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Ammonium Bicarbonate Formula – Structure, Properties, Uses, Sample Questions

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  • Last Updated : 17 Mar, 2022
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As we all have a decent understanding of baker’s ammonia in day to day life which is employed within the kitchen for creating tasty crispy baked cookies or crackers biscuit, it’s also employed in fast cooking. In modern chemistry, we call it chemically “ammonium bicarbonate”. The term Ammonium bicarbonate is really an old term that’s now commonly referred to and replaced with other substances like Baking powder (leavening) or baking soda (saleratus). It’s a very important point to know that baker’s ammonia is completely different from household ammonia which could be a toxic substance.

What is Ammonium Bicarbonate?

Ammonium Bicarbonate is an inorganic chemical compound that’s mildly basic. It consists of the ammonium cation and therefore the bicarbonate anion. Chemically it is the bicarbonate salt (HCO-3) of ammonia (NH+4). It’s a solid that has no colour and it degrades readily to ammonia, carbon dioxide, and water.

Carbon dioxide: One in all the heavy colourless gas which is created by the burning of plant or animal matter. Its statement is CO2 and also acidic in nature with soluble in water. CO2 occurs naturally in the earth’s atmosphere as joined by the trace gas.

Ammonia: Ammonia may be a colourless, highly irritating gas with a pungent smell and suffocating odour. Its formula is NH3. About 80% of the ammonia produced by industry is employed in agriculture as fertilizers. Ammonia is also used for the manufacturing of plastics, explosives, textiles, pesticides, dyes and other chemicals. It’s also used as a refrigerant gas, for the purification of water supplies.

Water: Water is formed from hydrogen and oxygen, and it exists in gaseous, liquid, and solid states. Water is one of the foremost plentiful and essential compounds, occurring as a liquid on the planet’s surface under normal conditions. Its chemical formula is H2O with the molecular mass of eighteen.

This compound has multiple names which reflect its long history, such as:

  • Ammonium hydrogen carbonate
  • Monoammonium carbonate
  • Monoammonium salt, etc.

Chemical formula and Molecular formula

  • Chemical formula of ammonium bicarbonate is NH4HCO3.
  • Molecular formula of ammonium bicarbonate is CH5NO3.

Molar Mass: It has molar mass of 79.056g/mol.

Appearance and Melting Point: White crystalline solid with a melting point of 41.9°C.


Ammonium bicarbonate chemical structure is made up of the ammonium cation NH4+ and the bicarbonate anion HCO3.


Ammonium bicarbonate is present during a small quantity in nitrogenous organic matter, together with multiple other ammonium salts. It also occurs naturally as a really rare mineral referred to as “Teschemacherite”.


The Ammonium bicarbonate is formed by combining two things that are greenhouse gas which is carbon dioxide and ammonia:

CO2  +  NH3  +  H2O  =  (NH4)HCO3

As ammonium bicarbonate is unstable thermally, the reaction solution is always kept under the cold temperature. Thus, this ends up allowing the precipitation of the merchandise as the white solid. About 100,000 tons were produced in a similar way within the year 1997.

Ammonia gas sent to a solution (aqueous) of sesquicarbonate that’s a 2:1:1 mixture of, (NH4)HCO3, (NH4)2CO3 and H2O transforms it into a traditional ammonium carbonate ((NH4)2CO3), which may be obtained within the crystalline condition from a solution or preparation created at about 30 °C of temperature. On exposure to this compound to air provides off ammonia and reverts it to the ammonium bicarbonate.

Salt of Hartshorn: Compositions containing carbonate of ammonium have long been known. They were once produced commercially, formerly referred to as a spirit of ammonia or salt of hartshorn. It absolutely was obtained by the dry distillation of nitrogenous organic matter like hair, horn, leather. Additionally to ammonium bicarbonate, this material contains ammonium carbamate (NH4CO2NH2), and ammonium carbonate ((NH4)2CO3). It’s sometimes called ammonium sesquicarbonate. It gives out a really strong ammoniacal smell, and on digestion with alcohol, the carbamate is completely dissolved leaving a by-product of ammonium bicarbonate. The same decomposition takes place when the sesquicarbonate is exposed to air.

Physical Properties

 Physical properties of ABC(Ammonium Bicarbonate) can be stated as following;

  • Ammonium bicarbonate exists as a white crystalline solid that carries a density of 1.59 g/mL and a temperature of 41.9 °C.
  • It has a robust aroma of ammonia, and it’s highly soluble in water.
  • It has an observing pungent smell.

Chemical Properties

Chemical properties of ABC (Ammonium Bicarbonate) will be stated as follow;

  • It dissolves with the water to create a mildly alkaline solution.
  • Moreover, it’s insoluble in a lot of chemical organic solvents.
  • While it’s stable at a temperature that’s near about 25 °C, it decomposes at a temperature above 36 °C to form ammonia, carbon dioxide or greenhouse emission, and water in a type of endothermic reaction. Further, it absorbs the energy for the reaction from the environment nearby.

NH4HCO3 = NH3+ CO2+ H2O

  • It reacts with acids to create carbonic acid gas and reacts with the bases to supply ammonia.

Uses of Ammonium Bicarbonate

 Following are the key commercial and general uses of ammonium bicarbonate:

  • As a leavening agent for food or baked goods like crackers, cookies, and cream-puff doughs within the food industry.
  • Producing porous plastics, ceramics, dyes, and pigments.
  • It can be used for scale removal in boilers and also for creating a foaming agent for rubber.
  • It removes the gypsum from heat exchangers and processing equipments.
  • Added to compost heaps for accelerating the speed of decomposition and using them as fertilizers.
  • It is an honest buffer (because of its volatile nature) in pharmaceutical applications like lyophilization (freeze-drying) for producing injectable and oral dosage forms.
  • Used as a product of human and veterinary medications
  • Ammonium bicarbonate comes in use as leavening in some food or cooking processing applications.
  • Further, we use it within the cough syrups also and as an antacid.
  • Further, we also use it as a fertilizer, pH buffer, and reagent within the chemical laboratories. In the industries, we use it within the manufacturing of dyes, pharmaceuticals, catalysts, ceramics, plastics, and various other products.
  • It is also useful for buffering solutions to form them alkaline during the chemical purification, rather like the high-performance liquid chromatography. This permits the recovery of the compound of interest by freeze-drying.

Sample Questions

Question 1. What is the way to measure the concentration of the bicarbonate, after we are purging the solvent (water) with the conventional air or CO2 gas?


We’ve several options betting on how accurate your result should be. If you recognize the initial pH and you’re using pure water you will be able to obtain a decent estimate by measuring the pH change combined with modelling of your system, for instance with phreeqc. Alternatively, you will sample your solution, add a base to the sample and so titrate between both pK values of H2CO3. Other options are to feature Ba and also make your salt alkaline. Then you will be able to weigh the BaCO3 after drying.

Question 2. Is ammonium bicarbonate toxic?


Ammonium Carbonate is maybe a crystalline, non-toxic, white-coloured salt with the formula (NH4)2CO3. It’s also referred to as baker’s ammonia and also as hartshorn. Ammonium carbonate or carbonate is water-soluble, and also the compound decomposes in the plight or hot water.

Question 3. What are the key points of ammonium bicarbonate?


Ammonium Bicarbonate is a chemically inorganic compound that is the bicarbonate salt of the ammonium ion in chemical terms. This substance is used as a leavening and stabilising agent, also as an acidity regulator, due to its physicochemical qualities.

Question 4. In the pH scale where does ammonium bicarbonate lie?


Ammonium bicarbonate lies on the basic side of the pH scale that is 9.0, which is in the approx pH range of many hydrolases. That’s why ammonium bicarbonate is a pH regulator for proton-forming biotransformation reactions catalyzed by immobilized enzymes.

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