Sodium Nitrite is a yellowish white crystalline solid with a formula NaNO2. Sodium nitrite is a salt and an anti-oxidant.
Noncombustible but will accelerate the burning of combustible material. If large quantities are involved in a fire or if the combustible material is finely divided, an explosion may result.
If contaminated by ammonium compounds, spontaneous decomposition can occur and the resulting heat may ignite surrounding combustible material. Prolonged exposure heat may result in an explosion. Toxic oxides of nitrogen are produced in fires involving this material. Used as a food preservative, and to make other chemicals.
Diet is responsible for the highest level of exposure to nitrites, due to nitrate fertilizer on crops that accumulate in foods. An average American diet accounts for 75 to 100 milligrams per day of nitrate exposure. Nitrates can be found naturally in some vegetables, including cauliflower, broccoli and collard, and they are used as preservatives in cured meats, such as deli meat and bacon. Drinking water is also a source of exposure, particularly well water from contaminated or shallow wells.
Sodium nitrite is a common ingredient added to processed meats and fish that helps preserve the food and prevent bacterial growth that can cause botulism. This food additive also adds attractive color to meat and fish. While sodium nitrite is naturally present in many fruits and vegetables, its use as a food preservative can be damaging to your health. This additive is present in foods like bacon, lunch meat and hot dogs, and knowing more about it will help you make healthier food choices.
Applications of Sodium Nitrite
Sodium nitrate contains nitrogen which is important in the growth of plants. Too much nitrogen can delay the production of fruit and flowers, and too little can lead to stunted growth of the plant. The nitrogen from sodium nitrate fertilizers are immediately available to plant roots.
Sodium nitrate is involved in a two-stage process for making chemically strengthened glass. The glass item is first immersed in a sodium nitrate bath which enriches the surface of the glass with sodium ions increasing the strength of the finished product. Chemically strengthened glass is resistant to scratching, and has improved impact and bending strength, as well as an increased temperature stability. It also breaks into bigger pieces than non-strengthened glass. It is useful for the aircraft canopy of some fighter aircraft and other situations where glass requires toughness and optical clarity. Sodium nitrate is also used for clarifying molten glass in the production of high-quality glasses.
Sodium nitrate is listed as the inactive ingredient in a variety of eye drops, presumably as a preservative. Sodium nitrate is often used as a nitrogen containing, control compound, rather than an active ingredient in medicine. In a 2005 medical study reported by the National Institute of Health, researchers found that low concentrations of nitrite provided protection against injury associated with heart attacks. The team compared the effects of nitrite versus control treatments of either saline or nitrate. Nitrate is similar chemically to nitrite, but it cannot convert to nitric oxide in the blood and therefore does not have the blood vessel dilating properties that nitrite does. In these studies, sodium nitrate had no effect.
Sodium nitrate is an ingredient in rocket propellants. It is known to be used as a substitute for potassium nitrate in black powder propellant, though its performance is less. In re-crystallized or cast sugar rocketry, sodium nitrate is more difficult to work with, as it does not re-crystallize well. As an ingredient in an explosive, sodium nitrate has several advantages. It is inexpensive, stable, non-toxic and non-poisonous. However, it does have a slow burn rate.