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Name: Emily C.
Status: student
Age: 11
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000

My class did a science experiment that combined baking soda and vinegar. We put out a flame with the carbon dioxide gas. My teacher said that we made water, salt and carbon dioxide in the reaction. He said it was not table salt though. When I asked what kind it was he said I could get extra credit if I found out what kind of salt it is. Can you help me? Thanks for your time!

Your experiment was an example of a reaction between and acid (vinegar) and a base (baking soda). Such reactions typically form a "salt" and water. In your experiment, because the acid component was acetic acid, it allowed production of one of the products ==> sodium acetate. That is the stuff referred to as the "salt."

In the general case of simple acid-base reactions, the term, "salt" refers to the non-water, ionic product. If hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide were the reactants, then NaCl (common salt) would be the non-water product. Your reaction looks like this:
HC2H3O2   +   NaHCO3  ===>   NaC2H3O2    +  H2CO3

Acetic acid plus sodium bicarbonate makes sodium acetate plus carbonic acid

The NaC2H3O2 is the salt called sodium acetate.

The H2CO3 (carbonic acid) then breaks down into water and carbon dioxide:
H2CO3  ===>   H2O   +   CO2

I hope this wins your extra credit


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