What is a carbonate? Give some examples of carbonates and their uses.

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In inorganic chemistry a carbonate is a salt formed when a substance reacts with carbonic acid. The chemical formula of carbonic acid is H2CO3. During the reaction the two hydrogen atoms are replaced by the reacting substance to form a carbonate.

For example calcium carbonate CaCO3, calcium-magnesium carbonate CaMg(CO3)2 and iron carbonate FeCO3. These carbonates form an important component of rocks like limestone, dolomite and siderite.

Carbonates of sodium and potassium are used for their anti-microbial properties as a cleaning agent and for preserving food.

Industrial applications of carbonates include the creation of glasses and ceramics, extraction of iron, manufacture of cement and the production of lime which are essential for construction.

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