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The chemical formula of sodium carbonate (washing soda) is Na2CO3. When it is heated it undergoes a thermal decomposition reaction. This takes place above 500 degree C. The reaction of decomposition is
Na2CO3 (s) = Na2O (s) + CO2 (g)
The name of the first reaction product Na2O is Sodium Oxide which is solid and used in glass making and the name of the second reaction product is Carbon Dioxide which is a gas (resulting gas from all biologic respiration processes)
Sodium carbonate is a very stable carbonate, resisting decomposition upto a very high temperature, often till its melting temperature.
Over and above that temperature, however, it decomposes slowly to produce the metal oxide and carbon dioxide. Use of a vacuum pump to suck out the gas (`CO_2` ) eases the decomposition reaction.
`Na_2CO_3(s) stackrel Delta rarr Na_2O(s)+CO_2(g) `
`Na_2O` is a highly reactive basic oxide, producing sodium hydroxide in contact with moisture.
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