Sodium carbonate is an organic sodium salt and a carbonate salt. from ChEBI. Sodium Carbonate is the disodium salt of carbonic acid with alkalinizing property. When dissolved in water, sodium carbonate forms carbonic acid and sodium hydroxide.
Sodium carbonate, Na2CO3, (also known as washing soda, soda ash and soda crystals, and in the monohydrate form as crystal carbonate) is the water-soluble sodium salt of carbonic acid.
It most commonly occurs as a crystalline decahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Pure sodium carbonate is a white, odorless powder that is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air). It has a strongly alkaline taste, and forms a moderately basic solution in water. Sodium carbonate is well known domestically for its everyday use as a water softener. Historically it was extracted from the ashes of plants growing in sodium-rich soils, such as vegetation from the Middle East, kelp from Scotland and seaweed from Spain. Because the ashes of these sodium-rich plants were noticeably different from ashes of timber (used to create potash), they became known as "soda ash". It is synthetically produced in large quantities from salt (sodium chloride) and limestone by a method known as the Solvay process.
The manufacture of glass is one of the most important uses of sodium carbonate. Sodium carbonate acts as a flux for silica, lowering the melting point of the mixture to something achievable without special materials. This "soda glass" is mildly water-soluble, so some calcium carbonate is added to the melt mixture to make the glass produced insoluble. This type of glass is known as soda lime glass: "soda" for the sodium carbonate and "lime" for the calcium carbonate. Soda lime glass has been the most common form of glass for centuries.
Sodium carbonate is also used as a relatively strong base in various fields. For example, it is used as a pH regulator to maintain stable alkaline conditions necessary for the action of the majority of photographic film developing agents. It acts as an alkali because when dissolved in water, it dissociates into the weak acid carbonic acid and the strong alkali sodium hydroxide. This gives sodium carbonate in solution the ability to attack metals such as aluminium with the release of hydrogen gas.
It is a common additive in swimming pools used to raise the pH which can be lowered by chlorine tablets and other additives which contain acids.
In cooking, it is sometimes used in place of sodium hydroxide for lyeing, especially with German pretzels and lye rolls. These dishes are treated with a solution of an alkaline substance to change the pH of the surface of the food and improve browning.
In taxidermy, sodium carbonate added to boiling water will remove flesh from the bones of animal carcasses for trophy mounting or educational display.
In chemistry, it is often used as an electrolyte. Electrolytes are usually salt-based, and sodium carbonate acts as a very good conductor in the process of electrolysis. In addition, unlike chloride ions, which form chlorine gas, carbonate ions are not corrosive to the anodes. It is also used as a primary standard for acid-base titrations because it is solid and air-stable, making it easy to weigh accurately.
1 Domestic use
2 Sodium carbonate test
3.1 Main applications
4 Physical properties
6 Occurrence as natural mineral
7.2 Barilla and kelp
7.3 Leblanc process
7.4 Solvay process
7.5 Hou's process
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
Soda ash is used as a water softener in laundering: it competes with the magnesium and calcium ions in hard water and prevents them from bonding with the detergent being used, but does not prevent scaling. Sodium carbonate can be used to remove grease, oil, and wine stains.
In dyeing with fiber-reactive dyes, sodium carbonate (often under a name such as soda ash fixative or soda ash activator) is used to ensure proper chemical bonding of the dye with cellulose (plant) fibers, typically before dyeing (for tie dyes), mixed with the dye (for dye painting), or after dyeing (for immersion dyeing).
Sodium carbonate test
The sodium carbonate test (not to be confused with sodium carbonate extract test) is used to distinguish between some common metal ions, which are precipitated as their respective carbonates. The test can distinguish between copper (Cu), iron (Fe), and calcium (Ca), zinc (Zn) or lead (Pb). Sodium carbonate solution is added to the salt of the metal. A blue precipitate indicates Cu2+ ion. A dirty green precipitate indicates Fe2+ ion. A yellow-brown precipitate indicates Fe3+ ion. A white precipitate indicates Ca2+, Zn2+, or Pb2+ ion. The compounds formed are, respectively, copper(II) carbonate, iron(II) carbonate, iron(III) oxide, calcium carbonate, zinc carbonate, and lead(II) carbonate. This test is used to precipitate the ion present as almost all carbonates are insoluble. While this test is useful for telling these cations apart, it fails if other ions are present, because most metal carbonates are insoluble and will precipitate. In addition, calcium, zinc, and lead ions all produce white precipitates with carbonate, making it difficult to distinguish between them. Instead of sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide may be added, this gives nearly the same colours, except that lead and zinc hydroxides are soluble in excess alkali, and can hence be distinguished from calcium. For the complete sequence of tests used for qualitative cation analysis.
By far the largest consumption of sodium carbonate is in the manufacture of glass, paper, rayon, soaps, and detergents. It is also used as a water softener, since carbonate can precipitate the calcium and magnesium ions present in "hard" water.
Sodium carbonate is a food additive (E500) used as an acidity regulator, anticaking agent, raising agent, and stabilizer. It is one of the components of kansui (かん水), a solution of alkaline salts used to give ramen noodles their characteristic flavor and texture. It is also used in the production of snus (Swedish-style snuff) to stabilize the pH of the final product.
Sodium carbonate is also used in the production of sherbet powder. The cooling and fizzing sensation results from the endothermic reaction between sodium carbonate and a weak acid, commonly citric acid, releasing carbon dioxide gas, which occurs when the sherbet is moistened by saliva.
In China, it is used to replace lye-water in the crust of traditional Cantonese moon cakes, and in many other Chinese steamed buns and noodles.
Sodium carbonate is used by the brick industry as a wetting agent to reduce the amount of water needed to extrude the clay.
In casting, it is referred to as "bonding agent" and is used to allow wet alginate to adhere to gelled alginate.
Sodium carbonate is used in toothpastes, where it acts as a foaming agent and an abrasive, and to temporarily increase mouth pH.
Sodium carbonate is used by the cotton industry to neutralize the sulfuric acid needed for acid delinting of fuzzy cottonseed.
Sodium carbonate, in a solution with common salt, may be used for cleaning silver. In a nonreactive container (glass, plastic, or ceramic), aluminium foil and the silver object are immersed in the hot salt solution. The elevated pH dissolves the aluminium oxide layer on the foil and enables an electrolytic cell to be established. Hydrogen ions produced by this reaction reduce the sulfide ions on the silver restoring silver metal. The sulfide can be released as small amounts of hydrogen sulfide. Rinsing and gently polishing the silver restores a highly polished condition.
Sodium carbonate is used in some aquarium water pH buffers to maintain a desired pH and carbonate hardness (KH).
Industrial production of selenium usually involves the extraction of selenium dioxide from residues obtained during the purification of copper. Common production from the residue then begins by oxidation with sodium carbonate to produce selenium dioxide, which is mixed with water and acidified to form selenous acid (oxidation step)..
The integral enthalpy of solution of sodium carbonate is −28.1 kJ/mol for a 10% w/w aqueous solution. The Mohs hardness of sodium carbonate monohydrate is 1.3.
Sodium carbonate crystallizes from water to form three different hydrates:
sodium carbonate decahydrate (natron), Na2CO3·10H2O.
sodium carbonate heptahydrate (not known in mineral form), Na2CO3·7H2O.
sodium carbonate monohydrate (thermonatrite), Na2CO3·H2O.
anhydrous sodium carbonate also known as calcined soda is formed by heating the hydrates. It is also formed when sodium hydrogen carbonate is heated (calcined) e.g. in the final step of the Solvay process. The decahydrate is formed from water solutions crystallizing in the temperature range -2.1 to +32.0 C, the heptahydrate in the narrow range 32.0 to 35.4 C and above this temperature the monohydrate forms. In dry air the decahydrate and heptahydrate will lose water forming causing the crystals to fall apart into a white monohydrate powder. Other hydrates have been reported, e.g. with 2.5 units of water per sodium carbonate unit ("pentahemihydrate").
Occurrence as natural mineral
Structure of monohydrate at 346 K.
Sodium carbonate is soluble in water, and can occur naturally in arid regions, especially in mineral deposits (evaporites) formed when seasonal lakes evaporate. Deposits of the mineral natron have been mined from dry lake bottoms in Egypt since ancient times, when natron was used in the preparation of mummies and in the early manufacture of glass.
The anhydrous mineral form of sodium carbonate is quite rare and called natrite. Sodium carbonate also erupts from Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania's unique volcano, and it is presumed to have erupted from other volcanoes in the past, but due to these minerals' instability at the earth's surface, are likely to be eroded. All three mineralogical forms of sodium carbonate, as well as trona, trisodium hydrogendicarbonate dihydrate, are also known from ultra-alkaline pegmatitic rocks, that occur for example in the Kola Peninsula in Russia.
Extraterrestrially, known sodium carbonate is rare. Deposits have been identified as the source of bright spots on Ceres, interior material that has been brought to the surface. While there are carbonates on Mars, and these are expected to include sodium carbonate, deposits have yet to be confirmed, this absence is explained by some as being due to a global dominance of low pH in previously aqueous Martian soil.
Trona, trisodium hydrogendicarbonate dihydrate (Na3HCO3CO3·2H2O), is mined in several areas of the US and provides nearly all the domestic consumption of sodium carbonate. Large natural deposits found in 1938, such as the one near Green River, Wyoming, have made mining more economical than industrial production in North America. There are important reserves of trona in Turkey; two million tons of soda ash have been extracted from the reserves near Ankara. It is also mined from some alkaline lakes such as Lake Magadi in Kenya by dredging. Hot saline springs continuously replenish salt in the lake so that, provided the rate of dredging is no greater than the replenishment rate, the source is fully sustainable.
Barilla and kelp
Several "halophyte" (salt-tolerant) plant species and seaweed species can be processed to yield an impure form of sodium carbonate, and these sources predominated in Europe and elsewhere until the early 19th century. The land plants (typically glassworts or saltworts) or the seaweed (typically Fucus species) were harvested, dried, and burned. The ashes were then "lixiviated" (washed with water) to form an alkali solution. This solution was boiled dry to create the final product, which was termed "soda ash"; this very old name refers to the archetypal plant source for soda ash, which was the small annual shrub Salsola soda ("barilla plant").
The sodium carbonate concentration in soda ash varied very widely, from 2–3 percent for the seaweed-derived form ("kelp"), to 30 percent for the best barilla produced from saltwort plants in Spain. Plant and seaweed sources for soda ash, and also for the related alkali "potash", became increasingly inadequate by the end of the 18th century, and the search for commercially viable routes to synthesizing soda ash from salt and other chemicals intensified.