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What does the bi stand for in bicarbonate, what is the purpose?

  1. Aug 3, 2012 #1

    Sqw

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    There's only one carbon atom...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2012 #2

    zyj

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    It just refers to the fact that it's a carbonate ion with an H+, essentially a proton, attached to it. I'm not sure where 'bi' comes from, but that's the reason why bicarbonate is also sometimes called hydrogen carbonate.
     
  4. Aug 3, 2012 #3

    uby

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  5. Aug 7, 2012 #4
    I think it's a compound consisting of 2 carbon atoms. Yep, they are the same Carbon - 12 atoms.

    I usually use this which helps me a lot :

    Mono - stands for one ( sometimes not mentioned like in maths ;) )
    bi - stands for two
    di - stands for two
    tri - stands for three

    Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bi-

    Make sure you read it :)
     
  6. Aug 7, 2012 #5

    tiny-tim

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    Welcome to PF!

    Hi Sqw! Welcome to PF! :smile:

    I think it predates the modern understanding of molecules, and was because a bicarbonate contains twice as much carbon (ie it produced twice as much CO2) as the carbonate of the same metal.

    eg NaHCO3 contains twice as much C per Na as does Na2CO3

    since the latter is obviously a carbonate, the former must be a bicarbonate! :biggrin:
     
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