Sodium Carbonate - Uses

Uses

The manufacture of glass is one of the most important uses of sodium carbonate. When combined with silica and calcium carbonate and heated to high temperatures, then cooled rapidly, glass is produced. This type of glass is known as soda lime glass.

Sodium carbonate is also used as a relatively strong base in various settings. For example, sodium carbonate is used as a pH regulator to maintain stable alkaline conditions necessary for the action of the majority of photographic film developing agents.

It is a common additive in municipal pools used to neutralize the acidic effects of chlorine and raise pH.

In cooking, it is sometimes used in place of sodium hydroxide for lyeing, especially with German pretzels and lye rolls. These dishes are treated with a solution of an alkaline substance to change the pH of the surface of the food and improve browning.

In taxidermy, sodium carbonate added to boiling water will remove flesh from the skull or bones of trophies to create the "European skull mount" or for educational display in biological and historical studies.

In chemistry, it is often used as an electrolyte. This is because electrolytes are usually salt-based, and sodium carbonate acts as a very good conductor in the process of electrolysis. In addition, unlike chloride ions, which form chlorine gas, carbonate ions are not corrosive to the anodes. It is also used as a primary standard for acid-base titrations because it is solid and air-stable, making it easy to weigh accurately.

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