The science behind soda water

We all love to have a sip of our favourite soft drink when we are thirsty, especially in summers. And we also love to have a little fizz in it. This fizz is the bubbly effervescence that is produced by adding pressurized carbon dioxide gas to water. It’s also called carbonated water or just soda water.

The first soda
Joseph Priestley was the first person to invent soda water. He suspended a bowl of water over a beer vat in a brewery and patiently waited to see what happened. Soon the bowl of water was fizzing with carbon dioxide released from the fermentation of beer. And that was how soda was born. However, it was only in the later part of the 19th century that soda water was introduced as a popular soft drink.

Flavoured soda drinks
Eugene Roussel, a Frenchman in Philadelphia, was the first person to popularize flavoured soda soft drinks. He set up a small counter in the perfume shop that he owned and offered customers glasses of orange, cherry, lemon, teaberry, ginger, peach and root beer flavoured soda water. And since the people who started producing soda water were chemists, this product was easily available in medical shops in the United States.

The chemistry of soda
When carbon dioxide is mixed in water it forms carbonic acid. To this, salts like sodium bicarbonate (food grade, the CAS number is 144-55-8) are added to reduce the amount of acidity in the drink. Sodium and other metallic salts are used to neutralise the acidic flavour of the drinks.

Today, soda water is made by sending pressurized carbon dioxide through water. The high pressure allows more carbon dioxide to dissolve than it would normally be possible. The soda is then packed into an airtight bottle. When this pressurized bottle is opened, the gas rises to the top bubbling. And if you shake the bottle before opening, the soda will spill out splashing all over, when opened.

Sodium Bicarbonate Medical Uses

Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda or sodium hydrogen carbonate, is a chemical compound that has a myriad of uses. It is widely used to treat numerous medical issues, including heartburn, indigestion, high potassium levels in the blood and high acid levels in the blood or urine, and in certain instances, it can be used to treat a drug overdose.

Sodium bicarbonate(NaHCO3) comes in several forms for medicinal use. It typically is available as tablets, capsules, granules, powder or a solution. These forms of the compound are taken orally. It also can be administered intravenously, and this form is available only by prescription.

One of the most common uses for sodium bicarbonate tablets is in the treatment of acid indigestion. In most cases, those who suffer from moderate to extreme forms of acid indigestion are encouraged to try these tablets as a form of treatment for the condition before more aggressive forms of treatment are considered. Sodium bicarbonate tablets typically work relatively quickly, and can provide results within a short period of time. Individuals who do not find relief after using baking soda should seek medical attention as soon as possible, as a more serious medical problem may be occurring.

Another manner in which baking soda may be used is in the treatment of acidosis. Like hyperkalemia, acidosis is a relatively serious medical condition, and requires on-going supervision. In many cases, those who have been identified with acidosis must take sodium bicarbonate tablets for an extended period of time in order to see complete treatment. Often, weeks or even months of treatment are necessary in order to achieve a full recovery. During this time period, those who have been diagnosed with acidosis must also take a number of other medications and submit to regular testing in order to make sure that lab values are returning to a normal range.

Sodium hydrogen carbonateare also commonly used in the treatment of hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia is a condition in which the potassium content of the body rises to a dangerous level. High potassium can be a very dangerous condition, and can be especially serious for those suffering from heart or kidney disease. In many cases, those who have been found to have hyperkalemia must be placed under strict medical supervision, and may even require hospitalization for an extended period of time. Though a number of medications are often given to those with this condition, baking soda tablets play a major role its management.

A topical paste of sodium bicarbonate can be used to relieve some symptoms of insect bites and stings. An individual should combine the compound with water until it is a good consistency for application. The paste can be applied several times a day until symptoms have subsided.

Individuals who use over-the-counter sodium bicarbonate should take care to follow the instructions on the packaging. Those who receive a prescription should follow all directions from the physician. Most side effects are rare, but use of the compound can cause symptoms that include headache, loss of appetite, nausea, weakness and swelling of the lower extremities.

Practical Information about Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate, commonly know as baking soda but more familiar to chemists as sodium hydrogen carbonate, sodium acid carbonate and bicarbonate of soda, is a white crystalline solid, with a pleasant taste. It is one of the cheapest chemicals for domestic use. Sodium carbonate is chiefly used as a food additive in baked goods. It makes an essential ingredient in effervescent salts. It is also used in medicine to treat excess stomach acidity. This chemical is also a very effective fire extinguisher.

Sodium bicarbonate is an odorless, white crystalline solid or powder. It is sparingly soluble in water and alcohol. The aqueous solution of baking soda shows a faint alkalinity. It decomposes to sodium carbonate and carbon dioxide when heated above 50 degrees C. This property of sodium bicarbonate is utilized in baking powder. It gives off carbon dioxide on reacting with an acid. This substance is also non-flammable and non-explosive in nature.

As of 2002, 35 percent was used in animal feeding, 15 percent in human food, 12 percent in pharmaceuticals, 10 percent in the production of other chemicals, 5 percent in the formulation of cosmetics, 5 percent in the formulation of detergents and other household cleaning products, 4 percent for fume treatment, 2 percent in swimming pools and 12 percent for other uses.

Physicians sometimes use baking soda to treat metabolic acidosis (a decrease in the pH and bicarbonate concentration in the body fluids). Sodium bicarbonate can be used in conjunction with gout medication to reduce the formation of uric acid crystals. It is useful for treating intoxication with barbiturates and poisoning with salicylates (like aspirin) or methyl alcohol (wood alcohol).

It has a wide range of domestic applications. It is used as a cleaning agent to clean garbage, fridges and disposals. It is a well-known water softener in cleaning clothes and for washing dishes. Sodium bicarbonate deodorizes shoes and footwear cupboards. It also can be used as a powerful household pesticide in admixture with sugar.

There also are interesting health benefits when you drink Sodium bicarbonate, which is alkaline, in water. Viruses and diseases such as colds, flu, cancer and even heart disease thrive in an acidic body, but cannot survive when your body is alkaline. The 2009 Journal of the American Society of Nephrology revealed a study of 134 patients with advanced kidney disease. Taking baking soda daily dramatically slowed down the progression of kidney disease, resulting in no need for dialysis.

However, drinking too much baking soda can be dangerous, so it is important to know how to properly mix the concoction before ingesting it.

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