What is Sodium Bicarbonate Used For?

sodium bicarbonate powder in a jar

Sodium Bicarbonate, a salt composed of sodium and bicarbonate ions also knows as ‘baking soda’ was first made well back in history, stretching to hundreds of years ago. Nicolas Leblanc a French chemist made sodium carbonate in 1791 also known as soda ash. During the late 1800s, sodium bicarbonate was discovered as a leavening agent which basically means when added to the dough or batter it reacts to cause a foaming action that enhances the softness and lightens the mixture.

 Solvay process, a reaction between sodium chloride, ammonia, and carbon dioxide in water is the process used to produce sodium bicarbonate. The formula for sodium bicarbonate is NaHCO3

Uses of Sodium bicarbonate include :

  • Primarily used as a leavening agent especially in baking.
  • sodium bicarbonate is an important ingredient in pesticides as it can kill insect like cockroaches and can be used to control fungal growth.
  • Soda blasting, a process involving removal of corrosion involves use of sodium bicarbonate.
  • It is also used in toothpaste giving better whitening and plaque removal when compared to those toothpaste who doesn’t have it.
  • Sodium bicarbonate tablets can be used to get relieved from medical conditions such as heartburns and acid indigestion.
  • Insect bites and stings, plant allergies, splinters from the skin can be treated with proper use of sodium bicarbonate.
  • Sodium bicarbonate is also used as fire extinguisher and for neutralization of acids and bases.

With 25% percent of the global demand captured by china, it accounted for the single largest market for Sodium bicarbonate in 2019 while the remaining of Asia accounted for 18%. Europe and North America together accounted for 46% of the global demand. One-fourth of sodium bicarbonate global consumption is in animal feed industry followed by demand in food applicants which accounted to 20% in the global consumption of sodium bicarbonate. Other major uses involved flu gas treatment, personal care, detergents, cleaners and hemodialysis.

Although the demand for baking soda has been downsized gradually due to self-rising flour and cake and biscuit mixes in the food industry and reduced consumption in detergent as they were being replaced by liquid counterparts but the effect isn’t as good as baking soda who’s most important attribute is to make the baking goods rise by releasing carbon dioxide gas when exposed to heat and liquid detergent was not widely accepted across the globe. Thus, the slowing demand is still significant enough as commercial bakers still use baking soda as their basic ingredient. Sodium bicarbonate has important application in the pharmaceutical industry and other industrial products hence it continues to be an important product today and for days to come.

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