# What is the salt (NH_4)_2CO_3, and how was it used?

Mar 31, 2017

$\text{Ammonium carbonate...........}$

#### Explanation:

$\text{Ammonium carbonate} \equiv {\left(N {H}_{4}\right)}_{2} C {O}_{3}$

These used to be administered to ladies with the vapours in old fillums.......... Remember $\text{Gone with the Wind}$, who was Scarlet O'hara's maiden aunt?

Smelling salts also used to be administered to boxers who were having the bejesus beaten out of them, in the hope that the smell of the ammonia would revive them. And now I am thinking of old Anthony Quinn and Mickey Rooney in $\text{Requiem for a Heavyweight.}$ You are probably too young to remember these films but they were classics in their day.

Anyway, if you have ever smelled conc. ammonia, it is a noxious, powerful, and penetrating smell, and ammonia vapour is delivered by ammonium carbonate:

${\left(N {H}_{4}\right)}_{2} C {O}_{3} \left(s\right) \rightarrow N {H}_{3} \left(g\right) \uparrow + N {H}_{4}^{+} H C {O}_{3}^{-} \left(s\right)$