Alka Seltzer Experiment Results

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Alka-Seltzer tablets are used to treat headaches, stomach and body aches and also heartburn. They consist of citric acid (C6H8O7), baking soda (NaHCO3), and aspirin (C9H8O4). The fizzing observed is a result of a chemical reaction between the citric acid and baking soda which form carbon dioxide in turn causing the fizzing. When the tablets are dropped into water they dissolve and dissociate into the ions in the equation: C6H8O7 (s) → 3H+ (aq) + C6H5O7 3- (aq). Once hydrogen and the baking soda ions bump into each other, they form carbonic acid (H2CO3). Carbonic acid decays to form carbon dioxide and water. The formation of the carbon dioxide causes the fizzing action seen in the experiment. It is shown in the equation: H+ (aq) + HCO3 - (aq)
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