What is sodium chloride?
Sodium chloride is an ionic compound in which the sodium and chloride ions are in the ratio of 1:1. It is commonly called as table salt, common salt or halite( the mineral form of common salt).
It is the salt which is mainly responsible for the salinity of seawater and for the extracellular fluid which is present in many multi-cellular organisms. It finds its application from household to industrial processes. Seawater is a major source of this salt.
The chemical formula of sodium chloride is NaCl.
The occurrence of sodium chloride:
Mostly all the chemical compounds which consist of chlorine or sodium is usually derived from salts. It is distributed abundantly in nature. Salt is a major ingredient of the dissolved materials in seawater.
Pure salt can be obtained from mineral halite. Sodium chloride is obtained by mining the deposits and brine solution is obtained by passing water into the deposits. Hence the salts get dissolved then the solution is pumped out.
Evaporation of the sea water is one of the major processes used to obtain salt and is most widely followed in countries like India. The crystals obtained usually consists of impurities such as calcium sulfate, sodium sulfate etc. Pure crystals are obtained by dissolving the salts with little water and filtering the solution.
Properties of sodium chloride:
- It is easily soluble in water and partially soluble or insoluble in other liquids.
- They are white crystals which do not have an odor but possess a taste.
- In its aqueous state NaCl acts as a good conductor of electricity due to the free movement of the ions.
- It has a melting point of 801 °C and a boiling point of 1,413 °C.
Uses of sodium chloride:
- It is widely used in food industries as a food preservative and as a flavor enhancer.
- It is a major raw material in the industrial manufacturing of various chemicals such as sodium carbonate, sodium hydrogen carbonate etc.
- This salt is used in glass production.
- In cold countries, it is used to prevent the build-up of ice on roads, bridges etc which is important for safe driving conditions.
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