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Carbonic acid breakup

  1. Sep 18, 2011 #1
    Hello everyone,

    Just one question:
    Does carbonic acid always immediately separate into water and carbon dioxide?

    I am writing down the reaction equation for HCl(aq) + NaHCO3(s) and HCl(aq) + Na2CO3(aq) that I tested in the lab.
    My TA told me carbon dioxide wouldn't form but I don't know why that is, and I keep thinking H2CO3 would break up when it's formed.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2011 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It decomposes almost immediately. Actually... carbonic acid is quite stable, but not in the presence of water. As it decomposes producing water, its decomposition is pretty fast, so it is unstable :smile:

    In other words: single, separated molecule is stable.

    However, whether you will see evolving CO2 depends on how much will be produced - carbon dioxide is soluble in water.
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