The Story Of Washing Soda

What is Washing soda (Na2CO3.10H2O)?

Washing soda finds its application in numerous ways, be it from household uses to a vast range of industrial applications. It is an alkaline compound with a high alkaline character which has the capability to remove adamant stains from clothes during washing. Washing soda formula is written as Na2CO3.10H2O. The chemical name of washing soda is sodium carbonate. Chemically soda ash is a hydrated salt of sodium carbonate. 

Solvay Process- Preparation of Sodium Carbonate

Steps involved in the manufacture of sodium carbonate are explained below:

  • Purification of Brine
  • Formation of sodium hydrogen carbonate
  • Formation of sodium carbonate
  • Recovery of ammonia

Step 1: Purification of Brine

Concentrated brine is obtained by the process of evaporation and impurities like calcium, magnesium, etc are removed by the precipitation process. The concentrated brine solution undergoes filtration and is mixed with ammonia in the ammonia tower and the ammonia tower gets cooled.

Step 2: Formation of sodium hydrogen carbonate

In a carbonate tower, carbon dioxide is passed through an ammoniated brine solution.

NH3(aqCO2(gNaCl(aq+H2→ NaHCO3(sNH4Cl(aq)

Step 3: Formation of sodium carbonate

Sodium Bicarbonate (NaHCO3) formed is obtained from the tower and is heated at a temperature of 300°C. Hence formations of sodium carbonate take place.

2NaHCO→ Na2CO3 CO2 H2O

Step 4: Recovery of ammonia

Ammonia can be recovered by treating the solution of NH4Cl with Ca (OH)2. This ammonia is again used in the Solvay process and CaCl2 is obtained as a by-product.

2NH4CCa(OH)→ 2NH3 CaCl2 H2O

Physical properties and chemical properties of sodium carbonate:

  • It is a crystalline solid which is white in colour.
  • It exists as a monohydrated salt (Na2CO3.10H2O), anhydrous salt (Na2CO3), heptahydrous salt (Na2CO3.7H2O) and decahydrate salt (Na2CO3.10H2O).
  • Sodium carbonate is basic in nature.
  • It has a melting point of 851°C.
  • In the presence of heat, it loses its water to form an anhydrous salt (soda ash).
    Na2CO3.10H2O  Na2CO3.H2O  Na2CO3 (at 373 K)

Uses of Washing Soda:

  • Used as a cleansing agent in industries and household.
  • It finds its application in paper, textile, soap, and detergent industries.
  • It is used in the process of softening of water.
  • It is used in the manufacturing of glass.
  • It is one of the most important agents in laundries.

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Frequently asked questions

1. What is the chemical formula of washing soda?

Ans: Na2CO3.10H2O

2. Washing soda is also known as ______.

ans: Soda ash.

3. The process by which sodium carbonate is obtained is called _______.

Ans: Solvay process.

4. Mention the four steps involved in the preparation of sodium carbonate.

Ans: The four steps involved in the preparation of sodium carbonate are:

  • Purification of Brine
  • Formation of sodium hydrogen carbonate
  • Formation of sodium carbonate
  • Recovery of ammonia

5. List two uses of washing soda.

Ans: It is used in the process of softening of water and paper industry.

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