Lina has  some  white crystalline solid which she claims  to be a salt called ammonium carbonate.  How can you prove or disprove her claim?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Ammonium carbonate is a crystalline, white powder, that is soluble in hot water.  When crushed into its powder form, it is used as smelling salts, which can bring an unconscious person back to consciousness due to its sharp, acrid smell produced by the ammonia part of the formula.  Ammonium carbonate (NH4)2CO3 is also known as "bakers ammonia", as it was used historically as a leavening agent in the production of breads and other baked goods before the use of baking soda.  The mixing of ammonium carbonate with a base would release the ammonia part of the equation, which would be an indication of the accuracy of naming the compound.  The application of an acid, such as vinegar, would produce bubbles from the release of the carbonation, which would come off in the form of carbon dioxide, which would indicate an accurate chemical identification.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial