carbonic acid

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carbonic acid A weak acid, H2CO3, formed in solution when carbon dioxide is dissolved in water: CO2 + H2O ↔ H2CO3

The acid is in equilibrium with dissolved carbon dioxide, and also dissociates into hydrogencarbonate and hydrogen ions. These reactions, catalysed by carbonic anhydrase, take place in the red blood cells when carbon dioxide diffuses into them from the surrounding tissue cells. See also hydrogencarbonate.

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car·bon·ic ac·id • n. a very weak acid, H2CO3, formed in solution when carbon dioxide dissolves in water.

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