UKPCS Science Chemistry: Baking soda #47

Oracle IAS, the best coaching institute for UPSC/IAS/PCS preparation in Dehradun brings to you UKPCS Science Chemistry (paper 6). 

Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate). The natural mineral form is nahcolite.


  • Cooking: Sodium bicarbonate, referred to as baking soda, is primarily used in baking, as a leavening agent. It reacts with acidic components in batters, releasing carbon dioxide, which causes expansion of the batter and forms the characteristic texture and grain in pancakes, cakes, quick breads, soda bread, and other baked and fried foods.
  • Pest Control: Used to kill cockroaches. Once consumed, it causes internal organs of cockroaches to burst due to gas collection.
  • Paint and corrosive removal: Sodium bicarbonate is used in a process for removing paint and corrosion called sodablasting; the process is particularly suitable for cleaning aluminium panels.
  • Increasing Ph: It can be administered to pools, spas, and garden ponds to raise the total alkalinity, this will also raise the pH level and make maintaining proper pH easier.
  • Neutralizing acids and bases
  • Medical use: Sodium bicarbonate mixed with water can be used as an antacid to treat acid indigestion and heartburn.[24] Its reaction with stomach acid produces salt, water, and carbon dioxide:

NaHCO3 + HCl → NaCl + H2O + CO2(g)


  • Solvay process (refer above)
  • Mining: Nahcolite ore.

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