At room temperature, sodium hydroxide is a white crystalline odorless solid that absorbs moisture from the air. It is a manufactured substance. When dissolved in water or neutralized with acid it liberates substantial heat, which may be sufficient to ignite combustible materials. Sodium hydroxide is very corrosive. It is generally used as a solid or a 50% solution. Other common names include caustic soda and lye. Sodium hydroxideis used to manufacture soaps, rayon, paper, explosives, dyestuffs, and petroleum products. It is also used in processing cotton fabric, laundering and bleaching, metal cleaning and processing, oxide coating, electroplating, and electrolytic extracting. It is commonly present in commercial drain and oven cleaners.
Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), also known as caustic soda or lye, is a highly versatile substance used in a variety of manufacturing processes. Sodium hydroxide is a co-product of chlorine production.
Applications of Sodium hydroxide
1- Cleaning & Disinfectant Products
Sodium hydroxide is used to manufacture soaps and a variety of detergents used in homes and commercial applications. Chlorine bleach is produced by combining chlorine and sodium hydroxide. Drain cleaners that contain sodium hydroxide convert fats and grease that can clog pipes into soap, which dissolves in water.
2- Pharmaceuticals & Medicine
Sodium hydroxide is used to help manufacture a variety of medicines and pharmaceutical products, from common pain relievers like aspirin, to anticoagulants that can help to prevent blood clots, to cholesterol-reducing medications.
In the energy sector, sodium hydroxide is used in fuel cell production. Fuel cells work like batteries to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity for a range of applications, including transportation; materials handling; and stationary, portable and emergency backup power applications. Epoxy resins, manufactured with sodium hydroxide, are used in wind turbines.
4- Water Treatment
Municipal water treatment facilities use sodium hydroxide to control water acidity and to help remove heavy metals from water. Sodium hydroxide is also used to produce sodium hypochlorite, a water disinfectant.
5- Food Production
Sodium hydroxide is used in several food processing applications, such as curing foods like olives or helping to brown Bavarian-style pretzels, giving them their characteristic crunch. Sodium hydroxide is used to remove skins from tomatoes, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables for canning and also as an ingredient in food preservatives that help prevent mold and bacteria from growing in food.
6- Sodium Hydroxide in Wood & Paper Products
In many paper making processes, wood is treated with a solution containing sodium sulfide and sodium hydroxide. This helps dissolve most of the unwanted material in the wood, leaving relatively pure cellulose, which forms the basis of paper. In the paper recycling process, sodium hydroxide is used to separate the ink from the paper fibers allowing the paper fibers to be reused again.
Sodium hydroxide is also used to refine raw materials for wood products such as cabinets and furniture and in wood bleaching and cleaning.
7- Sodium Hydroxide in Aluminum Ore Processing
Sodium hydroxide is used to extract alumina from naturally occurring minerals. Alumina is used to make aluminum and a variety of products including foil, cans, kitchen utensils, beer kegs and airplane parts. In building and construction, aluminum is used in materials that enable building facades and window frames.
Other Industrial Manufacturing Uses
Sodium hydroxide is used in many other industrial and manufacturing processes. It is used to manufacture rayon, spandex, explosives, epoxy resins, paints, glass and ceramics. It is also used in the textile industry to make dyes, process cotton fabric and in laundering and bleaching, as well as in metal cleaning and processing, oxide coating, electroplating and electrolytic extracting.