Bases and carbonates have opposing chemical structures and react by canceling one another out. Whether a substance is an acid or a base is determined by the number of hydrogens on a substance after a reaction compared to the number present before the reaction.
Bases and carbonates do not exhibit reactions when introduced. They neutralize one another, leading to a nullified final result. This renders them chemically inert in combination and is an important factor in testing to determine their natures, as they can be observed alongside one another with total clarity.
A base is defined simply as a substance that can accept hydrogen ions. Bases react with acids to form the salts that constitute most carbonates. It is only the finished carbonate salts that are inert when further exposed to bases. When interacted with in their aqueous solutions, bases are very slippery and exhibit a consistently bitter taste that renders them immediately recognizable. They are also known for turning red litmus paper blue when placed in direct contact in a testing environment.
Carbonates are salts of carbonic acid. They may also be esters of carbonic acid, but either way they display many similar traits. They are most readily identifiable by the presence of the carbonate ion.