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                                         Information @ a Glance

General

  • Sodium sulfate is the sodium salt of sulfuric acid. Anhydrous, it is a white crystalline solid of formula Na2SO4; the decahydrate Na2SO410H2O has been known as Glauber's salt .
  • Sodium sulfate is chemically very stable - it does not decompose, even if heated, and it does not react with oxidizing or reducing agents at normal temperatures.
  • At high temperatures, it can be reduced to sodium sulfide. It is a neutral salt, with a pH of 7 when dissolved in water, because it is derived from a strong acid and a strong base.

Application

  • Glauber's salt, the decahydrate, was formerly used as a laxative. It has also been proposed for heat storage in passive solar heating systems.
  • Another major use for Na2SO4, particularly in the US, is in the Kraft process for the manufacture of wood pulp.
  • Sodium sulfate is used as a "fining agent", to help remove small air bubbles from molten glass. It also fluxes the glass, and prevents scum formation of the glass melt during refining.
  • Anhydrous sodium sulfate is widely used as an inert drying agent, for removing traces of water from organic solutions.
  • Sodium sulfate is important in the manufacture of textiles, particularly in Japan, where it is the largest application.
     

Market

  • The world production of sodium sulfate, mostly in the form of the decahydrate amounts to approximately 5.5 to 6 million tonnes annually.
  • Two thirds of the world's production of the decahydrate is from the natural mineral form mirabilite, as found in lake beds in southern Saskatchewan.
  • Mexico and Spain were the world's main producers of natural sodium sulfate , with Russia, USA and Canada.
  • The domestic natural sodium sulfate industry supplied 55% of the total output of U.S. sodium sulfate. Because of the location of these plants, most natural sodium sulfate is marketed in the West and southern Gulf areas.

Report

  • Numerous metals and organic chemicals are used in the tanning process including chromium, sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, chlorinated phenols, dyes, toluene, chlorobenzene, and trichloroethylene.
  • The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council, an amendment to the Code would allow the addition of sodium acid sulfate to foods as a food acid.
  • Although sodium sulfate is generally regarded as non-toxic, it should be handled with care. The dust can cause temporary asthma or eye irritation; this risk can be prevented by using eye protection and a paper mask.

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