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Barium Chloride & Sodium Carbonate

By A.L. Kennedy

Barium chloride and sodium carbonate combine to form sodium chloride, or salt, along with barium carbonate, a white, grainy substance, according to the University of Wisconsin's Chemistry Comes Alive! website. Barium chloride is typically used in laboratories when an inorganic salt is needed, according to its International Chemical Safety Card, or ICSC. Although sodium chloride can be ingested safely in moderation, barium chloride, sodium carbonate and barium carbonate are all toxic to humans and should be handled with care, according to their Materials Safety Data Sheets. Always use protective gear like gloves and eye coverings when working with laboratory chemicals.

Identification

Barium chloride, or BaCl2, is a solid at room temperature, according to its ISCS. Sodium carbonate, commonly known as washing soda or soda ash, is also a solid at room temperature with a white, grainy appearance, according to the National Institutes of Health. When they are combined in a solution, they are usually first mixed with water to make combining them simpler. The reaction produces sodium chloride, or table salt, and barium carbonate, also known as carbonic acid or barium salt, according to barium carbonate's Materials Safety Data Sheet.

Function

Barium chloride is not widely used outside laboratories, according to its ISCS. Sodium carbonate, however, can be found in a wide range of manufacturing uses and in household products like some dishwashing detergents and bubble baths, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is also used to fix dyes in fabrics. Barium carbonate, or BaCO3, is used in ceramics as a way to fix glazes onto ceramic objects, according to its Materials Safety Data Sheet.

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Reaction

When barium chloride and sodium carbonate are combined, a one-step reaction between them creates sodium chloride and barium carbonate, according to Chemistry Comes Alive. When barium chloride and sodium carbonate are first suspended in water, then mixed, a white, grainy substance appears in the water. This substance is barium carbonate, which does not dissolve in water, according to its Materials Safety Data Sheet. The reaction also creates sodium chloride, which remains dissolved in the water and so cannot be seen.

Warning

Barium chloride, sodium carbonate, and barium carbonate are all toxic to humans, especially if swallowed. Always wear protective equipment while handling any of these materials. Include eye protection, as these chemicals can cause severe eye irritation. If you swallow or see someone swallow one of these chemicals or a product containing them, call a poison control center immediately. If the patient has swallowed barium chloride, you may induce vomiting only if the patient is conscious, according to its ISCS. Otherwise, follow the instructions given by emergency medical personnel.

Storage

Barium chloride should be stored in a tightly sealed container in a dark, cool place, according to its ISCS. Likewise, sodium carbonate and barium carbonate should be stored in sealed containers at room temperature or slightly below, according to their Materials Safety Data Sheets. None of these chemicals are explosive. However, if one is spilled, use a vacuum or wet sweeping to clean it up in order to prevent dust, which can make you sick if inhaled.

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