Science, Tech, Math › Science Equation for the Decomposition of Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) Share Flipboard Email Print skhoward/Getty Images Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated December 12, 2019 The decomposition reaction of sodium bicarbonate or baking soda is an important chemical reaction for baking because it helps baked goods rise. It's also how you can make sodium carbonate, another useful chemical, also called washing soda. The Balanced Equation The balanced equation for the decomposition of sodium bicarbonate into sodium carbonate, carbon dioxide, and water is: 2 NaHCO3(s) → Na2CO3(s) + CO2(g) + H2O(g) Like most chemical reactions, the rate of the reaction depends on temperature. When dry, baking soda doesn't decompose very quickly, although it does have a shelf life, so you should test it before using it as a cooking ingredient or in an experiment. One way to speed up the decomposition of the dry ingredient is by heating it in a warm oven. Baking soda starts to break into washing soda, carbon dioxide, and water at room temperature when mixed with water, which is why you shouldn't store baking soda in an open container or wait too long between mixing a recipe and putting it in the oven. As the temperature increases to the boiling point of water (100 Celcius), the reaction goes to completion, with the decomposition of all the sodium bicarbonate. Sodium carbonate or washing soda also undergoes a decomposition reaction, although this molecule is more heat-stable than sodium bicarbonate. The balanced equation for the reaction is: Na2CO3(s) → Na2O(s) + CO2(g) The decomposition of anhydrous sodium carbonate into sodium oxide and carbon dioxide occurs slowly at room temperature and proceeds to completion at 851 C (1124 K).