Caustic Soda is popularly known as the strongest alkali group of inorganic chemical compounds includes sodium hydroxide. It is a white substance that resembles crystals (flakes) when it’s solid. It is hygroscopic in nature. It is completely soluble in water, generating caustic soda lye and releasing a substantial quantity of heat in the process.
Sodium hydroxide is successfully used in such industries as chemical, textiles, household chemistry, pulp and paper, rubber, or pharmaceuticals. The food industry participates in the cleaning process of the plant.
Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) is one of the basic raw materials used in almost every industry. It is used in the cosmetics industry in the production of hard (sodium) soap, detergent, exfoliating masks (peeling, chemical dermabrasion) and aseptic.
In the petrochemicals industry, sodium hydroxide is used for the refining of crude oil, mineral oils, pitches and asphalts, and the extraction of shale gas. In refineries and coking plants, caustic soda is used to modify products derived from coking coal. In the steel and metallurgical industries this product is involved in the process of obtaining aluminium from bauxite processing.
Caustic soda is also widely used in the paper and cellulose industry in the process of pulping wood used for the production of paper or regenerated cellulose fibres. Together with sodium sulphate, it is a key component of the white liquor solution used to separate lignin from cellulose fibres in the Kraft process. It also plays an important role in several subsequent stages of bleaching the brown pulp resulting from the pulping process. These steps include oxygen delignification, oxidative extraction and simple extraction, all of which require a strong alkaline environment with pH> 10.5 at the end of the steps.
In the construction industry, it is used in several plasticizer cement mixes. It helps to homogenise cement mixers, preventing segregation of sands and cement, reducing the amount of water needed for mixing. Caustic soda is also used in the production of water glass. It is an important raw material in the process of producing pigments and dyes for paints – e.g., titanium dioxide.
Sodium hydroxide is an important ingredient in the production of surfactants, washing liquids, and powders, degreasers and water softeners. In liquid form is a component of various detergents. In the textile industry it is used in the production of dyes and rayon. In water treatment processes by increasing the pH, water has a less corrosive effect on the water installation and additionally reduces the content of lead, copper, and other toxic metals that can dissolve in drinking water.
Sodium hydroxide solid as well as liquid form are widely used in agriculture. Caustic soda is used in livestock breeding and disinfection of farm premises (stables, cowsheds, poultry houses, sheds, and storage rooms), milking equipment and containers for transporting and storing dairy products. It is used in fruit farming to plant disease control (e.g., fungal plant pathogen known as Nectria galligena ) and in the protection of grape vines, while in beekeeping, for hives cleaning.
Properties and applications
- Used for the production of aluminium in the steel and metallurgical industries
- Paper production
- Refining of crude oil, mineral oils in the petrochemicals industry
- The cosmetics industry – production of hard (sodium) soap, detergents, exfoliating masks
- Industrial cleaning
- Component of several plasticizers in the construction industry
- pH regulation in water treatment processes
- Raw material in the manufacture of pigments and dyes for paints
- Pharmaceuticals industry
- Cleaning and disinfection in animal husbandry and beekeeping
- Preventing diseases and protecting plants in orchard plantations
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