Total inorganic carbon

Total Inorganic Carbon

Total inorganic carbon

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The total inorganic carbon (C<sub>T</sub>, or TIC) or dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) is the sum of inorganic carbon species in a solution. The inorganic carbon species include carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, bicarbonate anion, and carbonate. is an key parameter when making measurements related to the pH of natural aqueous systems, and carbon dioxide flux estimates.

C<sub>T</sub> = + +


  • C<sub>T</sub> is the total inorganic carbon
  • is the sum of carbon dioxide and carbonic acid concentrations ( = + )
  • is the bicarbonate concentration
  • is the carbonate concentration

Each of these species are related by the following pH driven chemical equilibria:

CO<sub>2</sub> + H<sub>2</sub>O H<sub>2</sub>CO<sub>3</sub> H<sup>+</sup> + HCO<sub>3</sub><sup>−</sup> 2H<sup>+</sup> + CO<sub>3</sub><sup>2−</sup>

Total inorganic carbon is typically measured by the acidification of the sample which drives the equilibria to CO<sub>2</sub>. This gas is then sparged from solution and trapped,...
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