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Metal Carbonate vs. Metal Hydrogen Carbonate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 21, 2024
Metal carbonates are compounds formed from a metal and carbonate ions, while metal hydrogen carbonates are formed from a metal, hydrogen, and carbonate ions.

Key Differences

Metal carbonates consist of metal ions and carbonate ions (CO3^2-), whereas metal hydrogen carbonates, also known as bicarbonates, include an additional hydrogen atom (HCO3^-).
Generally, metal carbonates are less soluble in water compared to metal hydrogen carbonates, which dissolve more readily.
Metal carbonates often form through the reaction of metal oxides with carbon dioxide, while metal hydrogen carbonates typically form when metal carbonates react with carbonic acid.
Metal carbonates usually have a higher pH, indicating basicity, whereas metal hydrogen carbonates are less basic, often leading to a slightly lower pH.
Metal carbonates are widely used in construction and manufacturing, while metal hydrogen carbonates are commonly used in baking and medicine.

Comparison Chart

Chemical Formula

Contains metal ions and CO3^2- ions
Contains metal ions, hydrogen, and CO3^2- ions


Generally less soluble in water
More soluble in water


Often from metal oxides and CO2
From metal carbonates and carbonic acid

PH Level

Typically higher, more basic
Slightly lower, less basic

Common Uses

In construction, ceramics, manufacturing
In baking, as an antacid, in medicine

Metal Carbonate and Metal Hydrogen Carbonate Definitions

Metal Carbonate

Metal carbonates often form precipitates.
When calcium ion reacts with carbonate, calcium carbonate precipitates.

Metal Hydrogen Carbonate

They dissolve more easily in water.
Sodium hydrogen carbonate dissolves quickly in water to form a mildly alkaline solution.

Metal Carbonate

Metal carbonates decompose upon heating.
Heating calcium carbonate produces calcium oxide and carbon dioxide.

Metal Hydrogen Carbonate

Metal hydrogen carbonates release CO2 upon heating.
Heating sodium hydrogen carbonate produces sodium carbonate, water, and carbon dioxide.

Metal Carbonate

A compound of metal ions with carbonate ions.
Calcium carbonate is used in the production of cement.

Metal Hydrogen Carbonate

A compound formed from metal, hydrogen, and carbonate ions.
Sodium hydrogen carbonate is also known as baking soda.

Metal Carbonate

Found in minerals and rocks.
Limestone is primarily composed of calcium carbonate.

Metal Hydrogen Carbonate

They act as a source of carbon dioxide.
Baking soda, a metal hydrogen carbonate, is used in baking for its CO2 release.

Metal Carbonate

They are typically basic in nature.
Sodium carbonate is a common base used in labs.

Metal Hydrogen Carbonate

Often used in cooking and medicine.
Sodium hydrogen carbonate is an active ingredient in antacids.


Are metal carbonates soluble in water?

Generally, they are less soluble compared to metal hydrogen carbonates.

Can metal carbonates be used in construction?

Yes, they are key ingredients in cement and other building materials.

How do metal hydrogen carbonates differ from metal carbonates?

Metal hydrogen carbonates contain an additional hydrogen atom.

What is a metal carbonate?

A compound formed from metal ions and carbonate ions.

What is the pH level of metal carbonates?

They are usually basic, having a higher pH level.

Are metal hydrogen carbonates basic or acidic?

They are less basic than metal carbonates.

What are metal hydrogen carbonates used for?

Commonly in baking and as antacids in medicine.

Do metal hydrogen carbonates decompose upon heating?

Yes, releasing carbon dioxide, water, and forming metal carbonates.

How are metal carbonates formed?

Often from the reaction of metal oxides with carbon dioxide.

Is calcium carbonate a metal carbonate?

Yes, it's a common example of a metal carbonate.

What is an example of a metal hydrogen carbonate?

Sodium hydrogen carbonate, also known as baking soda.

What happens when metal hydrogen carbonates react with acids?

They also produce carbon dioxide, water, and a salt.

Are metal carbonates used in ceramics?

Yes, they are used in glazes and ceramic materials.

Are metal carbonates found in nature?

Yes, they are commonly found in minerals and rocks.

How is limestone related to metal carbonates?

Limestone is primarily composed of calcium carbonate.

Is sodium bicarbonate the same as sodium hydrogen carbonate?

Yes, they are different names for the same compound.

How do metal carbonates react with acids?

They react to form carbon dioxide, water, and a salt.

Do metal hydrogen carbonates have health applications?

Yes, particularly as antacids.

Can metal hydrogen carbonates neutralize acids?

Yes, they can act as a mild base.

Can metal hydrogen carbonates be used in food?

Yes, they are commonly used in baking.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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