dioxide while baking the batter expands and forms the characteristic texture and grain structure that you usually observe in quick bread, soda breads, sometimes idlis, khamman, and many other baked and fried foods. For the release of CO2 from sodium hydrogen carbonate balanced equation is given as follows: NaHCO3 + H+ → Na+ CO2 + H2O.

  • The common name of sodium hydrogen carbonate comes from its use in the preparation of baking powder which is also used for cooking. Baking powder contains around 30% sodium bicarbonate and the acidic reagents or compounds that get activated as they come into contact with water. This leads to the usual process as mentioned above. But one thing you should know is that baking soda is alkaline in nature. 

  • Sodium bicarbonate is also used in pyrotechnics and fireworks. The common black snake tablets that can be found mostly used during the festival of Diwali contain sodium bicarbonate. In this firework, long snake-like ash is formed because of thermal decomposition with the release of carbon dioxide and the ash being a combustion product of sucrose.

  • Sodium hydrogen carbonate is sometimes used to delay combustion because it produces carbon dioxide and water as a combustion product and both of them are used to control fire or halt combustion. Due to this property, it is used in fire extinguishers as well. 

  • It is also used for acid neutralization, especially acid spills in industries as they spontaneously react and release carbon dioxide as a reaction product. Because of its instant reaction with acids, it is also used as an antacid in order to treat indigestion in the stomach occurring due to acidity and also for the treatment of heartburn. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Ionic Formula of Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate?

Ans: Sodium hydrogen carbonate chemical formula or mistakenly written as sodium hydroxide carbonate formula is given as NaHCO3. From the given molecular formula of sodium hydrogen carbonate one can separate the compound into two ionic components. The compound is formed of a sodium cation (Na+) and an ammonium anion (HCO3-). Thus, when both the ions come together, they form an electrically neutral sodium hydrogen carbonate. 

2. Where is Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate Used?

Ans: Sodium hydrogen carbonate which is also known as sodium bicarbonate and commonly known as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda is a source of carbon dioxide. It is used mainly as an ingredient in baking powders that are used for cooking purposes, in effervescent salts, beverages, and also one of the main constituents of dry-chemical fire extinguishers.