Sulfuric acid is commonly used as an electrolyte in car batteries. Suppose you spill some on your garage floor. Before cleaning it up, you wisely decide to neutralize it with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) from your kitchen. The reaction of sodium bicarbonate and sulfuric acid is

2NaHCO3(s) + H2SO4(aq) → Na2SO4(aq) + 2CO2(g) + 2H2O(l)

You estimate that your acid spill contains about 1.2 mol H2SO4. What mass of NaHCO3 do you need to neutralize the acid?

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  1. Look at the coefficients in the balanced equation. 1.2 mols H2SO4 will need twice that or 2.4 mols NaHCO3.
    Then grams NaHCO3 = mols NaHCO3 x molar mass NaHCO3 = ?

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