Ball-and-stick model of the carbonate anion
IUPAC name
Systematic IUPAC name
3D model (JSmol)
Molar mass60.008 g·mol−1
Conjugate acidBicarbonate
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt of carbonic acid (H2CO3),[2] characterized by the presence of the carbonate ion, a polyatomic ion with the formula of CO2−
. The name may also refer to a carbonate ester, an organic compound containing the carbonate group C(=O)(O–)2.

The term is also used as a verb, to describe carbonation: the process of raising the concentrations of carbonate and bicarbonate ions in water to produce carbonated water and other carbonated beverages – either by the addition of carbon dioxide gas under pressure, or by dissolving carbonate or bicarbonate salts into the water.

In geology and mineralogy, the term "carbonate" can refer both to carbonate minerals and carbonate rock (which is made of chiefly carbonate minerals), and both are dominated by the carbonate ion, CO2−
. Carbonate minerals are extremely varied and ubiquitous in chemically precipitated sedimentary rock. The most common are calcite or calcium carbonate, CaCO3, the chief constituent of limestone (as well as the main component of mollusc shells and coral skeletons); dolomite, a calcium-magnesium carbonate CaMg(CO3)2; and siderite, or iron(II) carbonate, FeCO3, an important iron ore. Sodium carbonate ("soda" or "natron") and potassium carbonate ("potash") have been used since antiquity for cleaning and preservation, as well as for the manufacture of glass. Carbonates are widely used in industry, e.g. in iron smelting, as a raw material for Portland cement and lime manufacture, in the composition of ceramic glazes, and more.

Structure and bonding

The carbonate ion is the simplest oxocarbon anion. It consists of one carbon atom surrounded by three oxygen atoms, in a trigonal planar arrangement, with D3h molecular symmetry. It has a molecular mass of 60.01 g/mol and carries a total formal charge of −2. It is the conjugate base of the hydrogen carbonate (bicarbonate) ion, HCO
, which is the conjugate base of H
, carbonic acid.

The Lewis structure of the carbonate ion has two (long) single bonds to negative oxygen atoms, and one short double bond to a neutral oxygen.

Simple, localised Lewis structure of the carbonate ion

This structure is incompatible with the observed symmetry of the ion, which implies that the three bonds are equally long and that the three oxygen atoms are equivalent. As in the case of the isoelectronic nitrate ion, the symmetry can be achieved by a resonance among three structures:

Resonance structures of the carbonate ion

This resonance can be summarized by a model with fractional bonds and delocalized charges:

Delocalisation and partial charges on the carbonate ion Space-filling model of the carbonate ion

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Karbonaat
العربية: كربونات
asturianu: Carbonatu
تۆرکجه: کربونات
Bân-lâm-gú: Thòaⁿ-sng-iâm
български: Карбонат
bosanski: Karbonat
català: Carbonat
čeština: Uhličitany
dansk: Carbonat
Deutsch: Carbonate
Ελληνικά: Ανθρακικό άλας
español: Carbonato
Esperanto: Karbonato
euskara: Karbonato
فارسی: کربنات
français: Carbonate
Gaeilge: Carbónáit
galego: Carbonato
한국어: 탄산염
հայերեն: Կարբոնատներ
हिन्दी: कार्बोनेट
Bahasa Indonesia: Karbonat
italiano: Carbonati
עברית: קרבונט
қазақша: Карбонат
Kiswahili: Kabonati
Кыргызча: Карбонаттар
latviešu: Karbonāti
magyar: Karbonát
македонски: Карбонат
Bahasa Melayu: Karbonat
Nederlands: Carbonaat
日本語: 炭酸塩
Nordfriisk: Karbonaat
norsk: Karbonat
norsk nynorsk: Karbonat
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕਾਰਬੋਨੇਟ
polski: Węglany
português: Carbonato
română: Carbonat
русский: Карбонаты
Scots: Carbonate
Simple English: Carbonate
slovenčina: Uhličitan
slovenščina: Karbonat
српски / srpski: Карбонат
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Karbonat
svenska: Karbonat
Türkçe: Karbonat
українська: Карбонати
Tiếng Việt: Cacbonat
中文: 碳酸根