Carbonic acid is a weak acid with chemical formula H2CO3. It is also known as respiratory acid or volatile acid as it is the only acid excreted as a gas by the lungs. It forms 2 kinds of salts- the carbonates and the bicarbonates. Carbonic acid is found naturally in blood, coal, acid rains, oceans, ground water, volcanoes, meteors, proteins, amino acids, sulfur deposits, etc. Here are some important uses and applications of carbonic acid:
1. In blood
Carbonic acid plays an important role in respiratory gas exchange to transport carbon dioxide out of the body. It also plays an important role to protonate various nitrogen bases in blood serum.
2. In soda water
Water is made fizzy by adding carbon dioxide under pressure, which results in the formation of a weak acid- carbonic acid.
3. To treat dermatitides
Dermatitides such as ringworm can be treated by the topical application of carbonic acid.
4. To induce vomiting
In case of drug overdose or poisoning, carbonic acid is given orally to induce vomiting.
5. In contact lenses
Carbonic acid solutions are very effective in cleaning contact lenses.