If you like us, please share us on social media.
The latest UCD Hyperlibrary newsletter is now complete, check it out.

ChemWiki: The Dynamic Chemistry E-textbook > Development Details > Approaches > Demos > Additional Demos > The Chemistry of the Bicarbonate Ion

Copyright (c) 2006-2014 MindTouch Inc.

This file and accompanying files are licensed under the MindTouch Master Subscription Agreement (MSA).

At any time, you shall not, directly or indirectly: (i) sublicense, resell, rent, lease, distribute, market, commercialize or otherwise transfer rights or usage to: (a) the Software, (b) any modified version or derivative work of the Software created by you or for you, or (c) MindTouch Open Source (which includes all non-supported versions of MindTouch-developed software), for any purpose including timesharing or service bureau purposes; (ii) remove or alter any copyright, trademark or proprietary notice in the Software; (iii) transfer, use or export the Software in violation of any applicable laws or regulations of any government or governmental agency; (iv) use or run on any of your hardware, or have deployed for use, any production version of MindTouch Open Source; (v) use any of the Support Services, Error corrections, Updates or Upgrades, for the MindTouch Open Source software or for any Server for which Support Services are not then purchased as provided hereunder; or (vi) reverse engineer, decompile or modify any encrypted or encoded portion of the Software.

A complete copy of the MSA is available at http://www.mindtouch.com/msa

The Chemistry of the Bicarbonate Ion

Chemical Concepts Demonstrated


Three balloons are attached to three bottles as shown in the picture.
  • All of the balloons contain Alka-Seltzer.
  • The first bottle contains 250 ml of water.
  • The second bottle contains 250 ml of water and 3 ml of HCl.
  • The third bottle contains 100 ml of water and 150 ml of a soft drink.

Drop the alka-seltzer into the bottles.


The more acidic the solution, the larger the amount of CO2 gas is produced.   These amounts can easily be measured by comparing the resulting size of the balloons.  The plain water produces the least amount of gas, the water and hydrochloric acid produces a moderate amount, and the water and soft drink produce the most gas.

Explanation (including important chemical equations)

HCO3- (aq) + H+ (aq) <=> H2CO3 (aq) <=> H2O (l) + CO2 (g)

HCl is a stronger acid than water.  Larger amounts of acid will increase the acidity of the solution and push the reaction towards the production of products (i.e. more acidity yields more CO2 gas).


You must to post a comment.
Last modified
10:30, 2 Oct 2013



(not set)
(not set)

Creative Commons License Unless otherwise noted, content in the UC Davis ChemWiki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at copyright@ucdavis.edu. Questions and concerns can be directed toward Prof. Delmar Larsen (dlarsen@ucdavis.edu), Founder and Director. Terms of Use