There's only one carbon atom...
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.
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 :)
Welcome to PF!
Hi Sqw! Welcome to PF!
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!
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