Sodium chloride

Sodium chloride

Overview
Sodium chloride, also known as salt, common salt, table salt or halite
Halite
Halite , commonly known as rock salt, is the mineral form of sodium chloride . Halite forms isometric crystals. The mineral is typically colorless or white, but may also be light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, red, orange, yellow or gray depending on the amount and type of impurities...

, is an inorganic compound
Inorganic compound
Inorganic compounds have traditionally been considered to be of inanimate, non-biological origin. In contrast, organic compounds have an explicit biological origin. However, over the past century, the classification of inorganic vs organic compounds has become less important to scientists,...

 with the formula
Chemical formula
A chemical formula or molecular formula is a way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound....

 Na
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

Cl
Chloride
The chloride ion is formed when the element chlorine, a halogen, picks up one electron to form an anion Cl−. The salts of hydrochloric acid HCl contain chloride ions and can also be called chlorides. The chloride ion, and its salts such as sodium chloride, are very soluble in water...

. Sodium chloride is the salt most responsible for the salinity of the ocean
Ocean
An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.More than half of this area is over 3,000...

 and of the extracellular fluid
Extracellular fluid
Extracellular fluid usually denotes all body fluid outside of cells. The remainder is called intracellular fluid.In some animals, including mammals, the extracellular fluid can be divided into two major subcompartments, interstitial fluid and blood plasma...

 of many multicellular organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

s. As the major ingredient in edible salt
Edible salt
Salt, also known as table salt, or rock salt, is a mineral that is composed primarily of sodium chloride , a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of ionic salts. It is essential for animal life in small quantities, but is harmful to animals and plants in excess...

, it is commonly used as a condiment
Condiment
A condiment is an edible substance, such as sauce or seasoning, added to food to impart a particular flavor, enhance its flavor, or in some cultures, to complement the dish. Many condiments are available packaged in single-serving sachets , like mustard or ketchup, particularly when supplied with...

 and food preservative
Preservative
A preservative is a naturally occurring or synthetically produced substance that is added to products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, paints, biological samples, wood, etc. to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes....

.


In solid sodium chloride, each ion is surrounded by six ions of the opposite charge as expected on electrostatic grounds.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Sodium chloride'
Start a new discussion about 'Sodium chloride'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
Sodium chloride, also known as salt, common salt, table salt or halite
Halite
Halite , commonly known as rock salt, is the mineral form of sodium chloride . Halite forms isometric crystals. The mineral is typically colorless or white, but may also be light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, red, orange, yellow or gray depending on the amount and type of impurities...

, is an inorganic compound
Inorganic compound
Inorganic compounds have traditionally been considered to be of inanimate, non-biological origin. In contrast, organic compounds have an explicit biological origin. However, over the past century, the classification of inorganic vs organic compounds has become less important to scientists,...

 with the formula
Chemical formula
A chemical formula or molecular formula is a way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound....

 Na
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

Cl
Chloride
The chloride ion is formed when the element chlorine, a halogen, picks up one electron to form an anion Cl−. The salts of hydrochloric acid HCl contain chloride ions and can also be called chlorides. The chloride ion, and its salts such as sodium chloride, are very soluble in water...

. Sodium chloride is the salt most responsible for the salinity of the ocean
Ocean
An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.More than half of this area is over 3,000...

 and of the extracellular fluid
Extracellular fluid
Extracellular fluid usually denotes all body fluid outside of cells. The remainder is called intracellular fluid.In some animals, including mammals, the extracellular fluid can be divided into two major subcompartments, interstitial fluid and blood plasma...

 of many multicellular organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

s. As the major ingredient in edible salt
Edible salt
Salt, also known as table salt, or rock salt, is a mineral that is composed primarily of sodium chloride , a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of ionic salts. It is essential for animal life in small quantities, but is harmful to animals and plants in excess...

, it is commonly used as a condiment
Condiment
A condiment is an edible substance, such as sauce or seasoning, added to food to impart a particular flavor, enhance its flavor, or in some cultures, to complement the dish. Many condiments are available packaged in single-serving sachets , like mustard or ketchup, particularly when supplied with...

 and food preservative
Preservative
A preservative is a naturally occurring or synthetically produced substance that is added to products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, paints, biological samples, wood, etc. to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes....

.

Solid sodium chloride



In solid sodium chloride, each ion is surrounded by six ions of the opposite charge as expected on electrostatic grounds. The surrounding ions are located at the vertices of a regular octahedron
Octahedron
In geometry, an octahedron is a polyhedron with eight faces. A regular octahedron is a Platonic solid composed of eight equilateral triangles, four of which meet at each vertex....

. In the language of close-packing
Close-packing
In geometry, close-packing of equal spheres is a dense arrangement of congruent spheres in an infinite, regular arrangement . Carl Friedrich Gauss proved that the highest average density – that is, the greatest fraction of space occupied by spheres – that can be achieved by a regular lattice...

, the larger chloride
Chlorine
Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is the second lightest halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17. The element forms diatomic molecules under standard conditions, called dichlorine...

 ion
Ion
An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge. The name was given by physicist Michael Faraday for the substances that allow a current to pass between electrodes in a...

s are arranged in a cubic array whereas the smaller sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

 ions fill all the cubic gaps (octahedral voids) between them. This same basic structure is found in many other compound
Compound
Compound may refer to:* Chemical compounds, combinations of two or more elements* Compound , a cluster of buildings having a shared purpose, usually inside a fence or wall...

s and is commonly known as the halite
Halite
Halite , commonly known as rock salt, is the mineral form of sodium chloride . Halite forms isometric crystals. The mineral is typically colorless or white, but may also be light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, red, orange, yellow or gray depending on the amount and type of impurities...

 or rock-salt crystal structure. It can be represented as a face-centered cubic (fcc) lattice with a two-atom basis or as two interpenetrating face centered cubic lattices. The first atom is located at each lattice point, and the second atom is located half way between lattice points along the fcc unit cell edge.

Thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity
In physics, thermal conductivity, k, is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat. It appears primarily in Fourier's Law for heat conduction....

 of NaCl as a function of temperature has a maximum of 2.03 W/(cm K) at 8 K and decreases to 0.069 at 314 K (41 °C). It also decreases with doping.

Aqueous solutions


The attraction between the Na+ and Cl- ions in the solid is so strong that only highly polar solvents like water dissolve NaCl well.
Solubility of NaCl in various solvents
(g NaCl / 1 kg of solvent at 25 °C)
H2 360
Formamide
Formamide
Formamide, also known as methanamide, is an amide derived from formic acid. It is a clear liquid which is miscible with water and has an ammonia-like odor. It is used primarily for manufacturing sulfa drugs and synthesizing vitamins and as a softener for paper and fiber...

 
94
glycerin  83
propylene glycol
Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol, also called 1,2-propanediol or propane-1,2-diol, is an organic compound with formula C3H8O2 or HO-CH2-CHOH-CH3...

 
71
Formic acid
Formic acid
Formic acid is the simplest carboxylic acid. Its chemical formula is HCOOH or HCO2H. It is an important intermediate in chemical synthesis and occurs naturally, most notably in the venom of bee and ant stings. In fact, its name comes from the Latin word for ant, formica, referring to its early...

 
52
Liquid ammonia
Ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

 
30.2
Methanol
Methanol
Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH . It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor very similar to, but slightly sweeter than, ethanol...

 
14
Ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 
0.65
Dimethylformamide
Dimethylformamide
Dimethylformamide is an organic compound with the formula 2NCH. Commonly abbreviated as DMF , this colourless liquid is miscible with water and the majority of organic liquids. DMF is a common solvent for chemical reactions...

 
0.4
1-propanol  0.124
Sulfolane
Sulfolane
Sulfolane is a clear, colorless liquid commonly used in the chemical industry as an extractive distillation solvent or reaction solvent. Sulfolane was originally developed by the Shell Oil Company in the 1960s as a solvent to purify butadiene...

 
0.05
1-butanol  0.05
2-propanol  0.03
1-pentanol
1-Pentanol
1-Pentanol, , is an alcohol with five carbon atoms and the molecular formula C5H12O. 1-Pentanol is a colorless liquid with an unpleasant aroma. There are 8 alcohols with this molecular formula . The ester formed from butanoic acid and 1-pentanol, pentyl butyrate, smells like apricot...

 
0.018
Acetonitrile
Acetonitrile
Acetonitrile is the chemical compound with formula . This colourless liquid is the simplest organic nitrile. It is produced mainly as a byproduct of acrylonitrile manufacture...

 
0.003
Acetone
Acetone
Acetone is the organic compound with the formula 2CO, a colorless, mobile, flammable liquid, the simplest example of the ketones.Acetone is miscible with water and serves as an important solvent in its own right, typically as the solvent of choice for cleaning purposes in the laboratory...

 
0.00042


When dissolved in water, the sodium chloride framework disintegrates as the Na+ and Cl- ions become surrounded by the polar water molecules. These solutions consist of metal aquo complex
Metal aquo complex
Metal aquo complexes are coordination compounds containing metal ions with only water as a ligand. These complexes are the predominant species in aqueous solutions of many metal salts, such as metal nitrates, sulfates, and perchlorates. They have the general stoichiometry [Mn]z+. Their behavior...

 with the formula [Na(H2O)x]+, where x is 8 with the Na-O distance of 250 pm. The chloride ions are also strongly solvated, each being surrounded by an average of 6 molecules of water. Solutions of sodium chloride have very different properties from pure water. The freezing point is −21.12 °C for 23.31 wt% of salt, and the boiling point of saturated salt solution is near 108.7 °C. From cold solutions, salt crystallises as the dihydrate NaCl.2H2O.

Occurrence


Small particles of sea salt
Sea salt
Sea salt, salt obtained by the evaporation of seawater, is used in cooking and cosmetics. It is historically called bay salt or solar salt...

 are the dominant cloud condensation nuclei
Cloud condensation nuclei
Cloud condensation nuclei or CCNs are small particles typically 0.2 µm, or 1/100 th the size of a cloud droplet ) about which cloud droplets coalesce. Water requires a non-gaseous surface to make the transition from a vapour to a liquid. In the atmosphere, this surface presents itself as tiny...

 well out at sea, which allow the formation of cloud
Cloud
A cloud is a visible mass of liquid droplets or frozen crystals made of water and/or various chemicals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body. They are also known as aerosols. Clouds in Earth's atmosphere are studied in the cloud physics branch of meteorology...

s in otherwise non-polluted
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 air.

Production



Salt is currently mass-produced
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

 by evaporation
Evaporation
Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs only on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which, instead, occurs on the entire mass of the liquid....

 of seawater
Seawater
Seawater is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5% . This means that every kilogram of seawater has approximately of dissolved salts . The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml...

 or brine
Brine
Brine is water, saturated or nearly saturated with salt .Brine is used to preserve vegetables, fruit, fish, and meat, in a process known as brining . Brine is also commonly used to age Halloumi and Feta cheeses, or for pickling foodstuffs, as a means of preserving them...

 from brine wells and salt lakes. mining
Salt mine
A salt mine is a mining operation involved in the extraction of rock salt or halite from evaporite deposits.-Occurrence:Areas known for their salt mines include Kilroot near Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland ; Khewra and Warcha in Pakistan; Tuzla in Bosnia; Wieliczka and Bochnia in Poland A salt mine...

 of rock salt is also a major source. China is the world's main supplier of salt. In 2010, world production was estimated at 270 million tonne
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s, the top five producers (in million tonnes) being China (60.0), United States (45.0), Germany (16.5), India (15.8) and Canada (14.0).

Uses


In addition to the familiar domestic uses of salt, more dominant applications of the approximately 250 megatons/year production (2008 data) include chemicals and de-icing.

Chemicals production


Salt is the source, directly or indirectly, for the production of many chemicals, which consume most of the world's production.

Chlor-alkali industry


It is the starting point for the Chloralkali process
Chloralkali process
The chloralkali process is an industrial process for the electrolysis of sodium chloride solution . Depending on the method several products beside hydrogen can be produced. If the products are separated, chlorine and sodium hydroxide are the products; by mixing, sodium hypochlorite or sodium...

, which provides the world with chlorine
Chlorine
Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is the second lightest halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17. The element forms diatomic molecules under standard conditions, called dichlorine...

 and sodium hydroxide according to the chemical equation
Chemical equation
A chemical equation is the symbolic representation of a chemical reaction where the reactant entities are given on the left hand side and the product entities on the right hand side. The coefficients next to the symbols and formulae of entities are the absolute values of the stoichiometric numbers...

:
2 NaCl + 2 H2O → Cl2 + H2 + 2 NaOH


This electrolysis is conducted in a Down's cell
Downs cell
The Downs process is an electrochemical method for the commercial preparation of metallic sodium, in which molten NaCl is electrolyzed in a special apparatus called the Downs cell.-How it works:...

 in which sodium chloride is mixed with calcium chloride
Calcium chloride
Calcium chloride, CaCl2, is a salt of calcium and chlorine. It behaves as a typical ionic halide, and is solid at room temperature. Common applications include brine for refrigeration plants, ice and dust control on roads, and desiccation...

 to lower the melting point below 700 °C. As calcium is more electropositive than sodium, no calcium will be formed at the cathode. This method is less expensive than the previous method of electrolyzing sodium hydroxide. Some application of chlorine include PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

, disinfectants, and solvents. From sodium hydroxide enables industries that produce paper, soap, and aluminium.

Soda ash industry


Via the Solvay process
Solvay process
The Solvay process, also referred to as the ammonia-soda process, is the major industrial process for the production of soda ash . The ammonia-soda process was developed into its modern form by Ernest Solvay during the 1860s...

, sodium chloride is used to produce sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate , Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well-known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the...

 and calcium chloride
Calcium chloride
Calcium chloride, CaCl2, is a salt of calcium and chlorine. It behaves as a typical ionic halide, and is solid at room temperature. Common applications include brine for refrigeration plants, ice and dust control on roads, and desiccation...

. Sodium carbonate is used to produce glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

, sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is the chemical compound with the formula Na HCO3. Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda . The natural mineral form is...

, and dye
Dye
A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and requires a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber....

s as well as myriad other chemicals. In the Mannheim process
Mannheim process
The Mannheim process is an important method for the manufacture of hydrogen chloride and sodium sulfate from sodium chloride and sulfuric acid in which case the Na2SO4 is known as salt cake:2 NaCl + H2SO4 → Na2SO4 + 2 HCl...

 and in the Hargreaves process, it is used for the production of sodium sulfate
Sodium sulfate
Sodium sulfate is the sodium salt of sulfuric acid. When anhydrous, it is a white crystalline solid of formula Na2SO4 known as the mineral thenardite; the decahydrate Na2SO4·10H2O has been known as Glauber's salt or, historically, sal mirabilis since the 17th century. Another solid is the...

 and hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid is a solution of hydrogen chloride in water, that is a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid with many industrial uses. It is found naturally in gastric acid....

.

Miscellaneous industrial uses


Sodium chloride is heavily used, so even miscellaneous applications can consume massive quantities. In oil and gas exploration, salt is an important component of drilling fluids in well drilling. It is used to flocculate
Flocculation
Flocculation, in the field of chemistry, is a process wherein colloids come out of suspension in the form of floc or flakes by the addition of a clarifying agent. The action differs from precipitation in that, prior to flocculation, colloids are merely suspended in a liquid and not actually...

 and increase the density of the drilling fluid to overcome high downwell gas pressures. Whenever a drill hits a salt formation, salt is added to the drilling fluid to saturate the solution and to minimize the dissolution within the salt stratum.

Salt is also used to increase the curing of concrete in cemented casings. In textiles and dyeing, salt is used as a brine rinse to separate organic contaminants, to promote “salting out” of dyestuff precipitates, and to blend with concentrated dyes to standardize them. One of its main roles is to provide the positive ion charge to promote the absorption of negatively charged ions of dyes.

In metal processing, salt is used in concentrating uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 ore into uranium oxide (yellow cake). It also is used in processing aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

, beryllium
Beryllium
Beryllium is the chemical element with the symbol Be and atomic number 4. It is a divalent element which occurs naturally only in combination with other elements in minerals. Notable gemstones which contain beryllium include beryl and chrysoberyl...

, copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 and vanadium
Vanadium
Vanadium is a chemical element with the symbol V and atomic number 23. It is a hard, silvery gray, ductile and malleable transition metal. The formation of an oxide layer stabilizes the metal against oxidation. The element is found only in chemically combined form in nature...

. In the pulp and paper industry
Pulp and paper industry
The global pulp and paper industry is dominated by North American , northern European and East Asian countries...

, salt is used to bleach wood pulp. It also is used to make sodium chlorate
Sodium chlorate
Sodium chlorate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . When pure, it is a white crystalline powder that is readily soluble in water. It is hygroscopic. It decomposes above 250 °C to release oxygen and leave sodium chloride...

, which is added along with sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

 and water to manufacture chlorine dioxide
Chlorine dioxide
Chlorine dioxide is a chemical compound with the formula ClO2. This yellowish-green gas crystallizes as bright orange crystals at −59 °C. As one of several oxides of chlorine, it is a potent and useful oxidizing agent used in water treatment and in bleaching....

, an excellent oxygen-based bleach
Bleach
Bleach refers to a number of chemicals that remove color, whiten, or disinfect, often via oxidation. Common chemical bleaches include household chlorine bleach , lye, oxygen bleach , and bleaching powder...

ing chemical. The chlorine dioxide process, which originated in Germany after World War I, is becoming more popular because of environmental pressures to reduce or eliminate chlorinated bleaching compounds. In tanning and leather treatment, salt is added to animal hides to inhibit microbial activity on the underside of the hides and to attract moisture back into the hides.

In rubber manufacture, salt is used to make buna
Synthetic rubber
Synthetic rubber is is any type of artificial elastomer, invariably a polymer. An elastomer is a material with the mechanical property that it can undergo much more elastic deformation under stress than most materials and still return to its previous size without permanent deformation...

, neoprene
Neoprene
Neoprene or polychloroprene is a family of synthetic rubbers that are produced by polymerization of chloroprene. Neoprene in general has good chemical stability, and maintains flexibility over a wide temperature range...

 and white rubber types. Salt brine and sulfuric acid are used to coagulate an emulsified latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 made from chlorinated butadiene.

Salt also is added to secure the soil and to provide firmness to the foundation on which highways are built. The salt acts to minimize the effects of shifting caused in the subsurface by
changes in humidity and traffic load.

Water softening


Hard water
Hard water
Hard water is water that has high mineral content . Hard water has high concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions. Hard water is generally not harmful to one's health but can pose serious problems in industrial settings, where water hardness is monitored to avoid costly breakdowns in boilers, cooling...

 contains calcium and magnesium ions that interfere with action of soap
Soap
In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

 and contribute to the buildup of a scale or film of alkaline mineral deposits in household and industrial equipment and pipes. Commercial and residential water-softening units use ion exchange resin
Ion exchange resin
An ion-exchange resin or ion-exchange polymer is an insoluble matrix normally in the form of small beads, usually white or yellowish, fabricated from an organic polymer substrate. The material has highly developed structure of pores on the surface of which are sites with easily trapped and...

s to remove the offending ions that cause the hardness. These resins are generated and regenerated using sodium chloride.

Road salt



The second major application of salt is for deicing
Deicing
For snow and ice control on roadways and similar facilities, see Snow removalDe-icing is defined as removal of snow, ice or frost from a surface...

 and anti-icing of roads, both in grit bin
Grit bin
A grit bin or salt bin is an item of street furniture, commonly found in countries where freezing temperatures and snowfall occur, which holds a mixture of salt and grit which is spread over roads if they have snow or ice on them...

s and spread by winter service vehicles. In anticipation of snowfall, roads are optimally "anti-iced" with brine (concentrated solution of salt in water), which prevents bonding between the snow-ice and the road surface. This procedures precludes the heavy use of salt after the snowfall. For de-icing, mixtures of brine and salt are used, sometimes with additional agents such as calcium and magnesium chloride. The use of salt or brine becomes ineffective below -10 °C.

Salt for de-icing in the United Kingdom predominantly comes from a single mine in Winsford in Cheshire
Salt in Cheshire
Cheshire is a county in North West England. Rock salt was laid down in this region some 220 million years ago, during the Triassic period. Seawater moved inland from an open sea, creating a chain of shallow salt marshes across what is today the Cheshire basin...

. Prior to distribution it is mixed with <100 ppm of sodium hexacyanoferrate(II)
Sodium ferrocyanide
Sodium ferrocyanide is the sodium salt of the coordination compound of formula [Fe6]4-. It is a yellow crystalline solid that is soluble in water and insoluble in alcohol. Despite the presence of the cyanide ligands, sodium ferrocyanide is not especially toxic because the cyanides are tightly...

 as an anti-caking agent, which enables rock salt to flow freely out of the gritting vehicles despite being stockpiled prior to use. In recent years this additive has also been used in table salt. Other additives had been used in road salt to reduce the total costs. For example, in the US, a byproduct carbohydrate solution from sugar beet processing was mixed with rock salt and adhered to road surfaces about 40% better than loose rock salt alone. Because it stayed on the road longer, the treatment did not have to be repeated several times, saving time and money.

In the technical terms of physical chemistry, the minimum freezing point of a water-salt mixture is −21.12 °C for 23.31 wt% of salt. Freezing near this concentration is however so slow that the eutectic point
Eutectic point
A eutectic system is a mixture of chemical compounds or elements that has a single chemical composition that solidifies at a lower temperature than any other composition. This composition is known as the eutectic composition and the temperature is known as the eutectic temperature...

 of −22.4 °C can be reached with about 25 wt% of salt.

Environmental effect


Road salt ends up in fresh water bodies and could harm aquatic plants and animals by disrupting their osmoregulation
Osmoregulation
Osmoregulation is the active regulation of the osmotic pressure of an organism's fluids to maintain the homeostasis of the organism's water content; that is it keeps the organism's fluids from becoming too diluted or too concentrated. Osmotic pressure is a measure of the tendency of water to move...

 ability. The omnipresence of salt poses a problem in any coastal coating application, as trapped salts cause great problems in adhesion. Naval authorities and ship builders monitor the salt concentrations on surfaces during construction. Maximum salt concentrations on surfaces are dependent on the authority and application. The IMO
International Maritime Organization
The International Maritime Organization , formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization , was established in Geneva in 1948, and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959...

 regulation is mostly used and sets salt levels to a maximum of 50 mg/m2 soluble salts measured as sodium chloride. These measurements are done by means of a Bresle test.

In highway deicing, salt has been associated with corrosion of bridge decks, motor vehicles, reinforcement bar and wire, and unprotected steel structures used in road construction. Surface runoff, vehicle spraying, and windblown actions also affect soil, roadside vegetation, and local surface water and groundwater supplies. Although evidence of environmental loading of salt
has been found during peak usage, the spring rains and thaws usually dilute the concentrations of sodium in the area where salt was applied.

Food industry, medicine and agriculture



Many micro organisms cannot live in an overly salty environment: water is drawn out of their cells
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

 by osmosis
Osmosis
Osmosis is the movement of solvent molecules through a selectively permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, aiming to equalize the solute concentrations on the two sides...

. For this reason salt is used to preserve
Food preservation
Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food to stop or slow down spoilage and thus allow for longer storage....

 some foods, such as smoked bacon or fish. It can also be used to detach leeches that have attached themselves to feed. It is also used to disinfect wounds.

Salt is added in most food items, by the food processor or by the consumer, as a flavor enhancer, preservative, binder, fermentation
Fermentation (food)
Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol...

-control additive, texture-control agent and color developer. The salt consumption in the food industry is subdivided, in descending order of consumption, into other food processing, meat packers, canning, baking, dairy and grain mill products. Salt is added to promote color development in bacon, ham and other processed meat products. As a preservative, salt inhibits the growth of bacteria. Salt acts as a binder in sausages to form a binding gel made up of meat, fat, and moisture. Salt also acts as a flavor enhancer and as a tenderizer.

In the dairy industry, salt is added to cheese as a color-, fermentation-, and texture-control agent. The dairy subsector includes companies that manufacture creamery butter, condensed and evaporated milk, frozen desserts, ice cream, natural and processed cheese, and specialty dairy products. In canning, salt is primarily added as a flavor enhancer and preservative
Preservative
A preservative is a naturally occurring or synthetically produced substance that is added to products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, paints, biological samples, wood, etc. to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes....

. It also is used as a carrier for other ingredients, dehydrating agent, enzyme inhibitor and tenderizer.
In baking, salt is added to control the rate of fermentation in bread dough. It also is used to strengthen the gluten
Gluten
Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye...

 (the elastic protein-water complex in certain doughs) and as a flavor
enhancer, such as a topping on baked goods. The food-processing category also contains grain mill
products. These products consist of milling flour and rice and manufacturing cereal breakfast food and blended or prepared flour. Salt is also used a seasoning agent, e.g. in potato chips, pretzel
Pretzel
A pretzel is a type of baked food made from dough in soft and hard varieties and savory or sweet flavors in a unique knot-like shape, originating in Europe...

s, cat and dog food.

Sodium chloride is used in veterinary medicine as emesis causing agent. It is given as warm saturated solution. Emesis can also be caused by pharyngeal placement of small amount of plain salt or salt crystals.

Firefighting



Sodium chloride is the principal extinguishing agent in fire extinguishers (Met-L-X, Super D) used on combustible metal fires such as magnesium, potassium, sodium, and NaK alloys (Class D). Thermoplastic
Thermoplastic
Thermoplastic, also known as a thermosoftening plastic, is a polymer that turns to a liquid when heated and freezes to a very glassy state when cooled sufficiently...

 powder is added to the mixture, along with waterproofing (metal stearates) and anti-caking materials (tricalcium phosphate) to form the extinguishing agent. When it is applied to the fire, the salt acts like a heat sink, dissipating heat from the fire, and also forms an oxygen-excluding crust to smother the fire. The plastic additive melts and helps the crust maintain its integrity until the burning metal cools below its ignition temperature. This type of extinguisher was invented in the late 1940s in the cartridge-operated type shown here, although stored pressure versions are now popular. Common sizes are 30 lb portable and 350 lb wheeled.

Cleanser


Since at least medieval times, people have used salt as a cleansing agent rubbed on household surfaces. It is also used in many brands of shampoo
Shampoo
Shampoo is a hair care product used for the removal of oils, dirt, skin particles, dandruff, environmental pollutants and other contaminant particles that gradually build up in hair...

, toothpaste and popularly to de-ice driveways and patches of ice.

Biological functions



In humans, a high-salt intake has long been suspected to generally raise blood pressure. More recently, it was demonstrated to attenuate nitric oxide
Nitric oxide
Nitric oxide, also known as nitrogen monoxide, is a diatomic molecule with chemical formula NO. It is a free radical and is an important intermediate in the chemical industry...

 production. Nitric oxide (NO) contributes to vessel homeostasis
Homeostasis
Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition of properties like temperature or pH...

 by inhibiting vascular smooth muscle contraction and growth, platelet aggregation, and leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium
Endothelium
The endothelium is the thin layer of cells that lines the interior surface of blood vessels, forming an interface between circulating blood in the lumen and the rest of the vessel wall. These cells are called endothelial cells. Endothelial cells line the entire circulatory system, from the heart...

.

See also



  • Biosalinity
    Biosalinity
    Biosalinity is the study and practice of using saline water for irrigating agricultural crops.Many arid and semi-arid areas actually do have sources of water, but the available water is usually brackish or saline . The water may be present in underground aquifers or as seawater along coastal...

  • Kala Namak
  • Halite
    Halite
    Halite , commonly known as rock salt, is the mineral form of sodium chloride . Halite forms isometric crystals. The mineral is typically colorless or white, but may also be light blue, dark blue, purple, pink, red, orange, yellow or gray depending on the amount and type of impurities...

    , the mineral form of sodium chloride
  • Salinity
    Salinity
    Salinity is the saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of water. It is a general term used to describe the levels of different salts such as sodium chloride, magnesium and calcium sulfates, and bicarbonates...

  • Salt
    Salt
    In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

  • Soap
    Soap
    In chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid.IUPAC. "" Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. . Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford . XML on-line corrected version: created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN...

  • Salting the earth
    Salting the earth
    Salting the earth, or sowing with salt, is the ritual of spreading salt on conquered cities to symbolize a curse on its re-inhabitation. It originated as a practice in the ancient Near East and became a well-established folkloric motif in the Middle Ages.-Destroying cities:The custom of purifying...



External links