Carbonates are the inorganic salts and organic esters of carbonic acid. Carbonates are odorless and usually crystalline solids at room temperature. Since the carbonate anion does not have its own color, the color of the respective carbonate is determined by the cation.
With the exception of the alkali carbonates, they are only slightly soluble in water, so that most metal ions in aqueous solution can be precipitated when reacting with alkali carbonates.
Industrially important carbonates include sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium carbonates.
Sodium carbonate (soda) is used in the food industry as an acidity regulator, raising agent and carrier with the European approval number E 500. Baking soda is used as a raising agent and is part of baking powder. It is ideal for this purpose because it releases CO2 at comparatively low temperatures, such as 60 degrees, and turns into sesquicarbonate, which in turn releases carbon dioxide together with a weak acid. The resulting gas increases the volume of the dough, it rises and becomes loose.
Calcium carbonate is mainly used in the construction industry in the manufacture of cement and quicklime. Calcium carbonate is also used in the paper industry and in agriculture to prevent soil acidification.
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