Hello! Socratic's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have been updated, which will be automatically effective on October 6, 2018. Please contact hello@socratic.com with any questions.

Is carbonic acid and bicarbonate ions one and the same thing? If not what's the difference.

1 Answer
Jun 19, 2018


#H_2CO_3 rightleftharpoons H^(+) + HCO_3^(-)#

where carbonic acid dissociates into its protons (which form hydronium ions) and bicarbonate ions. To be sure, these aren't the same things but an acid and its conjugate base.

This is a critical part of the blood buffering system, which is a very important topic in biochemistry.