Yes, ammonium carbonate is soluble in water. When added to hot water, it decomposes to yield ammonia, carbon dioxide, and water.
Is Ammonium Carbonate Soluble In Water? (Explained)
What is Ammonium Carbonate?
Ammonium carbonate is a white, non-toxic crystalline salt having a molecular formula (NH4)2CO3.
Alternatively, it is also called hartshorn ammonia or baker’s ammonia.
Ammonium carbonate is soluble in water, and it decomposes when added to hot water.
It is a white powder used to leaven flat baked goods. It is also used in smelling salts.
Leavening agents have been in use for baking for centuries.
It is known as the predecessor of baking powder and baking soda, which we presently use as leavening agents.
They are also used in smokeless tobacco products and in the form of active ingredients in cough syrups for relieving bronchitis symptoms.
Ammonia and carbon dioxide are mixed to produce ammonium carbonate.
However, the commercial samples labeled ammonium carbonate do not contain the compound, and instead, a compound similar that consists of ammonia.
Properties of Ammonium Carbonate
- Ammonium carbonate tends to decompose at 58 °C, and hence, this temperature is also its melting point.
- Its solubility in water is high since it is a water-soluble compound.
- When exposed to air, ammonium carbonate converts into either white porous lumps or ammonium bicarbonate powder. This is because of the loss of carbon dioxide and ammonia, and its appearance becomes opaque.
- Ammonium carbonate has a density of 1.5 at 68 °F.
- Its pH is 8.6.
Uses of Ammonium Carbonate
As A Leavening Agent
Ammonium carbonate works as a leavening agent, as we discussed earlier.
It is the main component of smelling salts.
However, their commercial-scale production is less.
For instance, Buckley’s cough syrup from Canada presently uses ammonium carbonate in the form of an active ingredient, which helps to relieve bronchitis symptoms.
Also, ammonium carbonate is used as an emetic.
It is present in smokeless tobacco products, mostly chewing tobacco, such as in Skoal.
It is also used in aqueous solutions, for example, as photographic lens cleaning agents that help to clean lenses.
What Makes Ammonium Carbonate Soluble in Water?
According to the solubility rules of a substance, all ammonium, sodium, and potassium salts are water-soluble.
Carbonate salts are generally soluble in water unless the carbonate is mixed with an alkali metal.
Since ammonium carbonate exists in either a covalent bond form or a coordinate bond, the N in ammonia consists of a pair of electrons that makes N attract the positive H in water.
Because of this, both N and H acquire polarity since the N atom has a lone pair of electrons. Therefore, ammonium carbonate is soluble in water.
Note that all nitrates are water-soluble and hence, have polarity.
All compounds containing an alkali metal (the column I of the periodic table) are water-soluble.
What is a Soluble Carbonate?
The general rule is that all carbonates are insoluble. The only exceptions are alkali metals.
However, ammonium salts are generally soluble in water.
Ammonium carbonate might be better proposed as (NH4)+(HCO3)- instead of (NH4)2CO3.
Factors Affecting The Solubility Of A Substance
Solubility increases with an increase in temperature.
This is the case with most solvents.
However, when it comes to gases, the situation is different.
When the temperature increases, they become less soluble in water and in each other.
However, they are more soluble in organic solvents.
Solutes tend to dissolve in solvents having the same polarity for most cases.
“Like dissolves like” is one of the popular aphorisms that chemists use to describe this feature of solvents and solutes.
The pressure of solid and liquid solutes in the majority does not affect their solubility.
Henry’s law states that “the solubility of a gas is directly proportional to the pressure of that gas”.
Mathematically, it is represented as p = kc.
Here, k is a temperature-dependant constant for that particular gas.
A common proof of Henry’s law can be observed when you open a bottle of any carbonated drink.
When the pressure in the bottle decreases, the gas dissolved in the bottle bubbles out of it.
The greater the molecules of the solute, the greater is their molecular size and weight.
Hence, it is more difficult for the solvent molecules to surround the bigger molecules.
If any of the above-mentioned factors are excluded, we can conclude a general rule that the larger the molecule, the less soluble it is.
If temperature and pressure are kept the same as two solutes of the same polarity, then the one with the smaller particles is generally more soluble.
You now know that ammonium carbonate is soluble in water since it is an ammonium salt, and dissolves when you add it to hot water.
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